Dear Labby: Playtime with Pup

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Dear Labby_oldDear Labby,

What games should I play with my dog? We just rescued a medium size dog (45 lbs) from the shelter. He seems really hyper. I walk him for 15-20 minutes every day, but he seems fixated on his ball and all he wants to do is play fetch. He is also very destructive in the house, chewing on things and racing around. Are there other games or activities I should be doing with him? We’ve never had a dog before, so I just don’t know, maybe this is normal. Can you help?

Bored Benny

Dear Benny,

There’s tons of games you can play with your dog. But, let’s start with his daily exercise routine. A medium sized dog probably needs more activity than a 15 minute walk. I would recommend at least double that – both the length of the walk and the number of times per day – so TWO 30 minutes walks a day. After doing that for a week or so, see how his behavior is – is he still ‘hyper’ or does he settle in more easily? Increase the structured activity as necessary until the point he’s more controlled and relaxed in the house.

As far as playing, dogs absolutely need to play – it is part of their DNA. And fetch is on of their favorite games. But don’t let him become obsessed with it. Introduce different games such as hide & seek or chase – get him him to expend his energy in different ways. We have a book with lots of games called: Brain Games for Dogs. It has all sorts of games to play from easy to hard. You can also try agility – many of our FitDog Friday Blog Hop dogs do agility, come back tomorrow and see what they write about.doggames

Don’t neglect mental exercise – that’s just as important. Many people use Kongs with hidden treats – we wrote a blog post a few months ago on some of Jack’s favorite mental toys. There’s nothing quite as fun & enjoyable as having a well exercised dog as part of your family. They will bring you many years of happiness if you take good care of them.  That means exercising their brain and their body and when it comes down to it, all of that stuff is just ‘PLAY’ to a dog.

I’m sure our readers have lots of other ideas about fun games or activities to do with your new dog. Please add your suggestions for Benny to the comments.


We’re joining up with 2 Brown Dawgs for This ‘N That Thursday Blog Hop!


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  1. Absolutely agree. A dog needs play, always. And a good cognitive workout!
    Michelle Liew recently posted…Recognizing and understanding canine dominanceMy Profile

  2. We agree. We need exercise and mental stimulation and treats and … did we mention treats?

    Buddy, Merci & Sam
    jansfunnyfarm recently posted…Painting Cyndi and CameronMy Profile

  3. Ooo I love puzzle games! They are so frustrating but so fun! Good thoughts Slim Doggy
    Ruckus the Eskie recently posted…This ‘N That Thursday: Happy Belated National Boss Day!My Profile

  4. My favorite game to play with my guys combines physical and mental exercise. We call it “stair ball” because we frequently use a bouncy ball, but a treat works great, too! I sit at the top of the steps and call Cooper. He runs up the stairs, and I ask for a behavior (sit, watch me, shake, etc.) as soon as he does it, I throw a treat down the stairs and said, “find it!” He runs down, collects his treat, then I call him back up, ask for the behavior, throw the treat, and so on. Repeat many, many times. If you vary the behavior, it keeps him thinking! Plus all the running up and down stairs is a great workout!
    Maggie recently posted…Gently used (or never touched!) dog stuff giveawayMy Profile

  5. Thanks for participating in TNT! I think Labby gives great advice. Mental stimulation can go a long way to tire out a high energy dog.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…This ‘N That ThursdayMy Profile

    • Absolutely and it’s fun to watch them trying to figure things out.
      mkob recently posted…Dear Labby: Playtime with PupMy Profile

  6. Great response Labby. Don’t forget nylabones and stuff like that to give Benny to chew on so he leaves the other stuff alone.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…This ‘N That ThursdayMy Profile

  7. We have two of those games for dogs where you hide the treats. She is awesome at figuring them out and just loves them!
    emma recently posted…Outdoor Indoor Fun | GBGV | Fitdog FridayMy Profile

  8. Labby, you’re brilliant! I know people who teach their dog a new trick every week, working on it all week. Then reviewing all the tricks the dog knows. There are fun things like agility, fly ball, search and rescue, therapy dog training – so many ways to calm a smart dog!
    Flea recently posted…Treats on an Empty Stomach – FUFMy Profile

  9. Toys are great if your dog will play with them…Gizmo is prety selective…I find the “play” he enjoys most is exploring…He love to use his nose and follow new scents so I get him out to trails where he can do that
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Slaying the Chain–Kayaking Works the CoreMy Profile

    • Jack is like that too – toys hold him for limited time. Maggie doesn’t play with toys at all…but new trails and hikes – they LOVE them.
      mkob recently posted…Reasons that a Dog is a Great Workout PartnerMy Profile

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