Outdoor games are vital in the life of a Labrador. With the high energy and dynamic nature of the dogs, some of these games make for rigorous activity through which Labradors burn off their excess energy. The games can also be viewed as a form of exercise, helping your dog to stay happy and healthy. Enjoying fun outdoor games with your Labrador presents an opportunity for you to bond with your furry companion, a factor that goes a long way in ensuring you build a healthy and robust relationship.
Choosing the right games for the dog breed is one of the best ways of taking care of your Labrador. Whether you are looking to teach your Lab specific lessons or just playing for fun, there are numerous games that you can take part in. While some of these games will involve only you and the dog, others will require several members of your family. Similarly, you can play some of these games in your backyard, while others will need you to go to a larger space such as a park. Even as you play these games, you should always prioritize your safety and that of your canine friend. Here are some fun outdoor games to play with your Labrador:
Dog treasure hunt
Treasure hunting is one of the most popular outdoor games to play with your Labrador. The game presents an excellent opportunity to hone your Lab’s natural scent-tracking abilities. The basics of this game involve hiding his favorite treats around the backyard and giving him time to find them. As you hide the treats, you should put your canine companion in a room so that he does not see or smell the secret hideout.
Once you are done, let your dog free into the backyard so he can sniff away the treats. Make sure you help him along the scent trails in case he is struggling. Praise him every time he finds a hidden treat. After your Lab has learned the game, increase the level of difficulty of the game to make it more fun.
When playing this game, the idea is to get your dog to sit perfectly still like a statue, without moving a muscle. You then walk around the dog in a circle as he maintains his position. However, be careful not to step on his tail as you walk behind him.
As you teach your Labrador the game, let him sit still for a few seconds as you make smaller movements of your foot. If he manages to keep still, reward him with a treat. In case he fidgets or moves, you should try smaller movements. Once your dog can sit still, proceed to make more significant movements with your leg and increase the duration over which he should be still. As you keep walking around your Labrador in a circle, you can increase the time to about five minutes. This game is designed to help teach your dog how to listen.
Bubble up is another exciting and fun outdoor game. All you need is a few bottles of kids’ bubbles so you can create the floaters. Your dog will naturally want to grab the bubbles in their mouths. Since you will want to give your Labrador a fighting chance at success, you should blow your bubbles up to the sky so that he has enough time to get set.
In order to make the game more interesting, play it with several dogs. The increased competition will make the game more challenging, ensuring the dogs enjoy while you get a good laugh.
Dog Frisbee game
Also known as the disc dog game, this game involves a lot of running and jumping as your dog tries to catch the tossed disc before it hits the ground. The outdoor game is a great way to keep your Labrador in good physical shape and help balance his energy level. Before you start playing, be sure to introduce your dog to the flying disc as you hold it in your hand. The dog should be in a sitting position and must be calm.
Make sure your dog understands and responds to the “give” command. Throw the flying disc and ask your dog to go and fetch it while it is still in the air. Once the dog brings the flying disc to you, issue the “give” command and offer him a treat when he responds. Repeat this until the dog shows a loss of interest in getting the disc.
Fetching the right toy
This outdoor game combines both mental and physical activity. To play the game, start by teaching your dog the specific names of his toys. You can either do this by pointing at them and saying their names or using the name of the toy as the dog is holding and playing with it.
The next step would be to get the dog in a sit position and take the toy and place it in another room where your dog can see it. Then go back to your dog and ask him to fetch the toy. Once he has learned the game and can identify his toys, grab a number of the toys and head out with your Labrador to the yard or your favorite dog park.
As your dog is sitting calmly next to you, grab the toys one by one, and throw them. Ask your dog to fetch a specific toy, throwing back the toy if he brings the wrong one, and rewarding him if he is successful.
This is an intense game that involves a great deal of physical power and control on the part of the human. For your Labrador, the game helps to develop his mind and body while strengthening the human-dog bond.
