Smart dogs, just like smart people, will figure out how to entertain themselves. But you might not want that to happen 😉
Because a creative dog might not do things you would approve of, like gnawing corners of books, jumping up and down in your bed, doing pet battles with your cat or things like that.
The good news is that you don’t need to keep your dog entertained the whole time. Once it has satisfied its need for fun, it will lie down to sleep.
Contents inside this post
- 1 How to Keep Smart Dogs Entertained
- 2 Fun Things to Do with Your Dog at Home
- 3 How to Entertain a Dog When You’re Not Home
- 4 Fun Things to Do with Your Dog Inside
- 5 Outdoor Games for Dogs
- 6 How to Mentally Stimulate My Dog
- 7 Funny Things to Do with Your Dog
- 8 Activities for Dogs When It’s Raining
- 9 Activities for Dogs When It’s Hot
- 10 More Things to Do With Your Dog
How to Keep Smart Dogs Entertained
Smart dogs need challenges. You might find that throwing a ball is not enough.
My dog, Nefnef, loves balls. Her favorite is a small leather football with a hole in it, so it’s not quite pumped up. It can still jump when you throw it.
When I throw the ball, Nefnef runs after it the first time and brings it back. Sometimes she runs after it a second time, but the third time, at the latest, she runs for the ball, look at it and then wait for me to come and get it.
From that moment, it’s her rules that counts. We must both run after the ball, even when I throw it. She grabs it with her mouth or paws and dribbles it. I take it from her and she growls like a dangerous dog. It’s a good thing that I know she isn’t.
She’s tried throwing the ball at the cat, but he didn’t want to play that game. Weird 😉
Anyway, ball games or Frisbee games are always a great way to keep smart dogs entertained. And it makes you fit, too.
Otherwise, teach your dog tricks and words. I’ll get back to those further down when I talk about mentally stimulating my dog.
Fun Things to Do with Your Dog at Home
I think it’s important that both you and your dog have fun with the activities. But okay, I guess that’s easy. Seeing how a dog loves it when you do things with it, at home or elsewhere, is enough reward for the human, too.
Here are a few of things I do with my dog at home:
- I give her the peanut butter jar, closed, when it’s empty and let her work on opening it. She can do that fast now, because she loves peanut butter.
- An empty plastic bottle with ice cubes in, with a closed lid, always makes her happy.
- I hide a treat in one hand, shuffle them behind my back, show her my closed fists and lets her find the treat with her nose.
- Train her to walk next to me without a leash.
- Take her out to look for cats (she loves cats) and comment what we see. (Oh, there’s a sweet cat, oh, it’s raining, rain.)
- Join her on the balcony and comment on what we see (a cat, a car, a man, a woman…).
How to Entertain a Dog When You’re Not Home
This can be a little trick but knowing how to entertain a dog when your not home will help you through car drives, train rides and more.
Here a dog must be muzzled on a public train. We bought one that she can freely breathe through and even drink water through.
If possible, bring your dog’s favorite toy and play with it. Talk to your dog. Comment on what you see in the train or car.
If you’re visiting people with your dog, you might want to show it around your host’s house or apartment. Show it where it can find water.
Remember to walk your dog so it can do its business outside.
Fun Things to Do with Your Dog Inside
There are so many fun things you can do with your dog inside. Let me mention a few.
- Teach your dog to give paw, roll over, lie dead and sit pretty (see further down for a video)
- Play ball inside if you have a corridor or similar
- Have a few agility toys like a tunnel inside
- Get a trambolin and let your dog have fun
- Sing and play an instrument and let the dog join the choir
- Play brain games with your dog
- Teach your dog new words
- Play hide and seek
Outdoor Games for Dogs
Throwing ball, fetching sticks, playing with Frisbees… Those are some of the always popular outdoor games for dogs.
I also throw in walking on planks, spotting cats, watching out for cars when crossing a road – yes, you could turn that into a game.
Then, of course, we have agility training which is a great outdoor activity that also mentally stimulates your dog.
Speaking of which…
How to Mentally Stimulate My Dog
All the dogs I’ve been in contact with loved a good challenge.
