Fetch and chase
Keep your breed in mind when you get started – have you got a heeler or a hound? Playing games like fetch can keep a retriever entertained for hours, while herding breeds will enjoy chasing balls or organising toys. Hounds will love sniffing a scent trail – can he find you or a family member?
Hide and seek
Hide and seek is a great game to play with your dog, though it may take him a few tries to catch on. “Hide” in another room and call him, then reward him by making a fuss over him or giving him one low-fat kibble when he finds you. It may take him a few tries to catch on, but when he’s ready you can make it harder by getting more creative with your hiding places. Just be sure he doesn’t get discouraged.
This is a great group game as well as a way to reinforce his training to come when called. When he’s ready, raise the bar by having several people play, each calling the dog from different areas in turn to really keep your dog on his toes.
Create an obstacle or agility course
This is easily done even indoors. Get creative and use safe household objects like rolled up blankets or cardboard boxes to create hurdles and mazes to run through. Be sure the area is safe, and adjust the course to your dog’s abilities and size. As he loses weight, he may be able to progress to mightier feats.
Take a hike
While this may not be a game, per se, most dogs enjoy a nice long walk. If your dog is very overweight he’ll need to lose a bit before embarking on a grand adventure. Taking a daily survey of “his territory” (your neighbourhood, or somewhere you like to walk regularly) is an important routine. All dogs can benefit from a mix of routine walks with predictable routes and setting sights on new horizons.
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