9 Outdoor Games to Play With Your Dog

beagle puppy running through grass with a toy

Playing outside with your dog can be a great way to give them the exercise and mental stimulation they need. Plus, it’s a lot of fun for you both and can help strengthen the bond you have with your dog. Here are a few outdoor games to play with your dog:

1. Teach Them to Play Frisbee

Frisbee can be a fantastic game for agile dogs that like to chase. As long as your dog won’t be injured by the jumping and twisting involved with trying to catch a frisbee mid-air, you can try this activity. Depending on your dog, it may not take that long to teach them how to play frisbee.

2. Try Playing Fetch

Fetch can also be a great outdoor game to play with your dog. If you’re playing frisbee, you’re also playing fetch as long as you’ve taught your dog to bring it back. But, fetch can be played with a variety of items.

So, if your dog shouldn’t be jumping up or twisting to get a frisbee or a flying disc, you can use a ball or another toy instead to still play while keeping them on the ground. As with frisbee, you’ll likely need to spend some time teaching your dog how to play fetch.

Some dogs will pick up on it easier than others, but one of the biggest reasons why some dogs don’t play fetch is because they were never trained to do it. Another reason is that some dogs just aren’t interested. Fetch is one of the most popular outdoor games to play with your dog. Give it a try, and, if your dog isn’t interested, just try a different game.

3. Create an Obstacle Course

If you have a fenced-in backyard and your dog is a good fit for agility work, you can create a DIY obstacle course for your dog. Not only does this give them an outlet for their energy and some exercise, but it also provides mental stimulation by teaching them something new. As long as your vet approves your dog for this activity, adding an obstacle course can also help you create a dog-friendly backyard.

4. Play With Water

If your dog likes water and thinks the spray from the garden hose is fun, you can just play some games with your dog involving water. This is one of the simplest outdoor games to play with your dog and can also help keep them cool in the summer.

You can create an arc with the stream from the hose for your dog to run through and explore. Depending on how your dog likes to play, they may like chasing the water stream or running from it. Plus, this can be one of the great activities for senior dogs.

5. Let Them Chase Bubbles

Bubbles can be a lot of fun for people and for dogs. The floating movement and the shine as they catch the light make bubbles fun for a lot of dogs to chase. You can run around blowing bubbles for your dog, you can sit in a chair and do it, and you can even buy a machine that will do it for you.

Bubble blowers made specifically for dogs are also available! This type of fun activity provides energetic play and is also one of the ways to enrich your dog’s day. Just make sure the bubble solution you’re using is non-toxic and will not make your dog sick if they happen to eat a bunch of bubbles.

6. Play Hide and Seek

This is a fun game to play with your dog that helps them hone their sniffing and searching skills. Simply hide some of your dog’s balls or toys around your yard or garden. Make sure your dog doesn’t see where you’re hiding them.

Then, let them go out and find them. Reward your dog each time they find one! This is a fun and lower-energy game to play with your dog. It’s also one of the indoor scent games for dogs that you can take outside when the weather permits.

7. Build a Digging Pit

Digging is something dogs love to do, but it’s not so great when it destroys your yard. Easily build a digging pit for your dog with some sand. Bury their favorite toys or dog bones in the sand and let them have fun digging for treasure.

This allows them to dig, but on your terms! It’s a great way to redirect instinctual digging behavior, dedicate it to one area, and save the rest of your yard.

8. Try a Game of Round Robin

This is a great game for your family or friends to play with your dog. Have everyone form a spread-out circle with your dog in the center. Give each person a few treats.

One at a time, have each person call out your dog’s name. Reward them with pets and treats when they go to the person calling their name.

9. Set Up Laundry Basketball

For this activity, you’ll need a laundry basket and some balls that your dog typically plays with. Demonstrate dropping a ball into the laundry basket while saying “drop” to convey this command to your dog. Repeat this action a few times to ensure they’re learning.

When you think they’ve gotten the idea, give your dog a ball. Each time they drop the ball into the basket, give them a lot of praise and a treat. Keep practicing so they learn the skill and remember it the next time you two play laundry basketball! Although this game may take some training for your dog to get the hang of it, it’s a great way to teach your dog something new and keep them from getting bored with other games.

Plus, once they master picking up their toy and putting it in the basket as a game, you may be able to easily train them to clean up their toys on command as well. This is one of the jobs your dog can do at home. Not only does it satisfy working dog instincts, but it’s helpful to you too.

These are just a few outdoor games to play with your dog. Not only is playing one of the ways to bond with a new puppy or a dog you’ve had for a while, but it also helps them get enough exercise and keeps them from getting bored. Plus, they’ll love being able to spend time with you being active!