Treasure Hunt – hide a treat or toy and have your dog find it. Maybe set up different size boxes and put the treat in one box when he is not looking. Have him find the treat and then reward him with hugs and kisses!
Hide and Go Seek – It works best if you have two people. One person can put the dog in their sit command and the other one can hide. The first person can then give the dog a command to “go seek”!
Ring Stackers – Teach your dog to stack rings starting with the large ring to the smallest.
Makeshift Obstacle Course – This can be done inside and outside. I once used two buckets outside set up side by side a few feet apart so that the dogs and I could do figure eights. You can also use PVC pipe and make your own agility setup and course.
Tricks – Teach your dog tricks like sit, stay, come, down, up, catch, fetch, come, roll over and give me paw! Always reward with a good quality treat and they will be eager to learn.
Clean Up – I have taught all of my dogs including Jake and Maggie to “clean up your crumbs”. When they eat their treats, they leave crumbs on the floor. I tell them to clean up their crumbs and the little mess they leave is now clean :-). This can also be taught clean up toys.
Name Game – Animals are incredibly smart. My parent’s dog, Cujo, knows all of his toys by name and will go and get the toy my parents have asked him to get.
Puzzles – Dog puzzles such as “Where’s The Ball” or puzzles that are a creative way to find a treat will help mentally stimulate your dog’s mind and keep them preoccupied for a while.
There are so many dog games and puzzles on the market now. Searching Chewy.com, Amazon, or any pet store can give you many ideas. With Chewy.com and Amazon, your game can be at your house in two days!!!!!
I was curious as to how to train a dog to “find a treat”, “shell game” and “the which hand game” and found training directions which I’ll share. They are easy for your dog to learn and then can be substituted for anything such as toys, clothes, newspapers, etc.
Find The Treats Game:
• Grab some treats and have your dog sit in a stay position
• While your dog is in the stay position put a few treats on the ground around them
• Give your dog a release command and tell them to “find the treats”
• Encourage them as they start picking up the treats
• Practice a few times until your dog understands what “find the treats” means
• Start placing the treats further away and repeat steps 3 & 4
• Start placing the treats in more challenging places that are out of sight such as under a rug or on a chair and repeat steps 3 & 4
The Which Hand Game:
The which hand game is an easy way to stimulate your dog’s brain — and the only thing you need to get started is some treats.
How to play the which hand game with your dog:
• Grab some treats and have your dog stay in the sit position
• Allow your dog to watch as you place a treat in one of your hands
• Close your hands into a downward facing fist and extend them out to your dog and ask “which hand?”
• Once your dog touches or signals the correct hand praise them and give them the treat
The Shell Game:
The shell game is another simple brain game for dogs. You’ve probably seen it before — it’s the game where a treat is hidden under one cup (or shell) and then shuffled around. The shell game will give your plenty of mental stimulation by giving them a chance to work on their problem solving skills.
How to play the shell game with your dog:
• Grab 3 cups and some treats
• Have your dog watch as you place a treat under one of the three cups
• Shuffle the cups around
• Encourage your dog to find the cup with the treat underneath