10 games for your dog, you and your kids

Get your four-legged pal and your kids together for an hour of game playing. It's a great way to tire out energetic littlies and pooches to boot.

21 Mar 2016 By Zahra Gaitskell Comments

Fetch

Fun for kids and fun for the dog. Whether your dog likes fetching things, or your kids like throwing them, the beauty of this game is that it really doesn’t matter. What we do know is that getting your dog to chase a ball or a stick, and children to chase your dog with said stick, tires out both children and animal without much effort (we like!) on the part of the supervisor! If you’ve had young children or a hyper puppy, you’ll appreciate this simple game.

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Tug-o-war

Sometimes running around isn’t enough and you just have to get on the floor and have a good old tug of war with your pet. A pretty simple game, make yourself a length of rope with a knot at each end for grip, you take one end and the dog takes the other. Pull towards you and whoever gives up first wins! Dogs actually have remarkably strong teeth and breeds like Jack Russells have even been known to hold onto the rope even while mid air. Now that’s impressive! If you’re playing this game with smaller children or a large dog make sure that the relative strengths of each party are balanced and there’s nothing dangerous in the vicinity if one party suddenly lets go and falls.

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Catch

You may have played catch with your kids before, but what about your canine companion? Many dogs love playing catch and have pretty spectacular abilities, I’ve known dogs to leap metres into the air, do flips and even combat rolls when they land. Your children will have a fantastic time throwing the ball to the dog and seeing just what they can do! Even if your dog isn’t the most coordinated it will still enjoy attempting to catch a ball or Frisbee!

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Where’s froggy?

Here ‘froggy’ is the name of our dog’s favourite toy, but really whatever toy or item will do as long as your dog is aware of the name and knows to search for it. We started playing this game because our dog would bring us his froggy (now the worse for wear after being buried in the garden a few too many times) whenever he wanted to play fetch. We started asking him for it when we wanted to play and soon it became a game in itself. Where’s froggy? Wherever could he be? You mean someone deliberately hid him and now you need to search the house for a leg protruding from under the bed? What fun! The wagging tail and victory pounce when the prize is found will make it all worthwhile!

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Find the treat

This game is basically the same as where’s froggy, but instead of searching for a toy you will be sending your pup on the hunt for food. If your dog is trained, tell them to sit and stay and send your children to hide treats in various places in the backyard or dog-friendly (read – areas your dog can’t destroy while in the pursuit of the prize) parts of the house. When you’re ready to go, give them command to let your dog go nuts! It doesn’t take them long to pick up the scent and the kids will love barreling along behind to see what they find first.

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Agility training

Really energetic dogs and children will love being put through their paces in agility training. You can be as serious (or not) about this as you like, using a proper course like you would see in dog shows or simply make use of items around the house or in your backyard to create your own agility course. It may take a bit of coaxing but the aim is to get dog (and child alongside either holding the lead or offering encouragement) through the course in a quick and graceful manner. Include hurdles, dips, hills and whatever else you can create to make this a fun and active game for the whole family.

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Learning new tricks

If you have an intelligent dog, or just want some party tricks for the next time friends come over, teaching your dog tricks can be a fun and rewarding activity. Simple techniques like ‘sit’ and ‘shake’ are easy for your kids to help teach and for dogs to learn. Not only is it lots of fun, but it will help foster an understanding of obedience and basic commands in your children and pet at the same time!

Just add water

Water adds a whole new element to your fun. Take your dog to the beach and have some fun in the sand and surf, incorporate any of the other games to a new level by doing them at the beach or other water source. For example fetch is a very different and entertaining game when it involves swimming out to the ball! Dogs love sand, and the freedom at the beach means they can run around in as much space as they like; a rare and wonderful opportunity for your pet and family to enjoy.

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Hose play

Speaking of water, have you ever noticed how children love to run through sprinklers and dogs often drink from the hose? Well combine those things and turn your backyard into a water park! Dogs love chasing and eating the hose water, while running around and getting wet is a perfect activity for keeping cool on those hot summer days. Looking back to my childhood there are many fond memories of days spent doing just this in the backyard. Just make sure you are sun smart when you do it!

Find a friend

The great thing about both dogs and children is they make friends easily. Take a dog to the park and it won’t be long before they’re acquainted with every other canine in the area, take your child to the playground and you will notice much the same. Making a new doggy or human companion is an exciting and refreshing new experience for your family to enjoy.

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What awesome games do you love to play with your dog and kids?

 

21 Mar 2016 By Zahra Gaitskell Comments

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