Miss Peach (a local cat lover) has hired two men to roam the countryside looking for dogs of many shapes and sizes. One such captured canine is Daisy, the love of Jake's life. You must control Jake as he moves from town to town following the dog-nappers in order to free Daisy and all of the other missing dogs.
Dog's Life is full of locations (from Clarksville to Boom City), people, dogs and smells that will help you stop Miss Peach before she finishes her dastardly deed (whatever that may be). In each location, there are several mini-games to complete. But the best part of Dog's Life is that you don't have to complete all of these games, really just the bare essentials in order to challenge other dogs. But if you are a completest bastard like I am, then you will find it hard to leave a location without finishing all of the activities available to you.
How well you fair against another dog in a mini-game depends on the relative strength of that dog. How can you tell how strong a dog is? By its Bone-Rating. When you approach a dog, a number appears above that dog -- if Jake has a higher number, then he will probably do better in a competition against this dog. To get a higher Bone-Rating, you need to complete mini-games and thus collect more bones.
You go into mini-games by finding all of the scents of a certain color ... what? That can't be right? Scents? Colors? Yes that's what I typed. To see the scents, you must enter into "Smellovision" mode. In this mode, you move from third-person to first-person and all of the colors get muted out. The only real color left comes in the form of clouds. Pass through these scent-clouds to get closer to a mini-game.
The mini-games break into three categories: Common Scent Collection, Top Dog Contests and Challenges. Common Scent Collection is what it sounds like, find all of the same colored scents in a certain amount of time.
Top Dog Contest are tug-o-wars, digging races, scent-marking challenges and more. It is after winning one of these challenges that you are able to control a dog for a limited amount of time and reach a bone that only he can get to.
The last category of challenges is basically a catch all. Here is where you will learn new tricks in Doggy Do, and other miscellaneous mini-games.
Along with the mini-games, you can also gain bones by helping people in each location. You can tell if you are supposed to get a bone from them if they have a gold-colored scent.
Along your way, you will also have to care for Jake's health. Hidden throughout the places are various foods -- If Jake gets hungry or weak, you will know by how hard it is to control him.