Category Archives: games to play with pets

Inside and Outside Games for Active Dogs

By Linda Cole

Channeling an active dog’s energy takes some creative thought. It can be challenging to find a good workout for a dog that seems to never run down. Not everyone has the time or desire to run an agility course or participate in other organized dog sports. The good news is there are indoor and outdoor games you can play with your active dog to help him wind down.

It’s not always possible to take your dog outside to run off energy, especially in winter when the cold and snow keeps everyone inside, except for quick duty calls. My dogs have been suffering from cabin fever because of the frigid temps. Active dogs still need exercise to get rid of excess energy, though. Inside games can give your dog a way to use up some energy while you stimulate his mind with some thinking games. You’ll need his favorite CANIDAE treats, and a space where you and your dog can move around without breaking things.

Who’s Got the Treat?

You need at least two people to play this game, and the more the merrier. Show your dog a treat, then start passing it around from one person to the next while he sits and watches. Show him the treat now and then as he follows it around. Don’t get too carried away or your dog will lose interest. After 7 or 8 passes, ask your dog to find the treat. When he discovers who has it, have him sit, lie down or perform any command he knows and give him the treat. If it’s just you and your dog, hide treats around the house for him to find.

Inside Red Light, Green Light

This game can be played with or without music. Move, dance or jump around, encouraging your dog to join in. At some point, freeze in position and give your dog the sit command. Immediately give a treat for complying, then start the game again. Each time you stop, ask him to sit until you start to move again. Instead of jumping around, you can have him follow you around the room or house, walking up and down steps, or anywhere inside or outside until you stop. Treat when he sits, then continue the game.

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Great Games for Kids and Dogs to Play Together

games for kids n dogs julie c OKBy Suzanne Alicie

Having a dog and being a responsible pet owner can be a very rewarding experience. When you have children, your dog can be more than a pet – it can be a playmate and a furry family member. Your dog needs exercise, fresh air and fun just like your kids do. With a well-trained dog and children who love and respect the animal, you can supervise a variety of fun games that everyone will enjoy.

Dog training may not be your personal specialty, but simple basic obedience training is all your dog will need to learn to play with your kids safely under your supervision. Linda Cole has shared 8 positive dog training tips that work to help you get started!

Not only are games for kids and dogs fun, but they can help improve the health and fitness of your progeny and your pet.  Exercise, agility, hand-eye coordination and a good, healthy sense of fun are great for your kids; playing with the family dog can prepare them for many types of sports and activities as they get older. Your dog may not need paw-eye coordination, but games can also improve their overall coordination as well as all the other high points mentioned above.

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How to Teach Your Dog to Play Red Light, Green Light

By Linda Cole

Training is an essential part of a dog’s education. Teaching basic commands helps you control your pet and keep him safe. Teaching your dog isn’t difficult if you are committed, remain patient and stay consistent. Plus, if you make it into a game, it’s more fun all the way around. Dogs and kids love to play games, and by teaching both of them how to play Red Light, Green Light, you’re showing them how to behave around each other.

One major lesson children can learn from playing the Red Light, Green Light game is how to react to a dog that may be chasing them or jumping up on them during play. It doesn’t take long for a dog to become so excited during play that he ends up nipping at the kids when they’re running around or jumping up on them, all the while barking his love of the game he’s playing. Unfortunately, that’s when it’s time to slow the play down before someone gets hurt. The dog isn’t being bad; he’s just gotten too hyper to continue playing. Another good lesson for kids to learn is what to do when they meet an unfamiliar dog. By playing this game, kids are able to see firsthand how stopping and standing still can make a difference.

Before starting a game of Red light, Green light, your dog should know how to sit on command. But if he still needs to work on that, you can always practice with him during the game. Put a nice supply of CANIDAE dog treats in your pocket and be ready to reward him for sitting during the “freeze frame” part of the game.

The rules of the game are simple and easy for both kids and dogs to learn, but most kids probably already know how to play. Everyone starts out walking or running around the yard. A judge, which should be you to start with, suddenly shouts out “red light.” Everyone stops and freezes in position and the dog should sit down. To help him learn what you want him to do, run or walk with him on leash. As soon as you call out red light, stop and have him sit. Reward him with a treat immediately when he complies. Don’t let him move until you yell “green light.” That’s the signal to release everyone and the game continues.

