Labrador Puppy Playing With Ball

Beyond Fetch: Simple and Fun Games for Your Dog

While playing a classic game of fetch is always a good time, sometimes you just want to add a little variety to the routine.

Whether you’d like to use a game as a training tool or simply want to try something new, there are many engaging options you can tackle with your dog.

We’ve compiled a list of some fun and engaging games you can add to your doggy’s play-time.

Some of them may not tickle your pup’s fancy, but maybe one will become the new favorite that the two of you play forever.

Brain Training for Dogs

Active Games

These suggestions are for the doggos who need to burn off some energy. If you find it impossible to tire your dog out, try one of these high-intensity options.

Water fetch

This spin on the traditional game is a neat way to get your dog moving. If you happen to have access to a hydrotherapy spa then you can do it in a proper facility, but a homemade pool also does the job.

Throw a favorite toy into the water and offer huge praise if your dog bravely goes after it. This is also a solid way for dogs to exercise vigorously without putting a major strain on their tendons and ligaments.


Playing soccer is a sure-fire way to exhaust yourself in addition to your dog. While the concept is an entertaining one, be patient if your dog seems to be working against you in the goal. You can also play this kind of game with more than one dog at a time.


If you look around your house and yard, there are probably many random items you could utilize to design a DIY agility course. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy. Find objects that your dog can climb up, crawl under, and weave around.

Obstacle-based courses can be particularly demanding, so watch for indicators that your dog might be getting too fatigued to continue. Eventually, he’ll be able to endure longer and more intense sessions.

Training Games

If your goal is to provide mental stimulation, you can combine work and pleasure with training-style enrichment.

Make sure to check in with your dog’s mental state. If you start noticing signs of frustration and anxiety, either take a break from that specific game or find another, less-challenging one. The last thing you want to do is accidentally turn play-time into a source of stress.


This may not seem like a mentally difficult game, but it’s very useful for teaching impulse control. You can use a rope or similar object to teach your doggy “take it” and “leave it,” or “drop it.”

Nose work

Even if you have no interest in seriously training your dog for scent work, it doesn’t hurt to strengthen that inherent ability. Simply take a small treat and place it in one of your fists. Clench both fists and ask your dog, “which hand?”

If your dog guesses wrong, just play it again. As soon as the correct fist is chosen, offer the treat with praise.

While we're on the subject of training games, we've got a simple game you can play with your dog right away! It's called “The Airplane Game” and it is designed to improve your dog's ability to pay attention to you despite distractions.

Teaching this skill is extremely beneficial to you and your dog in many different scenarios. To access this special free game simply click the link below and sign up to our FREE newsletter.

The Airplane Game

Just for Fun Games

Any interaction you have with your dog is an opportunity to learn, but there are some low-pressure games where training doesn’t have to be the focus.

Hide and seek

Your doggo may not be an expert at hiding, but will probably have a blast searching for you. If your dog has not yet mastered “stay,” ask someone to hold him while you go hide.


It doesn’t matter what age or species you are – playing with bubbles is just amusing. There are few things as comical as watching a dog lunge at bubbles, trying desperately to catch one.


Another easy backyard game is just to set up a sprinkler. Your dog may be a bit nervous about the water at first. If this happens, try running around in the water yourself. Your doggy will most likely be unable to resist joining you. Garden hoses can also work well for this purpose.

Once you start getting creative with game ideas, fresh ones will keep occurring to you. Experiment with different kinds of activities and see what your dog enjoys the most.

Some dogs are fans of interactive, reward-based games, while others just want to run around at top-speed. Be open to new ideas and see what works best for you and your canine pal.

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