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Games for High Energy Dogs

Games for Hyperactive / High Energy Dogs and every Dog that just loves to play!


Untitled1The majority of games that you can play with your dogs are versatile enough to be both inside and outside games.   Often it is just a slight adjustment or simple modification between setting up for playing inside or outside. The advantages of being able to play outside will be that you will have more choices, options and variations but luckily your four-legged friend will not mind where he gets to play as long as he has fun and enjoyment with you.

So here are a few for you to try with your furry.

Find it.

As I am sure you are well aware of the majority of dogs just love sniffing everywhere they go and delight in using their noses to be able to tap into whatever scents and smells they can gather in the environment around them.   So basically this game is utilizing their natural talents and at the same time letting you and your family have fun together.

  1. Start off with a handful of small tasty treats.  Throw one to your left and say “Find it!” Then throw one to your right and say “Find it!”   Do this back and forth for about half a dozen times.
  2. Then get your dog to sit and wait or stay (whichever he is comfortable with) or if you have somebody to help you, ask them to hold him.    Walk about 10-15 feet away and let him see you place a treat on the floor.    Go back to his side, wait a couple of seconds, then say “Find it!”    Always use a happy voice and encourage him to go and find the treats.  Repeat about a half a dozen times.
  3. Next get your dog to sit and wait or stay, (whichever he is comfortable with) or have someone hold him whilst he sees you go and “hide” a treat in an easy hiding place. Possibly behind a chair leg; or under a small table;   something really easy or if outside, close to your garden furniture or pot plants etc.     Walk back to his side, wait a couple of seconds, and ask him to “Find it!”    Repeat about a half a dozen times.
  4. Next have your dog sitting and waiting.    This time hide several treats in easy places while he’s watching.    Return to his side, wait a few seconds, and ask him to “Find it!”  Do not try and help him out if he doesn’t find them right away.   If you feel he is struggling repeat the “find it” cue and try and show him the general direction or area that the treats are hidden in.   You really want him to work this out for himself and find the treats.
  5. As you progress hide the treats in harder places so he really has to look for them. Try putting the treats just above the ground on a low stool or table or underneath things. Even put in containers that he can easily open or a simple cardboard box. The same applies if you are outside – hide in easily accessible places.
  6. Now that he is really getting into this game take him in to another room while you then go back and hide treats.  Bring him back into the room and ask him to “Find it!” Now you will be able to see how much he loves to look for these “hidden” treats and just how powerful his nose work is.

Once you feel that he has learnt this game and is very confident you can use it to exercise him by hiding treats in safe places all over the house or in and around your garden or wherever you want to just by telling him to “Find it!”    Nose work is both mentally and physically invigorating for your dog and you will see your dog will be pretty tired after these games as well as relaxed and chilled after all this fun exercise and stimulation.


Beginner’s version of “Find it”

Untitled.2pngIf you have a dog that prefers something a wee bit easier you can always feed your dog his entire meal by throwing pieces of kibble from one side to the other, and at the same time making sure you throw the treats farther and farther apart and just keep telling him to “Find it!”   He will still get a lot of stimulation doing this exercise and with your enthusiasm and encouragement maybe you will inspire him to want to learn and take part in more “challenging” games. You will be surprised what your own enthusiasm can do to boost your dog’s interest in many different games and activities. So keep playing games and watch his curiosity blossom.


(Another way to teach your dog a great recall)

This is a great game for helping your dog learn to come every time he is called.   Try and get the whole family to join in. This game can also be played inside or outside.   Ask everyone to stand some distance apart, preferably in a circle.    If you are outside, have everyone standing in a large circle around the garden.   Each person needs a handful of “yummy” small treats.   Start by taking turns calling your dog’s name one after the other and as soon as he comes to that person he gets rewarded.   It is very likely that he will catch on fast to this game so to keep him interested and attentive have the people call his name the minute the previous person has delivered a treat. As he masters this game try making it more difficult by having a couple of people in the circle turn around so their back is towards the dog. As soon as he gets to the correct person make a huge fuss and give lots of treats for being so smart.   You can also ask some of the people to call his name and as he comes to them they run away from him. He must then run to them to get his reward and will put on speed to do so. Be as animated as you can doing this and you will find your dog will want to carry on playing all day!


Untitled5Hide and seek is always fun, but it is especially so when you are playing with your four-legged buddy. For extra fun, get the whole family involved and let them hide while your dog tries to find you all. Initially have one family member keeping the dog occupied whilst the others go and hide.   The ones hiding can also make small noises to attract attention and give clues of their whereabouts. Always set your dog up for success and let him know just how pleased you are when he finds your hideaway. This will encourage him to want to play this game again and again with you all.


This is the simplest of all games. With food or a toy in only one hand, present both closed hands to your dog.    Ask him, “Which one?”

You may advance upon this game by insisting he touch your hand with a paw or scratch lightly at the correct hand before receiving his treat, or simply have his nose bump your hand.  If he gets it wrong, show him the correct hand but DO NOT give the treat! Then try again and you will see that he will learn very fast what is needed for him to get his reward.

Always make sure you finish the game with him winning and getting the correct hand. Be very excited and end with a huge jackpot of treats. This will make him look forward to the next time you play the game together as he will remember how pleased you were with him and that he had a huge handful of treats.


By Joanna, Trainer