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How to Help Your Pet Deal with the Winter Blues

By Linda Cole

Some dogs enjoy outside winter activities, but not all pets or people want to be outdoors when those frigid winds are howling. Cabin fever can be a problem for our pets, but indoor activities can help to ward off those winter blues and help you both stay in shape.

Remote Control Cars

OK, so my first suggestion gives cats and dogs more exercise than it will you, unless you need to lose some weight in your fingers. However, playing with a small remote control car inside is a blast for most pets and helps get them up and moving. The noise of the car rolling along the floor gets their attention and holds it while they contemplate how to attack this strange new creature that dared to disturb their sleep. Look for a pet friendly car that doesn’t have small parts which can fall off or be pulled off by your pet. You will also want to find one that is strong enough to hold up to a dog or cat who finds the courage to attack it. I have to admit, this is a favorite activity at my house.

Indoor Obstacle Course

An interesting obstacle course can be made with whatever you have in your home. Set up a course where your dog has to jump, crawl and find his way around the course, utilizing furniture along with other fun obstacles like empty drawers, clothes baskets, paper sacks made into tunnels, boxes, broom handles and piles of pillows. Think outside the box to make a challenging and fun course. Cats can also learn to navigate an obstacle course. Use their favorite wiggly toy or a laser light for them to follow. Don’t be afraid to get down on all fours and have your pet follow you. The idea, after all, is for both of you to get up and move!

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How Smart is Your Dog?


By Linda Cole

We like to think our dogs are the smartest and cutest dogs around. Some breeds are more intelligent than other breeds, but they aren’t necessarily good with children or even other pets in the home. Responsible pet owners choose a dog based not on intelligence but how well they fit with their specific lifestyle and living quarters. Still, if you’ve ever wondered how smart your dog really is, reading on for a few ways to test his intelligence.

There are three types of intelligence in dogs: adoptive (problem solving), obedience (how well they learn commands) and instinctive intelligence (inherited or genetic behavior). IQ tests to determine a dog’s intelligence are used to measure their adoptive intelligence. All dogs can learn basic commands, although some may learn slower than others. A motivated dog is eager to learn, and a persistent dog is also a good sign of intelligence.

If your dog doesn’t perform well for all of the following tests, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not smart. He may need better motivation, or a rest. Make sure to have his favorite CANIDAE dog treats on hand.

The towel test. Have your dog sit in front of you and carefully place a towel over his head. Count how many seconds it takes for him to remove the towel. The faster he gets it off, the more points he gets. Score 3 points for less than 15 seconds, 2 points for 15-30 seconds and 1 point for 30 seconds or more.

Hidden treat test. How smart is your dog? Can he find a treat hidden under a can? Take three cans and place his favorite treat under one while he’s watching. Turn him around a few times and then let him find the treat. If he picks the right can the first time, he gets 3 points, two tries gets 2 points and 1 point for getting it on the third try.

Find your favorite spot test. Take your dog out of the room and rearrange the furniture. Score him by how long it takes for him to find his favorite spot. He gets 3 points if he goes right to his spot, 2 points if he has to look around for more than 30 seconds and 1 point if he just picks any spot.

Let’s go for a walk test. Pick a time you don’t usually go for a walk. With your dog watching, do what you usually do when getting ready to go for a walk. If he responds immediately when you pick up his leash and gets excited, give him 3 points, if you had to walk to the door before he gets the clue, give him 2 points, and if he doesn’t respond, 1 point.

Chair puzzle test. This one is designed to see how smart your dog is at problem solving by making him work to get a treat. Place a treat under a chair or table that sits low enough that he will have to use his paws to get the treat. If he gets the treat out in a minute or less, he gets 3 points, if he has to use his paw and his nose, only 2 points, and if you have to get it out for him, 1 point.

Go around a barrier. Using cardboard, make a barrier five feet wide and taller than your dog when he’s standing on two legs. Cut an opening in the middle of the cardboard going from the top to the bottom, but only large enough for your dog to see through. Toss a treat on the other side of the barrier. If your dog walks around the barrier in 30 seconds or less, 3 points, 30 seconds to a minute scores 2 points and if he tries to get through the hole in the middle or doesn’t respond, 1 point.

