9 Fun Water Games for You and Your Dog - Simply For Dogs
Dog Water Games

9 Fun Water Games for You and Your Dog


When the summer is in full swing, Janice and Leroy aren’t actually the biggest fans of water. It’s too hot and humid for them, and for me. We’d much rather find another way to have some fun. But when the end of summer rolls around and the weather gets a little more bearable, water fun is always at the top of our to-do list. Our dog part has a fun splash pad that the dogs can run through, which is always a blast, but we also love to play games at a nearby lake. It’s great exercise for them and for me, and it’s a good way to cool off.

Does your dog live for the water? If you have a water retriever or any dog that is more at home in a pool or at the beach, you’re probably familiar with keeping them busy while they enjoy their favorite place. Dogs are often just happy to swim and splash around like a child, but you can always make it more fun. Here are nine water games that you can teach your dog to love, and a few tips on helping your dog love the water.

Dog Water Games Toys On Amazon

Click Below To Go To Amazon Rating Price
Outward Hound
KONG Wet Wubba
Floating Skipping Stones
ChuckIt! Duck Diver

1. Fetch

Playing fetch in the water has an additional layer of complexity because your dog is forced to navigate the water – where they can’t move or see as well as they can on land. Plus, there’s always the chance that the water will carry the ball or disc off in a strange direction. Simply stand in the shallow water and toss the fetch toy, it’s that simple. Even kids can play this game with the family dog. A ball that floats, like the Outward Hound Splash Bombz ball, is a good choice.

2. Diving Fetch

Another variation on the classic game involves having your dog dive for a toy and bring it back up. This is probably safer in a pool, unless you are positive that the pond you’re playing in is very shallow. Clear water where both you and your dog can see to the bottom is preferred, so that you can keep an eye on your friend while they grab the toy.

3. Keep Away

One upside to playing together in the water is that your dog is generally much slower in water than they are on land. This means that you could have a great game of keep away as you swim through the water, trailing a toy as you go. Watch your dog chase you trying to get it! Something with tails that you can hang on to, like a KONG Wet Wubba, is perfect for this game.

4. Dock Jumping

The point of dock jumping is to see how far your dog can leap and fly through the air before landing. Of course, your dog doesn’t know this, so that’s where you get a toy involved. Something like these floating skipping stones or these floating rings work very well. All you need to do is throw the toy a little farther each time, and your dog will eventually learn to leap after the toy to get it faster.

5. Towing

If you have an inner tube with handles, all you need to do is add a rope and you have an instant dog toy. Some dogs really love having a job, and pulling humans around in carts on land is one of those jobs. Adding in the fun of water can be a blast for everyone. You can train a dog to tow you or the kids around in an inner tube in the pool, where everyone will be safe should anything flip over.

6. Baby Pool Fun

Do you have a very young dog, a very small dog, or a dog that doesn’t know how to swim? It’s a great idea to introduce them to a baby pool, where the super shallow water poses no threat. They can still have tons of fun. Try a “bobbing for toys” game, where you toss out floating toys like the ChuckIt! Duck Diver and let your dog go to town trying to catch them all.

7. Surfing or Paddle boarding

If you live near a beach, you can always teach your dog to enjoy the same kind of water fun that you love! Dogs have been known to enjoy surfing or paddle boarding just as much as people. It’s a nice way for your dog to spend some time with you. There are some safety precautions you should take, such as giving your dog a life jacket, or ensuring that they have a safety cord just like yours around your ankle.

8. Canoeing

One thing that I love seeing on social media around the Internet is dogs hanging out in canoes. They look so peaceful just sitting there watching the world go by. For a dog, this is probably no more exciting than a car ride. But some dogs really do seem to like this activity, and are perfectly content to cruise around on the water all day with their human. Once again, safety precautions like a doggie life jacket could be necessary depending on the water.

9. Water Hoops

Is your dog extra athletic and acrobatic? There’s a land game where dogs learn to jump through Hula Hoops, with the hoop getting higher and higher after every jump. You can play something similar in the water, though it won’t involve a lot of jumping for the most part. Simply hold the hoop partially submerged and encourage your dog to swim through it. If your dog likes to dive, you can play a reverse version of the land game where you hold the hoop lower and lower, having your dog dive and swim through. This is a fun mental game that can tire out a hyperactive dog very easily. You may also combine this game with dock jumping, where you hold the hoop in the air while in the water, and your dog jumps off the dock, through the hoop, and into the water. There are many ways to incorporate hoops in water fun.

