By: | | Dogs

The kids are home on summer break, and now you have to keep them and the dogs happy! Why not kill two birds with one stone and think about some simple games that your kids can play with the dogs this summer?

These games will be well liked by most dogs and encourage gentle and appropriate interactions between kids and dogs, but you still should supervise your kids and dogs during all interactions, including these games. Learn how to recognize your dog’s body language, and stop the game immediately if your dog seems at all stressed.

1. Hide the Treat

It’s as simple as it sounds, folks! Arm your kids with some low calorie treats and they’ll be busy for hours! Your kid hides a treat somewhere around the room or house and the dog searches for it with some encouragement from your kid! You can get creative and make homemade puzzles and hide the treat within the puzzle. One common set up is through the use of plastic cups. Hide the treat under one of the cups and the dog has to pick the right cup. You can also do this with little boxes, too. If you don’t mind spending a few bucks, these puzzles on Amazon will provide hours of hiding the treat fun without all the running around. The puzzles aren’t just for fun either, they boost your dog’s mental power and help to keep them sharp as a tack!

2. Hansel and Gretel Trails

Instead of serving your dog’s kibble in their bowl for breakfast and dinner, give it to your kid and have them create a trail of kibble through the house. Keep your dog in another room while your kid set this up. Have your kid make it extra fun by weaving the trail under and around furniture and other obstacles. Then release your dog and enjoy watching them follow the trail around the house.

3. Hide and Seek

This game is a great opportunity to work on “stay” and “come” with your dog and to teach your dog family members’ names. You stay with your dog while your kid hides with some treats. Once your kid is ready, tell your dog, “Find [your kid’s name]!” and have your kid call the dog. When your dog finds your kid, both of you give your dog lots of treats and praise. Once your dog gets pretty good at finding your kid when called, you can make the game more challenging by having your kid hide quietly and letting your dog sniff them out.

4. Obstacle Course

Let your kid exercise their creativity by building an obstacle course for your dog using items from around the house and yard. Then, use treats to encourage your dog to go over, under, and through the obstacles. Here are a few ideas for simple obstacles your kids can make:

  • Set a broomstick or a piece of pipe across two chairs or buckets to make a hurdle.
  • Make arches from pool noodles for the dog to go through–stick two ballpoint pens in the ground and then place the ends of the pool noodle over them so that the pens slide into the holes on the noodles.
  • Use two pieces of string or rope to hang a hula-hoop from a tree for the dog to jump through.
  • Make a tunnel out of a large cardboard box.

5. Bubbles

Give your kid a bottle of bubbles to blow, and let your dog chase and pop them. Dogs love to chase and snap at bubbles because it engages their prey instinct, mimicking preying on small animals like birds or insects. To make catching bubbles even more fun and enticing for your dog, you can buy peanut butter or bacon flavored bubbles made especially for dogs.

6. Doggy Bowling

This is a fun game that also reinforces coming when called for your dog. Raid the recycling bin for some empty plastic bottles and set them up in a hallway. You and your kid each stand at opposite ends of the hallway and take turns calling your dog to you, with your dog knocking bottles down as they come. Reward your dog with treats and praise when they get to you. Keep score and see who can get your dog to knock down the most bottles.

7. Water Play

Put a kid in a bathing suit and give them a water hose, and they’ll be happy for hours! Dogs love water, too especially during the summer heat. Let your kid spray water near, but not directly at the dog and let your dog chase the water stream. They’ll both be happy and occupied and will probably sleep like logs at night, too.

These free and easy, go-to games will keep your kid and dog happy for hours! Those lazy hazy days of summer don’t look so boring after all now, do they?

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