Looking for new ways to have fun with your pup? Here’s how to teach your dog to play basketball at home

Jack Russell Terrier playing basketball
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When considering the games and activities you can try with your dog at home, it’s perhaps fair to say that basketball might not spring to mind first. Tug of war or fetch, sure, but have you ever thought about basketball?

While your pup might not be the next Michel Jordan or LeBron James, you can certainly have a lot of fun shooting some hoops with them, right from the comfort of your own home, and you’ll just need some of the best dog treats. Certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman, of Mission Pawsitive, has explained how in a recent Instagram post. 

“To do this trick,” Goodman begins, “Your dog needs to be good at bringing toys directly to you and dropping them on cue first. And it helps a lot if your dog already knows how to put their toys away.”

She explains that she begins by getting the dog to drop their toy into a big container, so they can’t miss, and repeating this but gradually raising it off the ground to resemble a hoop. Once your pup is good at dropping the toy into an elevated container, you can then move on to using a hoop. 

Goodman rewarded her dog for every attempt she made, even if she missed, to let her know she was doing well. “I gave her a bigger reward when she made it, so she knew when she got it right,” she continues, but says that if she was struggling she would have held the container under the hoop to help her. 

“If your dog already knows how to put their toys away, that really helps, or you can teach your dog how to put their toys away and then work up to a hoop,” Goodman adds in her caption – so, if you’ve been meaning to teach this skill, there’s no time like the present to get going!

Basketball can be great fun for dogs, but it’s not the only sport they might enjoy. If your pup often seems like they’re full of beans, here are five activities for a hyperactive dog that you may want to try!

Meanwhile, here are 32 ways to build more fun into your dog’s routine, from fun activities and exercises to do with your pup to things that’ll help keep them amused on their own. 

Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices  
$9.99 at Chewy

Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices 
$9.99 at Chewy
Made with real chicken and apples, these deliciously wholesome meaty morsels are made without artificial flavors or colors and are great as a snack or training treat. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.