Scoring:

16 points or more – your dog is a genius
13 to 16 points – above average
9 to 12 points – average
5 to 8 points – below average

IQ tests only measure how smart your dog is at problem solving. The above tests are standard IQ tests you can make into a game while testing your dog. Don’t try doing all of them at the same time if he doesn’t seem interested in the game you want to play. To truly measure your dog’s intelligence, take his entire learning ability into consideration. Some dogs respond to commands better than others , and some have superior instinctive intelligence.

Regardless of how the score turns out, you know your dog best – and his loyalty and love can’t be measured by a few tests. How smart is your dog? With the right kind of motivation and patience, he just might surprise you.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Great Cat Debate: Indoor Versus Outdoor


By Julia Williams

Should cats be allowed full access to the outdoors to roam at will, or should they be kept indoors 24/7? This question has likely been debated for as long as people have kept cats as pets. Some people are adamant that cats should never go outside, while others insist that not allowing a cat the pleasures and instinctual experiences of the outdoors borders on cruelty. Bird lovers, and gardeners irked by neighborhood cats digging in their flowerbeds, are understandably in the “cats should stay inside” camp. Veterinarians usually recommend that cats be kept inside too, because nearly every day they see firsthand the bad things that can happen to outdoor cats.

Others, like me, believe there are pros and cons for each side of the indoor versus outdoor cat debate, with no clear-cut “winner.” I think the decision of whether to keep your cat indoors or allow it to go outside is an individual one that every responsible pet owner must make for themselves. It does help, however, to be as informed as possible on the subject, so you can feel confident in the choice you are making – because this choice affects you and your feline friend.

It’s a fact that indoor cats live longer, healthier lives. Outdoor cats face many dangers, including getting hit by cars, attacked by dogs, coyotes and even cat-hating humans. Outdoor cats can be exposed to infectious diseases like feline leukemia, distemper and rabies. They can be poisoned by pesticides, herbicides, antifreeze, motor oil, rat bait, ice-melt products and toxic plants. Turf fights with other outdoor cats are common, and bite wounds can become infected. This is called an abscess, and it requires antibiotics and sometimes surgery. Parasites like fleas and ticks are more problematic for outdoor cats as well.

Even something as seemingly safe as a five-acre field with no car traffic can pose a threat to an outdoor cat. My cat Tiger got a foxtail sticker up his nose, which required an emergency vet visit. These nasty barbed stickers mimic a porcupine quill, and will migrate in only one direction after attaching to fur or finding a way into an opening – pulling it out of his nose myself was definitely not an option.

As you can see, the list of bad things that can happen to outdoor cats is quite long. However, I have to dispute the “average lifespan” figures I’ve seen claiming indoor cats live about 12-14 years whereas outdoor cats live only 3-4 years. I realize these are averages, but in my opinion they aren’t accurate. I’ve had outdoor cats that lived to be 19, 16 and 14, and many of my friends have had outdoor cats who lived similarly long lives.

If you have a pet door which allows your cat to come and go as they please, they may bring things into your house that you won’t like, including mice, rats, gophers, lizards, snakes, bugs, possums and frogs. Dead or alive, these are not things you want in your home. There is nothing worse than getting up in the middle of the night and stepping on something squishy in your bare feet. Trust me.

With all the dangers and disadvantages of allowing a cat outdoors, one might wonder why everyone doesn’t keep their cat inside 24/7. One reason many give is that they don’t think an indoor cat can be happy. Until a few years ago, I believed that a cat deprived of the outdoors would lead a miserable existence. This was primarily because I’d always allowed my cats the freedom of the outdoors, and I saw how happy it made them to climb trees, hunt gophers and sun themselves in my garden.

However, my viewpoint changed somewhat when we moved to Montana. I wanted to keep my cats indoors for several months so they wouldn’t get lost or attempt an “incredible journey” back to their old home. Then winter came, and when my California kitties felt snow on their paws for the first time, they decided for themselves that indoor life wasn’t so bad. In the winter, I don’t think they’d go outside if you opened a can of their favorite Felidae cat food and tried to lure them out with it. In the summer they have the freedom to choose, and they still stay inside about 85% of the time.

This arrangement suits me. My carpet stays a lot cleaner, my vet bills are much lower, and I like knowing they are safe. I think it suits them too, for the most part. Were they happier being outdoor kitties in sunny California? Yes, in all honesty I think they were. But I play with them and pet them often, and I find other ways to enrich their indoor lives that hopefully makes up for not being able to play outdoors.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.