Six pet games for children to play with your cat or dog in the summer holidays
So, the six-week holidays are finally here and your young ones will be spending a lot more time with their family pets.
And that means this is the ideal time to introduce some new pet games for your cat or dog – and also keep the kids occupied during the summer holidays.
Whilst there are a whole host of pet games to play with dogs and cats, and tonnes of tricks to learn, it’s probably best to focus on a few basics and try to master them first.
Pet games to play and what to do
Fetch: It’s a common misconception that cats can’t fetch. Just like dogs, they are more than willing to but only if the object is simple to carry in their mouth.
Choose a toy which can be thrown quite far in your garden, but is still visible so your cat or dog can follow its path and bring it back to you. Reinforce positive behaviour with a healthy treat and repeat until treats are no longer required.
Clean-up time: Life can be a whole lot easier when your cat or dog helps you to put things away. Teach them to do so by scattering their toys around your home and reward them with a treat when they find one and put it in a basket.
To start, teach them what ‘put it away’ looks like by picking up a toy yourself and dropping it in a basket.
Go after the light: Although cats will naturally enjoy chasing after light reflections more than dogs, this can still be enjoyed by both species.
Try using a mirror, an old CD or another reflective surface to bounce light onto a wall or floor and watch your pet chase away. Be warned, though, chasing after something which can’t be caught is frustrating so be sure to switch to a toy which can be caught.
Over, under & through: If you want to tire your dog or cat out, there’s nothing better than some physical skill exercises. Teaching them to go over, under and through an object is perfect for this.
Start by getting a chair or stool and teach your dog (or cat) how to crawl under it, stay under it and crawl all the way through. Then do the same with going over it and around it, using treats to reinforce positive behaviour.
Take advantage of the summer sun by doing this in your garden, but remember to keep plenty of water on hand to ensure your pet stays hydrated.
Dash up the stairs: If you have a set of pet-friendly stairs in your home, burn off some serious energy by making it a game to run up and down them. Start at the bottom and put your dog in a ‘stay’ position, before throwing a toy to the top landing. Then, use a call of ‘Ready, steady, go!’ to create a build up and make it more exciting.
Obstacle course: There’s nothing better than getting outside in the summer sun with your pet, and setting up an obstacle course is a great way to do this. It can be a lot of hard work, but you (and your cat or dog) will be left feeling very content if they can learn to master it.
Items to use could include a sturdy stool to balance on and run through. A long, thin box is ideal to crawl through, whilst a pole or piece of string connected to two chairs is just right for jumping over. Why not finish with a frisbee or ball to catch?
Whatever you opt to use, make it fun and enjoyable for you and your pet.