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The Pup Games are Here! Creating Your Own Dog Games at Home | Pupford

October 12th, 2023

Filed under Pet Parenting

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Cue the opening ceremonies, light the torches… it’s that time of year again! What better way to celebrate the biggest tournament of the summer than hosting your very own at home.

The only thing that could make this more fun is including your dog, too! Let’s be real, what isn’t made better by having our dogs around?

So let’s have some fun and plan our very own Pup Games!

Here are some events your dog will be sure to bring home the gold in.


dog chasing frisbee| Pupford

The Pup Games are a great time to try some fun new activities with your dog. Plus, it will help them work on important skills like nose work and problem-solving. Here are some ideas to add to your tournament:


How many treats can your dog retrieve in a certain amount of time? How long will it take your pup to find all the hidden treats? Whatever the goal, treat retrieval games are an exciting way to engage your dog and get them thinking.

Plus, there’s a built-in reward for them!

Some of our favorite treat retrieval games:

  • Snuffle mat game - Sprinkle 25 low calorie treats into your snuffle mat and place on the floor. Time your dog to see how long it takes him/her to retrieve all the treats from the mat.
  • Bobbing for biscuits - Fill a bowl with water and add a handful of larger treats into the water. Set a timer for 30 seconds and see how many they can grab! The goal here is to have your dog take the treats out of the water and place them in your hand, not gobble them all up -- that’s where the skill comes in! You can also use tennis balls or other toys.
  • Interactive treat games - If you’re looking for a brain game that’s a little less DIY, you can use puzzle toys and household items for a similar game. For example, you can put treats in a muffin tin and top with tennis balls or toys for your dog to hunt around. Or you can put treats in between stacks of plastic storage containers that your dog will have to figure out how to dismantle the stack and get the treats.

  • Tie a string or ribbon around a treat and slide it under a platform or piece of furniture and see how long it takes for them to figure out how to tug on the ribbon to retrieve the treat.

While these games are super fun for your dog, it’s important that you are involved too -- supervise closely to make sure they don’t eat anything other than the treats and make sure they are not consuming too many treats in one game!


What would the Pup Games be without races? Put your dog’s listening skills to the test with recall races.

Place your dog a distance away and time their return to you once called. You can have your dog play this alone or against other dogs, if you think their recall is strong enough for distractions!

This is also a great opportunity to work on recall if your dog isn’t at 100%. If that’s the case, use a long lead to encourage your dog’s success and keep them safe.

Related Reading: Long Leash Dog Training for Recall


working on training dog with high value treats

If you have more than one dog participating, skills-based competitions can be a super fun way to work on your dog’s skills in a setting with distractions. If your dog is competing solo, it’s still fun, and it’s a great way to measure improvement.

Some ideas for skill-based competitions:

  • Push-ups - Go back and forth between having your dog in a sit and a down to make them do “doggy push-ups,” and see how many they can do in a certain amount of time. This is a great test of how long they can keep their focus on you, even during a repetitive task.
  • Down stays - How long can your dog stay in a down position? Even with distractions all around them?
  • Hot and cold - Hide a toy or treat and use your tone of voice to let your dog know if they are getting hotter or colder. This is a tricky game but can really be beneficial for strengthening communication between you and your dog.

You can do a similar competition with any skill your dog is working on right now!

Related Reading: Teach Your Dog to Run Next to a Bike


Athletic skill is a staple of the Games. Does your dog have what it takes?

Creating an agility or obstacle course is a fantastic way to exercise an active dog, have some fun, and teach them how to navigate obstacles.

You can buy agility course items for your dog or get creative and make your own using furniture and household items.

If you’re interested in learning more about agility courses, check out our Intro to Dog Sports interview with Trevor Smith CPDT-KA.


dog with gold medal| Pupford

Whether you want to learn a skill mentioned in these Pup games, or you just want to expand your dog’s skillset, now is a great time to do it!

You can teach your dog new tricks at ANY age, don’t let the old sayings fool you.

We have a course that can help you teach your dog 20 fun tricks to improve your communication with your dog, and have some fun. That in itself deserves a gold medal!

The Trick Training Course in the Pupford Academy gives you GIFs of each trick and step-by-step instructions to help your dog master each behavior. Get started today!

And be sure to share your Pup Games activities and show off the new skills they’ve learned on Instagram, tagging @pupford!


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