Playing games helps your dog release energy, feel useful, bond with you (the best part) and learn commands like sit, stay and retrieve. Teaching your dogs tricks is great but when they run around happy because they just accomplished a goal in a game even better!
Indoor games are great anytime and when the weather is too hot, too cold or stormy. Be careful to not let your dog overheat if playing outside, make sure they have plenty of water and if you notice glassy eyes or a lot of panting, take a break and let them cool down. Start out slow when it comes to running and jumping for your dog, so they can gradually work into a routine of exercise.
Now onto the fun!
Hide The Treat: This game is good for teaching your dog to sit, stay and retrieve.
Break up a large treat into 4 pieces or use small treats. Place them in your hand and close it up leaving an opening by your thumb for your dog to smell the treat. Ask the dog to sit, then smell the treat and tell the dog to stay. Walk into another room and hide the treat behind the door, a chair or someplace on the floor to start so your dog will get an understanding of the game. You can move onto other hiding places like in a couch or a little higher on a chair (if they can reach) as you go on. Then call the dog to come into the room and encourage them to find the treat. Once the dog does a bunch of sniffing around and accomplishes the goal your dog will be happy for the treat and you letting them know they just did a good thing. This builds up confidence in the dog and a bond between you both.
Go back to the same spot you started at and ask the dog to sit, smell and stay. Walk into another room they cannot see you in and hide another treat and repeat until all 4 treats are gone and then let them know they are great and the game is over by moving on to something else.
You could also put the dog in a room while you hide the treats then bring the dog out and let him or her smell your hand with one treat in it. Take the dog from one room to another for the treats, giving a hug, pet, telling them “Good Dog” or all three each time they accomplish the goal of finding the treat. You can make the first room easy and make it more challenging for the next three rooms. Try not to hide the treats in the same places, as your dog is smart and will keep going back to those places from memory.
Photo Courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net