You can play brain games with your dog. That’s always fun for both parts and it will make you so proud of your smart dog as well as your abilities to stimulate your dog mentally.
One thing I’ve done since Nefnef was a puppy was to teach her new words.
We started – ironically – with “no,” the only word she still doesn’t always obey to. Then I tried with “down” but it didn’t work that well, either. Strange, I thought, since both are short words.
Nefnef got a teddy. I taught her the word Teddy, and then the names of her other toys, like the “rope” and the “ball.” If I asked her to bring her teddy, she fetched it. If I asked her to bring her ball, she fetched that.
So I continued to teach her new words. Words like “peanutbutter jar” and “mayonnaise jar” and “chicken” she grasped fast. Sometimes even after the first time. “Do you want a peanutbutter jar?” Wagging tail, jumping up and down.
Long words seem to be easier to remember than short. Weird, eh?
Also, to further mentally stimulate my dog, I didn’t make it easy for her. I gave her the almost empty peanutbutter jar with the lid on. She had to work for the reward.
There are IQ toys for dogs that I want to try, but I think the most important thing to get a good relationship with a dog is to do a lot of activities together.
Funny Things to Do with Your Dog
What you define as funny things to do with your dog will depend on your taste and your dogs. Often a thing you wouldn’t have considered funny can be made funny just by watching your dog’s pleasure while doing it.
I love cats, but I never gave much thought to seeing a cat outside. Now I do. “Look, a cat,” I say and point and Nefnef goes, “Where where where?” I love it when she sees that cat. Often she spots the cats herself and then I enjoy discovering it with her.
Also, I highly enjoy it when we see another wild cat from the neighborhood go tame and not fear her. But I guess we’re rather unique on this point, Nefnef and I.
One thing I would love to try is agility training. I’ve read that it’s a very funny thing to do and that it also gives the owner exercise.
Some dog and owners like to dress up for Halloween in customes that fit each other.
Some like to teach the dog to play the piano or sing.
Both I and my dog have had fun learning things like rolling on their back, giving paw, sit, and sit pretty. I couldn’t remember how I taught our late dog, Tikva, how to do that latter, so I found a video that teaches this:
Activities for Dogs When It’s Raining
Does your dog like rain? The Labrador Retrievers I’ve known loved water and swimming but didn’t like rain. I’ve know poodles to hate rain.
And my own dog, the Shikoku Nefnef, she has a very tense relationship with rain. It doesn’t rain a lot in our country, so she was close to one year old before she experienced rain the first time. She has a sound for “pee” and she used it a lot while stepping carefully between puddles of rain water. I’m not sure if she thought some huge dog had been peeing all over her territory or what. It took her four years to learn that she could pee even though it was raining.
A good activity for rainy days is to put on rain clothes and walk your dog. If you have a park nearby, you’ll enjoy how quiet it is, because all other dog owners stay home. And the people, who would normally sit on the benches, are hiding inside.
Unless it’s freezing cold, this is a very joyful activity – even for your rain-hating dog. It will slowly get used to it.
This morning, when I took my dog outside, it had just stopped raining. Both of us carefully stepped around the big puddles of water. She peed and then stepped right into a huge puddle when she’d finished. “Hoooh?” she said. Then we rushed back towards our entrence door.
Crazy dog 😉
Activities for Dogs When It’s Hot
If your dog isn’t used to warm weather, it will probably no enjoy running after a Freesbie or a ball.
Try putting a couple of ice cubes inside a used plastic bottle and close the lid. Let the dog figure out how to open the bottle.
The first time it might take a while, but it will soon learn how to open it within seconds. I had a dog who simply stepped on the bottle and the lid popped off. Nefnef bites the lid and twists it until it comes off.
You can also use a Kong toy and fill it with peanut butter and leave it in the freezer until it’s frozen.
More Things to Do With Your Dog
When I find more things myself, I’ll update this post. But first, I want to hear from you.
What other things have you done with your dog to have fun and mentally challenge your clever pooch?
Let me know in the comments below.