We all struggle to find ways to keep our puppy mentally and physically stimulated, and we know the mischief that happens when puppies are bored. If you are looking for an alternative to taking your dog on a walk, enrichment games can be a great way to entertain puppies. Below we have listed five enrichment activities that will mentally and physically stimulate your puppy.
Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is our top game for puppies because it can be used as they get older to teach the puppy to stay in your eyesight even in the park or other public settings. To start, practice calling your puppy in plain sight from the other room. When your puppy finds you, act very excited, pet, and play with your puppy. After a few repetitions of this, start hiding behind corners or easy-to-find hiding spots. Call your puppy and wait for them to find you. Repeat as many times as you’d like, making the spots harder as you go.
When your puppy is fully enthused about hide and seek and will search the house for you, try the game in your backyard. Then, when your puppy is older, take him to the park and repeat the game. Put your puppy on a 50 ft. long line. When your puppy is not watching, hide behind a tree and wait for your puppy to look for you. When your puppy finds you, make a big deal of it! Then, wait for them to become distracted again, and repeat. This is a great way to teach your puppy to look for you even when they are distracted. Just make sure you are practicing in a safe space away from cars.
Digging in the Sandbox
If you have a doggo who loves to dig, their very own sandbox might be the perfect gift. The same sandboxes sold for toddlers can be used for your puppy. Instead of giving them children’s toys, bury some of your puppy’s favorite toys, like their nylabone or kong, in the sand. This gives puppies an alternative way to burn off that energy without destroying your garden. Make sure to close the lid when you are done playing so that no other critters use it as a litterbox.
We typically use treats for find it but you could also use your puppy’s favorite toy for this game. Find it encourages your puppy’s scent detection skills. Start by placing the treat in plain sight as your puppy watches. Then give them a release word to take the treat. Once your puppy understands to take the treat at your release, start placing treats in hiding spots, still while your puppy is watching. As your puppy gets the hang of the game, start putting your puppy in another room while you hide the treat and use the same release command. We love playing this game on rainy days or really any day that your puppy needs extra mental stimulation.
DIY Obstacle Course
Is your puppy destined for the agility course? Create your own obstacle course appropriate to your puppy’s size. You can purchase agility equipment online, but you can also make a few homemade obstacles just for fun. Hula hoops can be used for jumps. A tunnel could be made with a blanket hanging on your dining chairs in a row or you could make it with a large cardboard box with the bottom removed. Orange cones could become a weave obstacle. The coffee table or other low furniture could be used for an army crawl. A chair or coffee table can be the pause table. A broom laid on a stack of books or chairs can be a jump. There are lots of possibilities! The main thing is to have fun and get creative.
A flirt pole is a long pole with a rope attached. At the end of the robe is a toy, or lure. A flirt pole looks like a giant cat toy but can be used to entice puppies and dogs in a game of chase. It is a great option for physical and mental stimulation in puppies. Using a flirt pole will teach your puppy coordination and can be used in training to teach impulse control.
These five enrichment games will keep your puppy entertained and mentally stimulated. If you’re having a hard time with puppyhood, we’re here to help! Schedule a free training consultation today and one of our behavior consultants will help you achieve all of your puppy training goals!
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