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Free Games to Keep Your Dog’s Mind Sharp

by Dennis ODonnell on April 29, 2020

Toys, food and treats – oh my!  We don’t have to tell you that dog ownership can get expensive.  Contrary to popular belief, PAW5 believes that some of the best things in life are free.  One of those things being the priceless smile on your dog’s face when you turn on the sprinkler!  And that’s not the only joy-inducing activity you can do together without reaching for your wallet.  There are oodles of things you can do with her that engage her body, mind and that best-things-in-life smile you love so much!


This game helps to focus your dogs mind and improve memory through basic reward training.

  • What You Need: Two opaque plastic cups + healthy treats and / or kibble + a flat surface
  • How You Play: With your dog’s attention focused, flip the two cups upside-down and place a treat under one cup letting her watch.  Work with her to nudge or place her paw on the cup with the treat under it.  When she correctly identifies where the treat is, reward her.  If she misses it, which will happen, show her the correct location of the treat and do not reward her.  Once she reaches advanced gamer levels, allow her to watch you place the treat, then switch the cup’s placement.

Yummy Cubes

Challenge your pups senses to discover the tasty goodness inside each hydrating cube!

  • What You Need: Ice cube tray + water + apple slices (or other healthy treat)
  • How To Play: Mindful of your dog’s preferences and any allergies, select healthy items such as apples, carrots, berries or  peanut butter to place into ice cube trays, then fill with water.  While licking might not sound like a fun game for humans, she will love using all of her senses to get to the treat on the inside of the Yummy Cube.  Increase game difficulty by incorporating hide-and-seek in the home or backyard.

Tunnel Runs

Get your dog’s body and mind moving with a game that ignites her instinct to burrow.

  • What You Need: 4-6 medium to large cardboard boxes + duct, masking or postage tape
  • How to Play: Tape boxes together lengthwise, end-to-end creating a tunnel shape that is large enough for your dog to run through with her head bowed.  Start with two boxes, then increase the length as she understands the concept using verbal or treat rewards to encourage her travel from one end of the tunnel to the other.  Once she masters this, work with her to run to one end of the tunnel and then return.

Splish, Splash: Have a water-loving dog?  We promise she will love this run-down of awesome water games we put together!


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