When it’s not safe to be outdoors in the heat, games are a way to keep your pets and children from being bored. And I don’t mean board games! These games are just active enough where you won’t break a sweat, but you will still be mentally engaged.
Hide & Seek – Ask your dog to sit, go to another part of the house to hide, call your dog’s name, reward with a treat when you are discovered. Or your child hides with a handful of treats and then calls the pet’s name. When the pet comes running to find the child it is presented with a yummy treat as a reward. This is a fun way to practice recall and for your pet to learn listen to your child’s voice.
Find it – Use toys instead of treats. Let your child hide your pup’s favorite toy; the one that he knows by name. After it is hidden, have your pet hunt for it by saying their name to get their attention, give the command “Find” and the name of the toy. This is a little advanced so let your pet watch you set up the game first a few times. Then see how he does solo.
Find the treat – You and your child can hide treats throughout the house on different surfaces and varying heights (keep it safe). In addition to treats, you can do this with your pet’s meal instead of placing it in a bowl. Mix a variety of textures (chewy, soft, lickable, or crunchy) and observe your dog finding them. Dogs love this stimulating activity and their preferences may surprise you.
Tricks – You and your child can teach your dog some fun tricks. Start with the easy ones: give me your paw, spin left, spin right before adding more advanced tricks like beg, play bow, leg weaves, go around, and so many more. Click here to see instructions for some easy tricks and keep it fun.
Hide Treats in a box – Have your child place a treat in a box and then ask your pet to find it. When your pet understands the game, add more boxes some with and some without treats. Your dog will love the chance to hunt. This is a calming, fun, activity for dogs of any age.
Children and pets can be a great combo. Games and activities can build confidence in our pets and create a strong partnership with children. How we guide their interactions will them help create fond memories that will last a lifetime for them and us.