Allow your dog to be calm and in a sit position as you hold a rope or tug toy that is suitable for the dog. To get started, ask the dog to grab one side of the rope as you hold the other side tightly. Once both you and the dog are holding opposite ends of the same rope at the same time, move the rope up and down, back and forth for several seconds to get him into the game. As the dog keeps pulling the rope towards himself, tighten your grip on the rope. Ask the dog to release the rope and give him a treat when he responds appropriately. Be sure to stop playing if you notice that your Lab takes either the game or winning too seriously.
A game of hide-and-seek
With the high levels of energy that your Labrador has, he will not get tired of playing hide and seek. Simply grab a few of your dog’s favorite toys and a handful of treats. Ask your dog to sit still as you go and hide. Once you settle, call out to your dog to come and find you. When he successfully finds you, praise him and offer the treats you had brought along as a reward. This simple game will stimulate not only the dog’s brains but also their natural sniffing abilities. It will also be an exciting way to have fun with your Labrador.
A DIY agility course
Labradors naturally have high energy that will amazingly compliment a DIY agility course. Create a simple agility course using ladders, brooms, sturdy boxes, blankets, and pillows. You can also choose to visit a nearby area with a professional agility course already in place. As you introduce your Lab to the game and seek to discover what he can do on an obstacle course, start with soft obstacles. You can then include jumps, twists, and turns once you notice your Labrador is familiar with the game rules, and his abilities have developed.
If your Labrador loves to dig, one of the best ways to help him burn off the excess energy would be to get him a dedicated digging box. This way, the dog will have fun without worrying about his person throwing a tantrum at him. In order to get him a dedicated place, you will need a wooden box and some sand. Depending on your preferences, you can replace the sand with soil. However, you should wet the sand before your Lab digs it if you live in a hot area.
In case your dog does not understand the game, you can introduce him to it by burying a few of his favorite toys or a bone in the sand. This will encourage him to dig it.
If you are a soccer fan, this is another fun outdoor game that you can play with your Labrador. However, since soccer is an advanced trick, you will have to teach the dog how to play the game before you can start. To do this, you will need an appropriately sized ball, a clicker, and the dog’s favorite treats.
Start by teaching your Lab the basics of clicker training. Next, place the soccer ball on the ground and wait for his reaction. If he shows an interest in the ball, click and give him a treat. Make sure you click just after he shows interest so he can connect the two events. Now, click and offer a treat when the dog touches the ball with his paw. The next step would be to get him to move the ball with his paw, giving him a treat when he does this successfully. When playing soccer, make sure that your Labrador does not bite or puncture the ball. This may involve taking away the ball if he does whatever is forbidden.
There is no doubt that Labradors were made for water. They love swimming and playing water games, especially during the hot summer months. Get some of his favorite toys and place them in such a way that they are floating in a plastic pool. Make sure your Labrador has a doggie life jacket for precaution before diving into the pool. Your furry friend is likely to have a great time tossing the toys and splashing the water. If you want to add fun to the game, consider having a hose for a strong stream of water.
Playing basketball with your Labrador can be fun. However, you will have to start by teaching the dog the rules of the game. Get an empty laundry basket or bin and place it in the middle of your yard. You will also need your dog’s favorite ball to help demonstrate the rules.
Hold the ball in your hand near the bin and say “drop” while letting it drop into the bin. Repeat this several times, making sure that your dog is paying attention. The next step is to ask your Lab to get the ball and head over to the bin. Once he is standing next to the bin, say “drop” and watch his response. Reward him with praises and treats each time he drops the ball into the bin.
This game makes for a great way to spend quality time as a family or as friends. The game requires about three or four people to spread out about 20 feet from one another in your backyard. Each person will take turns calling the dog’s name. Every time he responds and goes to the person who called, reward him with praises and treats. By getting him to run around the backyard, this game allows the dog to exercise for more happiness and strength.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more fun outdoor games that you can play with your Labrador. You can exercise your creativity and come up with a game that is fun and exciting for both of you. However, you must ensure that your Labrador is interested in the activity before you start playing the game. This will go a long way in helping him benefit from the exercise and teach him valuable lessons such as how to listen, remain calm, and concentration.