Helping Your Dog Love the Water

Not all dogs are great swimmers by nature. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn to love the water, you just have to spend a little more time with them if you want them to become your water-loving buddy. Here are a few things you can do to make them more comfortable in the water.

  • Start by making bath time lots of fun. Bath time is probably one of the only times in your dog’s life when they have to come into contact with the water. So if you can make this time very fun and memorable for a dog, they’ll start associating being submerged with all those good feelings. Be sure that the water temperature is very comfortable for your dog, and always give them lots of praise and even treats when in the bath. Now is the time to lavish your dog with all that silly baby talk and attention that they crave. This will convince a dog that being in the water is great!
  • Start with the baby pool. I mentioned a baby pool above because it’s a great way for young dogs and small dogs to enjoy the water safely. It also happens to be a fantastic stepping stone for dogs who aren’t sure about the water yet. They can enjoy splashing around in water no deeper than a puddle with their favorite toys while they cool off. Slowly, you can add more water to the kiddie pool to get your dog used to being submerged.
  • Be sure your dog knows how to get out of the water when they want to. If you’re in a pool, walk in and out of the water many times for them to see. You may need to put your dog on a leash and walk them into the pool, and then walk them back out of the pool, so they get the right idea. If your dog won’t follow the leash down the steps, consider luring them in with a treat.
  • For your very first water fun experience with your dog, choose a body of water with no currents that is clean and quiet. A swimming pool is really the best bet, but a very small pond that is clean would also work, especially if your dog has sensitive skin. The chemicals in a pool could be uncomfortable.
  • Consider getting your dog a life jacket at first. This will make you feel more comfortable about their safety, and it may also be more comforting for a dog if they don’t have to try so hard to keep their head up out of the water. Start by having your dog wear the life jacket for just a few minutes a day, adding minutes each day, for about a week before you introduce them to the water.
  • Get in the water with them. If you want your dog to love the water, you need to show them that it’s lots of fun. Dogs can be just as wary about new things as people, and just like people, they do better with new things if someone they trust is doing it with them. When you jump in the water and show them that there is nothing to fear, they’ll be more apt to want to join you.
  • Play a play date with a water-loving dog. If you know someone whose dog is in love with water, plan a play date at a pool or shallow lake. Get your dog together with this one and let them have some fun! Because the other dog is already used to the water, they may not need or want to stick around shallow water to play – that’s why I encourage you to choose a place where there won’t be much deep water. This keeps your inexperienced pup safe and allows them to play together without your dog getting overwhelmed at first.

Pro Canine Water Sports

If your dog really loves the water more than anything, you may also want to get involved with some professional water sport organizations for dogs. Dock jumping, which we mentioned above, as well as dog surfing, are both nationally recognized dog water sports. However, there’s another sport that dogs compete in called water rescue.

This sport involves having dogs rescue dummies that are simulating drowning, towing them back to shore, and doing it all in a very short time. It’s an intense sport that could also be a lifesaving skill one day, and it’s very cool to watch. If you’re interested in getting your dog involved with a water sport organization, check out the events in your local area or call around to any canine organizations.

Dog Water Games Toys On Amazon

Click Below To Go To Amazon Rating Price
Outward Hound
KONG Wet Wubba
Floating Skipping Stones
ChuckIt! Duck Diver

The Final Verdict

Personally, I couldn’t imagine not having some water fun with my dogs. I’ve always had dogs who liked the water in some way or another. Even if Janice and Leroy prefer to wait till the summer winds down, watching them splash and play in water always reminds me that there’s still a lot of puppy in those two.

It’s my belief that most dogs will come around to loving the water if given enough motivation and time. If they see you loving the water and having a great time, they’ll want to join you – it’s in their nature to want to have fun with their human. So if you love the water and you want your furry friend to love it too, simply give them some gentle encouragement and lots of praise.

Once you’ve got them in the water, there are tons of ways to have fun. These nine games are some of my favorite, and I like that they are generally easy on the human. None require any special knowledge – just a willingness to have a great time. Grab a few toys, a kiddie pool, or some hoops, and find a place to swim, and you’ll be ready for a great time with your dog.





About the Author Ash

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