Several Dog Games to Play

Puppies love to play and, like children, can learn most of their life lessons by playing and having fun. Think back to your childhood: What are some of your fondest memories? Most people learn the most important lessons of their lives — such as how to share, use patience and speak respectfully — in preschool or through sports and games with friends and family. Your puppy can learn patience and self-control through play, starting at the age of eight weeks.

In this list, you will find over ten games that are as fun to play as they are educational. Watch how your puppy controls himself and develops concentration right in front of your eyes. Using directions like wait, sit, fall, come you will play/train quick responses before your puppy loses his milk teeth.

Puppies love to play Chase, but you will notice a theme in the games shown here: Always encourage your puppy to chase after you, not the other way around. Teaching your puppy to follow you and to drop something he keeps for the toy or treat you are carrying is an important habit to inculcate in a young puppy. Consider the opposite: a puppy running around when you want him to come or race with a forbidden treasure, like your mobile phone or one of the children’s toys. Included in the description of the toys on this list is the term “Can’t Catch Me,” which is a fun way to alert your puppy when you need to get his attention.

look for it
Find It is my dog’s favorite activity. Anyone (even strangers) can turn them on to help your puppy’s mood, no matter what they’re around.
Overall goal: Teach your puppy to look down to find a reward (treat, toy, bone)
Use It: Use Find It to give your puppy some mental fun about foraging with mealtimes, to distract an overstimulated puppy while greeting, playing or introducing new people or dogs on a leash, or when spotting a squirrel, car or bike. If you have an anxious pup, discover that he can infuse stressful situations with a fist of fun!
Directions: Pair Find it with Come, Follow, or Give to teach a quick, happy response and to reward quick responses to other directions, like Sit and On Your Mat.
To play: Start by throwing a candy or eating to the ground from the puppy’s toes as you say “Find it!” After your pup has grabbed, toss the food off your toes. You received it? Now take progressively bigger steps away from your puppy as you say “find it – follow”. Ultimately, the Follow App will help your puppy keep up and stay close to your feet. When your puppy has the gist of it, you can expand the game, by throwing foods on the floor for him to feed or by using this game to distract your puppy during greetings and other distractions. For more ideas, turn to the index: you’ll find

You find it there, for sure.
Dog feed mats are now being marketed and are designed to hide a puppy’s entire meal in the crevices and crevices of sturdy carpet that your pup can take root in but cannot destroy. The rug is a great diversion for an active pup, and you can build toward Find It, too. My kids and I love mats: We post a good portion of our dogs meals and say “find them” when we put together their individual meal. Make sure to check them out.
Overall goal: Tug-of-war is a favorite puppy toy that’s easy to play, and it happens to be the best way to teach your puppy to “let go” of something on cue. Note as you read how tug-of-war principles are used to reward puppies for playing a game they love and how rewards can be used to teach your puppy the meaning of the word “give.”
Use it: Since your puppy will love to pull anything, with anyone, teach them to tug only on their toys and only on cue. With this simple and fun activity, you’ll develop your puppy’s self-esteem (I guarantee he’ll get this right) and have an easy new way to redirect excitement and frustration. However, remember this one rule, especially when you’re just getting started: Pocket and pose strategically around your house so that every time you play “Tug” you can also teach your puppy to let go.
Directions: This game consists of two parts – push and pull. (See the next section.) Teach them words independently of each other for two days, then pair them together!
To play: It’s easy to pair the word “Tug” with the movement. Take any cloth or rope puppy toys, and shake them until the puppy’s grip is firm, then say “pull” as you work up the resistance. That’s it. Over time, put more force into the tug. At first, simply use a second toy or a high-value food treat to encourage the puppy’s release. After two days of pulling and giving separately (as shown below), pair them together as instructed.

