‘Tis the season for playing outside! For many dogs, summer means more time with the family, more adventures and more time outdoors just being a dog. Looking for a fun new way to engage with and energize your dog during this sunny season? Check out these five summer dog games to play with your pup and the whole family!
1. Bubbles! Got some bubbles and wands lying around? If your dog is anything like Stella the yellow Lab, she’ll love to chase them all around your yard! Just remember, don’t leave bubbles lying around in an open container – you don’t want your pup drinking up the whole soapy mixture and getting an upset stomach. If regular bubbles don’t interest your dog, you can try bacon-flavored bubbles from Amazon.com. (You’ll want to keep these outside only, though, so you don’t end up with a bacon-scented living room!) Let the bubble party begin!
2. Name That Toy! Looking for a new challenge for your whip-smart dog? Teach him how to fetch his favorite toys by name, like Tessa the Border Collie. To begin, pick two of your dog’s favorite toys. Say the name of one of the toys (for example, “bird”) and then throw it for him to fetch. After a few turns, switch to the other toy, saying it’s name (for example, “pumpkin”) each time you throw it. Once your dog has had some practice with these names, place both toys on the ground and ask him to fetch “bird” or “pumpkin.” If he brings you the correct toy, praise him with enthusiasm and maybe a small treat. Pretty soon, you’ll have a new game to keep his mind and body active, and you’ll be able to impress your friends with your dog’s new vocabulary!
3. Homemade Agility Course! So your dog loved the agility course at puppy class, but you haven’t had the chance to go back and try again. Why not build your own outdoor agility course? Teaching your dog to maneuver over jumps, into tunnels, up and down A-Frames, around poles and more is a great way to challenge his or her mind and body, as well as forge an even greater bond between the two of you. Be creative – use old kids toys or exercise equipment to build your own tunnels, bridges and obstacles. The possibilities are endless!
4. Sprinkler Party! This one’s easy. Combine a hot sunny day, a sprinkler, water-loving dogs and humans looking to cool off, and you’ve got a recipe for summer fun!
5. Rainy Day? Build an Indoor Ball Pit! Not every summer day is perfectly sunny. For those rainy days, entertain your dog (and yourself) with this D-I-Y ball pit! All you need are some boxes and a bunch of plastic balls (big enough so your pup won’t swallow them). Set them up in the corner of the room, throw some treats or an extra ball in there, and watch her leap, roll and fetch to her heart’s content.