It’s a great idea to have games on board and interactive activities to ward off boredom on the boat. You will have fewer opportunities to walk/exercise your dog than on the mainland, regardless of the trips to the beach or island excursions.
You can play ‘kick it with your dog – kick it is when she sits at the top of the steps, you kick a ball down the stairs for her to retrieve and then repeat.
Find it is where you conceal a ball somewhere on the boat for your dog to find and return it. You can also play hide and seek if your yacht’s size is large enough.
Another important to a happy and stimulated dog is to challenge your pet cognitively and help keep your pet’s mind healthy. You can design these exercises yourself or stock up on puzzle games before leaving port. Interactive brain games are a fun way to socialize with your dog, while encouraging healthy intellectual exercise at the same time.
Increase his vocabulary by teaching him to retrieve each toy by name. Start with his two favorites, and teach him to fetch them by name one at a time, with no other toys to choose from.
Hold six pieces in one closed hand, and two in the other. Ask your dog to sit, hold your hands shoulder width apart, about arm’s length from your dog, and then open your palms and say “small.” Only let him chow down if he picks the smaller group—just close your palms and start over if he picks the bigger one.
Have your dog sit, and let him see you hide one piece of kibble under a cup. Tell him to “take it,” and when he noses or knocks over the cup let him eat the kibble it was hiding. Once he’s good at this he is ready for the shell game. Rub kibble on your fingers and along the inside of three mugs lined up in a row, so the smell of it is everywhere—this is a visual tracking game. Let him see you hide a piece of kibble under one of the mugs. Tell him to “take it” and give him the kibble when he makes the right choice. Repeat this many times, hiding kibble under each of the three mugs, one at a time.
Give them new toys and rotate out the old ones. Give him a toy to play with for a few days and when he grows bored of it, replace it with another one.
Here are some fun puzzle games that you can buy for your dog:
- The Company of Animals Dog Tornado Interactive Dog Game – In this game, your dog has to dislodge the bones, then slide the covers around to reveal his hidden goodies. It’s dishwasher safe and has anti-slip feet.
- Foobler is an automatic self-reloading puzzle feeder for dogs with 6 timer activated food pods. Its like having 6 puzzle toys in one that deliver a full day’s worth of regular kibble or treats for them to enjoy. Fill Foobler with up to 2 cups of kibble or treats and set it to release at 15, 30 ,60 or 90 minute intervals for up to 9 hours a day.
- Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Mazee Puzzle Dog Toy – Your dog has to nose the ball around to get the treats to fall out. The larger the treats, the harder the game.
- Star Spinner Dog Games Puzzle Toy – For this puzzle toy, your dog will have to figure out how to spin all three levels to get the cookies out. To make it easier, you can put treats on all levels and open it up a bit for your dog. The Hardest level would have cookies only on the bottom level and would start with the star completely closed.
- Buster Interactive Dog Feeder – This maze requires your dog to problem solve – he can see and even taste the treats, but he can’t get them out without nosing them around the track and off one of the ends. The amount and size of treats change the level of difficulty.
- Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Dog Toy – This mind game can be played with you (tugging) or by themselves. Your dog will have to tug, flip, spin, and roll it to make the treats come out. The bigger the treats the harder the challenge.
- Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Dog Puzzle Toy – A fun toy that makes your dog not only use his nose to smell out the treats, but to move the sliders so he can get to them! Each row has several holes, so you can change up where you put the treats.
- Aikiou Interactive Dog Bowl – This bowl slows down fast eaters while sharpening their minds. Food is hidden inside the many compartments and is accessed by your dog as he slides open doors or spins the central wheel.
- Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom Treat Dispenser Dog Toy – This durable mushroom spins, tips and rolls when pushed by the dog with a paw or nose trying to get goodies out. The unique shape makes it harder to get treats out of than a typical puzzle ball.
Please note: above list is courtesy of 10 Fun Mind Games for Your Dog by Kristina Lotz