Your puppy’s ability to track movement and focus doesn’t begin until around 16 weeks of age, so use short throws to build up their success rate – and don’t lose hope if your puppy loses interest. The chase rush develops later.

fishing video
Overall goal: Here’s another great predator and impulse control game! The goal here is to redirect predatory impulses and encourage continued fun!
USE IT: This toy is a great way to teach your puppy important leash skills while having fun and burning some energy.
Directions: Go get your game, give it to you. Continued
To play: Buy a commercial puppy play pole or make one yourself by attaching your favorite toy to the pole or stick. Wear the toy as you say to your puppy, “Go get your toy!” If your puppy loves to snuggle, teach him to release the word “give” by periodically waving a foul smell in front of his nose and rewarding him when the toy is released.
If your puppy wants to keep playing even when you don’t, find an object or sturdy tree to tie the pole to so they can play when the mood is off.
When using this toy while walking, pair play with “Continue” to encourage puppy cooperation.
Swing Toss – Can’t Catch Me
Overall goal: to release energy and teach your puppy to run with children and people without jumping or being physically caught
Directions: I can’t catch up, follow, wait
To play: tie a favorite toy, an empty soda bottle (lid and label removed), or indestructible plastic toy (something a puppy can’t easily attach) to a 10-foot rope; If there is an opening, such as a bottle, spice up the game by sprinkling some peanut butter around the mouth of the bottle. In a yard or field, say “I can’t catch up” and head off in an unexpected direction. When you come to a stop, say “wait” and let the puppy play or lick the hole. If the yard or field has tall grass, use it as a cover to add excitement to the game.
Toy Along, Tag Along (also known as Squeak-Toy shuffle)
The overall goal: to release energy and teach your puppy to follow without jumping or jabbing at anyone’s ankles.
Use it: Toy Along, Tag Along encourages the following skills and can be played indoors or out. This game is a great diversion game for Happy Ankle Crunches.
To play: Attach a toy squeaker or rope to a 4-foot leash or rope and tie the other end of the line to a shoelace or ankle. Walk around, do what you do. Puppies love to wrestle with moving objects:

The game is better than the ankle.
Don’t move too quickly or grab the object by the puppy’s mouth. If they start to pull firmly, discard them or remove the toy from your ankle and clamp it to a stable piece of furniture.
hide and seek
General objective: The game of hide and seek can be played with people and things. With people, teach your puppy to listen to you and find you even when they can’t see you; With toys, Hide-and-Seek works on impulse control and nose tracking skills.
Directions: Stay, come, find <a game or person by name>
To play with toys: Until your puppy learns strong accommodation, have one person hold the puppy as you wave and say, for example, “Here’s Piggy.” (The choice of the game is up to you.) At first, just hide Piggy behind your back for three to five seconds, then bring Piggy back to view as you say, “Where’s Piggy?” Reward your puppy the moment he breathes in the toy. Your puppy will soon notice where Piggy is – you are now ready to play the game.
Have someone hold your puppy or let him rest for a while. Stand back ten feet, hide Piggy again behind your back, and say, “Where’s Piggy?” Reward your puppy the moment they find a Piggy. Now hide Piggy somewhere else nearby, and when your pup is running, point out where Piggy is hiding. Gradually hide Piggy in more challenging places and show the puppy how to sniff out the toy if she gets confused by getting down to her level and pretending to sniff.
To play with people: If you are alone, you can hide from your puppy and call them by name. Make hiding places easy at first, around a nearby tree or piece of furniture so that your puppy wins every time. If your puppy is playing with several people, use treat cups to encourage the positive association of letting one person go and racing with another. The player whose name is spoken should kneel down and shake the food cup while calling the puppy’s name and saying “come”; The other players must stand silently and ignore the puppy.
Playing hide and seek with puppies

As your puppy gets better at seeking, increase your distance, eventually hiding in increasingly more concealed spots. When they catch on, you can play outdoors on a long line or in a fenced enclosure. Avoid correcting your puppy if they lose interest—limiting game time ensures fun. Don’t forget to call to your puppy as you shake the cup; doing so helps them find you.

