Gordon Setters Need To Play Games!

If you’re looking for an exercise buddy a Gordon Setter just might be for you. As a sporting breed our guys need plenty of time to exercise and play. As a matter of course, Gordon Setters, especially in their younger years, will run circles around you most of the time, they’re like the Eveready Bunny, they just keep on going.

Photo by Bob Segal
Photo by Bob Segal

As Gordon Setter owners we all understand their need for fun, plenty of play time and room to move around, but do we also understand that stimulating their mind, giving them puzzles to work out, giving them a job to do, those are the things that can and will make living with your high energy dog easier? Sometimes our Gordon Setter continues running and jumping till we’re exhausted by their behavior, and they’re doing this at times because they’ve nothing else to do and they’re simply bored. Give that same dog a game to play, a puzzle to solve on a regular basis day after day, and he’ll start to settle in becoming more manageable, especially if you’ve added a dose of basic obedience training.

Photo by Bob Segal
Photo by Bob Segal

Offering up some expert advice on how to stimulate our dog’s mind is Guest Blogger – Jennifer Skiba  She comes here often to share her expertise with us and we really appreciate that!

Mental Enrichment Food Toys

by Jennifer Skiba

One of the most important things I wish owners did for their dogs is to use mental enrichment food toys.

You are going to feed your dog every day of their life. That is a simple fact. And many people just throw food in a bowl and go about their day.

But, there is a better way!

If you teach your dog to play with their food from a variety of food toys every day you get more bang for your buck.

What’s in it for you?

  • A tired dog!
  • Your dog is less likely to have destructive behaviors due to boredom
  • You don’t have to walk them for hours or throw the ball for hours to burn off energy – they are doing it themselves when they eat by using their minds more.
  • For dogs that eat quickly they slow down which is better for digestion.
  • It’s fun for kids in the family to watch the dog figure it out

What’s in it for your dog?

  • Your dog engages in a mentally fatiguing exercise every day (a tired dog is a good dog).
  • Your dog learns to entertain themselves.
  • Your dog gains confidence.
  • Your dog has fun!

Here is a list of my favorite toys.

Uses either hard or soft foods:

  • Kong
  • Toppl
  • Tux (treats not a full meal)
  • Forage feeders (slo bowls)
  • Nina Puzzles

Uses hard foods or treats:

  • Kibble Nibble
  • Magic Mushroom
  • Kong Wobbler
  • Pickle Pocket
  • Trekone
  • Tretball
  • Tretbone
  • Orbee ball/bone
  • Snoop

If you’re new to food toys and need some guidance on how to take full advantage of them click here to link to a video that will demonstrate exactly how to stuff a number of various toys to get the most out of them for your dog.

Variety is the spice of life! If they only have one toy they can figure it out pretty quickly so start getting your dog as many different toys as you can.  That way you can rotate them and they don’t get bored. You will be so happy you did!

Jennifer Skiba, Namastay Training LLC

“Teaching people to listen, one dog at a time.”

Kong – Stuffing Recipes click to go to this website for ideas on things to put in your Kong toys.

These toys can be found in pet stores as well as on Jennifer’s training website:  Namastay Training – simply click here to go to her site.

Click here for video link to Mental Enrichment Food Toys by Jennifer Skiba

Forage Feeder
Forage Feeder
Forage Feeder - Slo Bowl
Forage Feeder – Slo Bowl
Kibble Nibble
Kibble Nibble
Magic Mushroom
Magic Mushroom
Kong Wobbler
Kong Wobbler
Orbee Ball
Orbee Ball

19 thoughts on “Gordon Setters Need To Play Games!”

  1. From our Facebook reader:
    Kathleen Ferrari – This is exactly what our new trainer is saying We are even playing hide and go seek with treats hidden in an oven mitt in various places around the yard. She is a happier dog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, Dean does have a valid point, Gordon Setters do love birds, for those who’d rather not have birds running around their house when the Gordon needs something to do, one can use treats and toys. Birds are outside toys !


  2. From our Facebook reader:
    Linda May Williams – Hi Sally l tied to comment on the site but no comment and no reply arrow. I have always played games similar to hunting with my Gordon. Now since Scent Detection Dogs Association. We train with the scents. Its now a rewarding sport. In its own. Ribbons tittles. You tale the basic skill and just stimulate your GS. Great bad weather game. Warm and dry. Club members all look it up Those not hunting can learn this almost as quick as their dogs.


  3. Sally, I haven’t commented on the blog until now, even though I read each new one when published. I wanted you to know that the blog articles, like this one from Jennifer, have been so helpful to us in rescue. These short information bites are just the right size to pass along to adopters, or potential adopters. Sometimes they give a much clearer picture of the breed than we can explain to families. And, the best thing is that even if a family does not end up adopting a Gordon from us, they can use the information from the blog articles to help them be a better family for any breed of dog. Thanks for creating this information outlet.


    1. Super Kathy and I am so happy to hear that the blog is helping in our own way! Thank you ever so much for letting me know this, it means a great deal to know that the blog is making a difference. I’ll be sure to pass your comments along to Jennifer who supplies us with these great training “briefs”. I love them too!


  4. What a great article thanks for putting all those ideas out there. My Gordon loves to fish so I put feeder fish in the kiddie pool which keeps him busy a long time and he stays cool on a hot day. I also put treats in there so he can find them.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes they are live feeder guppies both my dogs chase them and have sushi. I started with feeder goldfish so my Gordon could get the hang of fishing then went to guppies to make it more of a challenge for both dogs. We use some of the feeder fish to feed our large Oscar in the fish tank. It’s cheap entertainment for all.

        Liked by 2 people

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