The Puppiness Project – Find New Games to Play

Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project about the year she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy.” The Puppiness Project is my attempt to learn the same from Honey, my Golden Retriever.

Honey’s always up for a game. Tug, fetch, zoomies, chase–it’s all good to her. But it never hurts to find new ways to play.

The neighbor dog Riley invented a very fun game. He’d toss an old shoe around until it got stuck in the crotch of a small tree in his back yard. Then he’d tug and tug against the tree.

Lately, Honey and I have enjoyed playing “puppy grizzly.” That’s the one where I curl up in a ball, protecting my head, while Honey jumps all over me and tries to get at my face.

I’m always trying to think of new games Honey and I can play together. After all, inventing games will keep us young and smart, right?

I was inspired by this video. Do you have any new games to suggest?



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  1. Come on! I can’t believe the dog really did that! I’m beginning to think poor Ms Pea quite a bore.

    I have absolutely no games to share. My dog is too snobby to play with me and would rather meet up with real dogs for a game. I am only useful as a chef and [substitute] cushion.

    • Maybe you’re just too urbane and sophisticated to attract Ms. Pea’s playful urges toward you. I was urged by a trainer I know to make an utter fool of myself so Honey found me irresistible–even around other dogs.

      For the most part, it’s worked great.

      Of course, I do find my neighbors crossing the street whenever they see me coming… :)

  2. That video cracked me up! I love a dog with a great sense of fun.

    I play hide and seek in the basement with Morgan, when I can slip down there without her seeing me first. There are four rooms down there, and I hide in all different spots. She loves finding me, and I love seeing that grin and tail wag of hers when she does!

    • So Morgan plays Search and Rescue dog just the way kids play policeman or fireman today, huh?

      Hide and Seek is great! And you don’t have to buy expensive toys.

  3. Hide and seek is one of the most fun games ever. I love playing it in the off-leash forest near our house. It’s also an awesome way to work on recalls. You can play it in the house as well – my dog has just learned all my hiding spots. I love the look on her face when she finds me. So much fun. Sometimes I will just hide under a blanket on the couch or floor and she has to dig me out, something like your grizzly game.

    One of the things that is so much fun is playing a version of chase/hide and seek. Our living room and kitchen are divided by a pretty big wall. I will start a game of chase by running in circle from the living room to the kitchen, Shiva will inevitably follow. Once I have a sort-of lead I will try to fool her in which direction I am going. She always tries to outsmart me and it’s hilarious.

    I look forward to reading any other suggestions people have!

    • I’m starting to see why you want a fenced backyard. I’m seeing all kinds of mayhem coming from your version of chase/hide & seek.

      BTW, you should definitely get a little wagon. I could so see Shiva pushing you like in the video.

    • I did that with Emma tonight by accident when we were at the park and she was really upset by it. I think she really thought she lost me =-/

      • Poor Emma. Maybe she’d do better if you didn’t hide so well. Maybe slip behind a tree but remain only partially hidden. That way she gets the thrill of coming to you but doesn’t feel too worried. Or call too her right away so she knows you’re around even if she can’t see you.

        Or maybe hide and seek isn’t her game. We’re all different!

  4. We’re always on the look-out for new games too. I haven’t tried hide and seek in the house (it’s quite small), but it’s an idea!!

    • That’s why nose work is so good. You don’t have to run around a lot and a small house has as many good hiding places as a large one.

  5. George used to like the “puppy grizzly” game when he was a puppy, but then grew out of it. His favourite game when playing with us is tug and catch the ball. When playing with other dogs, his favourite game is chase, because he knows he’s faster than most dogs and likes to tease them :)

    • I hope George isn’t in for a rude awakening as he gets older and finds dogs starting to run faster than he does. :(

  6. Loved the video:) It’s so great when dogs invent their own games with us. I’ve never played hide and seek in the house with my 2 because it’s not real big and it’s not at all open plan and I’ve always been concerned that Beryl might whack her tail in pursuit of me. Now that she doesn’t have a tail to whack we can play hide and seek!

    I like Kristine’s idea of hiding under a blanket too. It’s odd, I used to play a lot more with previous dogs, but I think the reason I don’t play so much now is that I spend too much time sitting in front of the computer when I’m home:( Which is something that can be easily rectified!

    Looking forward to reading more ideas for playing.

    • Balancing the computer time with play time can be tough. The screen is a real time suck.

      Here’s to always remembering what’s most important. Which means it’s time for me to go for “walkies.”

  7. Funny video!

  8. Buster loves to play, too! We’ve been playing a bit of hide-n-seek lately. When he’s not looking I hide behind something and when he “finds” me we make a big fuss. He loves it.

  9. I’m late to the party– was out of town, just catching up… Our Best Friend LOVES to chase balls. Total strangers come into the house and he will drop a ball at their feet and wag his tail. Kind of takes the bite out of his ferocious bark. :)