Superball soccer
Overall goal: To release energy and teach puppy to chase toys instead of people.
Use it: Play indoors or out, using similar balls or durable plastic bottles.
Directions: Go Get It
Players: Any number can play. Play with one more ball or plastic recyclable bottle than there are people playing so that no one challenges or accidentally kicks the puppy in the face.
To play: Go into an open room or field with your puppy, placing multiple balls or bottles on the ground. After your puppy sniffs the objects, nudge one with your toe. Once your puppy engages with that object, move on to another, gradually increasing the engagement until your puppy is fully into the game. Now’s the time to add other people to the play field. Just make sure everyone knows the rules — always kick a different ball than the one your puppy is playing with.
Soccer involves only your feet. Keep your hands out this game and remind your kids, too — lest the puppy think that jumping on them is more fun.

give (or drop)
Overall goal: You want to have an automatic “spit” reaction every time you say “give”. The goal is to spit out everything they say, but not necessarily to hold it in your hand.
Direction: give
Use it: Apart from being a handy playing skill, ‘Give’ has security features that can’t be argued against. If your puppy has something they value in their mouth or something that might put them at risk, the word “give” covers all bases. After you make less demand and more direction, your puppy will be eager to share their treasures.
Players: Puppies can be taught early on to “give,” so dogs of all ages can play this game.
To play: When your puppy is chewing something, whether it fits or not, approach it with a treat cup or a handheld treat. Place the treat near their nose, and say “give” the moment they release the body. If the thing is their game, don’t take it – let them keep it. If this is something they (in your opinion) shouldn’t have, reward them with the jackpot of bounties while quietly removing the thing.
You can practice in a small bath to keep him confined if the puppy runs away excitedly when approached. Or leave a leash on them around the house to enable calm.
The rules: If your pup is growling or pressing on the object too tightly, call a professional. Aggression is no joke.
tug tug give
Overall goal: When playing tug-of-war with your puppy, remember this: It’s important to let your puppy win at least two-thirds of the rounds to begin with. Some people may insist that you are weak, but let’s be real. Science says your puppy is a lot like a two-year-old, and kids feel much happier living in a world where play is interactive rather than tyrannical.
Directions: give and take.
Use it: Use the Tug Tug Give for general play and to redirect your puppy’s excitement or frustration, especially during a greeting or when exacerbated by passers-by or away from animals during a walk.
To play: Step into a quiet room with your favorite puppy’s toy. At first, play in the morning or evening when the puppy’s energy level is high. Tell your pup to Tug while showing their game, then pull it off for 3-5 seconds. Put a high-value reward or other toy next to their nose and say “give” as they release the toy. Reward them with a bonus or ask them to withdraw the game. As your puppy becomes accustomed to the game, start by saying “give” moments before offering the rewards, and gradually increase the time until your puppy no longer needs the rewards.

Freeze laughter wiggle
Overall goal: Teach your puppy not to jump or jump when excited and how to stop quickly and look at you when you say “wait.”
USE IT: This toy is a great energy release and a way to engage kids in teaching puppy self-control. Supervision is a must.

Directions: Wait.
To play: Start with two adults and one puppy, adding more players as your puppy learns the rules. In the end, up to five people can play – but assign only one person the role of the leader – the one who gives the pup and the rest of the players directions.
Go into an open area with your puppy and have the leader tell the players when they can start wiggling and dancing! If your pup starts getting excited, tell him to “wait.” Repeat “wait” in a strong voice as you stop abruptly. Throw a toy to your puppy for a reward for restraint!

Two toss game
Overall goal: Teach early fetch skills and remind your puppy that people are the ones to watch.
Use it: Play this game anywhere, anytime, indoors or outdoors.
Directions: fetch, go and get, fetch and give
To play: Combine two or more balls. Throw one game, say “bring” or “go and get it!” She encourages your puppy as they race towards their toy. If they turn around to you with the ball, say “good puppy,” but then produce and play with another similar or identical toy as you race away in the opposite direction, saying “can’t catch me.” If your puppy chases you with a toy, say “Bring it,” but don’t ask him to drop the toy at your feet. Puppies, like babies, must learn to share. If your puppy ends up at your feet with a toy in his mouth, ignore it while you play with your body. When they spit their toy, say “give,” asking that your pup stay still on all four paws before you throw the toy you’re holding. Now pick up the first game and start the game from the top. Play three to five times and then stop before the puppy loses interest.
Avoid chasing after your pup to get the game (or anything, for that matter), because they will see your insistence as confrontational play and prize envy. If you don’t have two toys, use a bonus to encourage them to share, but the same rules apply: Four on the floor and cool off before you reward your puppy or throw a toy.