Play time with your dog by Edel Nolan

Dogs love spending time with us and there is nothing nicer than having your dog curled up beside

you while you relax on the couch after a busy day. However, the last thing my dog wants to do when

I get home from work is curl up on the couch with me! Home alone from 9 to 5 she has had plenty of

time to nap and once I get home sleeping is the last thing on her mind!

We have a regular routine of an early morning short walk and a longer walk in the evening but very

often even after her later walk she still has lots of unspent energy. I have found having a few fun

games up my sleeve works wonders at tiring her out. Games that involve sniffing or searching are

particularly good for challenging her mentally & any game works wonders at strengthening the bond

between you. Here’s a few you might like to try.

Hide and seek.

This game is good for practicing the “stay” command with your dog. You sit your dog in one room of

the house, then leg it and hide in a different room. Call her & wait for her to find you. Or have your

housemate tell her to “find …”

Treasure hunt

I use this to keep my dog occupied while I’m cooking the dinner! Simply hide some treats, or a

portion of her dinner if you feed her dry food, around the house in various spots then tell her to “go

fetch!” Once she returns to me in the kitchen we do a quick walk about to make sure she’s gotten

them all, and if she has she gets an extra bonus treat!

Tug of war

I use this along with fetch – ie I throw the tug toy, get her to bring it back and if she does, use a few

seconds tugging as her reward. It’s also a good way to teach “take” and “drop” – ask her to “take”

the tug toy into her mouth and hold it. When you want her to stop tugging & give you the toy tell

her to “drop”. When she does drop the toy I congratulate her and excitedly throw the toy once


Simple agility

Setting up a simple obstacle course using chairs, boxes, etc. from around the house can provide

loads of fun for your dog if she already has some agility training. Rather than a game of speed I slow

this down completely and try to get the dog entirely focused on me & what I’m asking her to do. Lots

of treats are a necessity here!