I wanted to share some fun games for older dogs in an effort to keep those furry seniors thinking!

My “Lulu” would only play with this ball and NO OTHER! We had an entire stock of them.

Just because your dog is older, doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy “fun” anymore.

In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Although it may take a little more effort on your part, you should really try to stimulate your older dog by including some fun in his daily life.

I’ve always tried to play at least one game with my dogs daily. I try and make their play time something that includes a little bit of mental challenge and includes a little physical exercise as well.

Including fun games for older dogs helps to keep your senior’s brain sharp. I like to think of it as being similar to a senior citizen doing a crossword puzzle. It’s a challenge and requires thinking.

This is no different for your old dog. He or she also needs that mental stimulation included into their daily regimen. Since crossword puzzles probably won’t work for your older dog 😮 – here’s some other ideas and things that I’ve done over the years with my old fur babies:

Fun Games For Older Dogs #1

Food can be a great motivator. Place your dog’s favorite treat (or 2) in a bag or a box filled with newspaper and let your dog find it. You might have to first let her sniff it a little and then let her sniff the bag a little so she knows it’s in there. Her nose isn’t as young as it used to be. 😮

It’s best to use a treat that really has a smell to it. If your dog has a difficult time smelling it, she might become bored and quit. Once she’s on to what you’re doing, get creative and let her smell the treat, smell the bag and then hide the bag and have her find it!

Fun Games For Older Dogs #2

Another fun game for older dogs is to simply toss some of their treats or kibble (sparingly folks – managing weight for senior dogs is critical) around and let them find it. Let him see you toss it, but toss it in different directions so that he has to go to different parts of the room to get it. Again, get creative and make a trail with kibbles that lead up to a bigger treat.

These games are by no means the only exercise your older dog should get. It’s critical that you walk your old timer daily. Even it’s short walks – it’s a MUST!

Do you have any games that you play with your older dog that you can share? I would love to hear what you’re doing!

Does your older dog need a boost? Often times if dogs are lacking nutritionally, they will perk right up when they receive their nutritional needs.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Violet

    i have a huge yellow lab named Max who is 9 years old but ages very fast because of his huge size. we recently got a new puppy and all he does is chew on Max or knock him off his feet and you can tell Max hates it but no matter how much we scold him or spank him, nothing gets the puppy off Max! how can we help this poor senior?

  • Lisa

    Our little 10 yr old toy poodle Piggy is on one month’s crate rest for a leaking neck disc. The vet said if he was to jump down once we are on day one again! He is used to a very active lifestyle with several walks a day and us playing Piggy in the middle with a ball at night (for which he thinks he is a circus dog). We are on day 16 and he is BORED to tears ..we’ve been hearing a lot of sighing. He tries to play puppy when he goes outside for pees and poos and sporadically jumps for which we have a small panic attack but are hopeful that he has not injured himself further. He is very good about staying get on our laps and so the surgeon said have a leash on him at all times so that he doesn’t suddenly jump down. We have been told to minimize stairs and jumping once he is better. Our house is all about stairs and so we have purchased a baby gate to help when he is better. We are seeking games he can play limiting jumping. He likes hide and go seek with his squeaky drumstick and we even make him leave the room while we hide it ..lol sometimes he peeks????. We like the suggestionof spelling his name and will try that. He thrives on attention at our potlucks so this will likely go over really well. We will let you know. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • janie

      Hi Lisa:

      Piggy sounds like a real cutie! I’m sorry he’s going thru this. Is he wearing a brace or anything and is he on any type of medication?

      I’m not real familiar with a leaking neck disc?


  • Morgan.O.S

    My dog is 14 year old and has a pack member at 8 she can’t keep up with him when it’s time to get active so any outside games for my girl
    would be thanked.

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Morgan:

      At 14 years old, I doubt that you’ll get your old girl to run around too much, but any kind of movement is good. At this age, they’re usually content just wandering and sniffing around a little, and going for a good walk.

      I find that my older dogs participate a little more easily if I’m involved. One idea that comes to mind is that all dogs of course love their treats. My recommendation would be to get a good meaty treat that your old girl never had before, but you’re sure she’ll love. You can make the treats yourself by purchasing cheap round steak. Cut it up into 1″ pieces and bake until lightly browned on the outside and lightly pink on the inside. Blot off excess grease and store them in the fridge. Get creative and make some different ones. Keep her interested.

      I already mention this game on my page, but it was geared more towards indoors. However, you can also play it outdoors as well. Anyway, keep the treat tucked under your fist and allow her to smell it. Then make her follow your around the yard sniffing the treat. Then toss the treat (not too far) and make her use her nose to find the treat. You might want to do this one-on-one with your old girl, so that the younger one doesn’t steal her treats.


  • tonya

    I have a 12 yr old boarder collie who loves to play and run. But, he gets a bit gimpy if he plays too much. Can anyone suggest fun activities that wont hurt his legs.

    Primarily his front wrist area gets sore.

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Tonya:
      Other than the games that I recommended above, I can’t really think of any. However, I wanted to suggest “wrist bands” for your border collie. My lab used to wear them all the time for her own weak wrist and they helped; plus they’re inexpensive!’

      Although this isn’t the same brand that I bought years ago (can’t remember the exact name), this wrap is very similar to it and it has a nice review over on Amazon. If you do order one though, make sure you get the right size since it comes in sm, med and large!

      Hope this helps.

  • Whitney

    Reminds me of my 15 year old husky that has since passed away. She had one type of plastic balls she loved and that was her only toy. Great article I read to get ideas for my bored 11 year old lab, walks, belly rubs,grooming and sleeping just don’t seem to do it anymore since he lost his best friend. I am definitely going to try to spread kibble around the house as an activity. He loves rawhide and chew items, but would do it all day if he could. I am also going to try to get him around other dogs as much as possible, whether it be getting another dog or just taking him with to relatives homes.

    • admin

      Hi Whitney:
      I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Boy, I know first hand how hard that is. I’m glad that you liked the article. Your girl sounded so much like my “Lulu” who passed away in 2010 at 16 (yellow lab). She would only play with one particular ball – no others! I hope the kibble thing works for you. Since your old boy likes to chew, I recommend something healthier than rawhide (I receive so many horror stories about rawhide) such as bully sticks or tripe sticks. They are both more expensive, but healthier for your dog.

      You’re a good doggy parent, I can tell. 😮

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