Category Archives: games to play with pets

Can Your Pooch Help You Lose Your Paunch?


By Julia Williams

At the beginning of every new year, millions of people make resolutions pertaining to weight loss, exercise and fitness. They hit the gym with a gung-ho attitude, certain that this time they have the drive and determination to achieve their fitness goals. All too often, January’s resolve melts before the winter snow does, and they end up sitting on the couch watching The Biggest Loser contestants work out, instead of doing it themselves.

Sound familiar? Well, maybe you just need some new motivation – and who better to help you find your fitness mojo than your best canine buddy? By recruiting your dog as your new workout partner, you’ll not only rekindle your drive to get in shape, but you’ll help your four-legged companion get some much needed exercise too!

With the hectic, overscheduled lifestyle so many of us lead nowadays, it makes perfect sense to incorporate the family dog into your workout regime. Beyond taking them for their daily walk, there are countless things you can do to get fit with Fido. I’ve come up with several to get you started, but don’t be afraid to brainstorm to find other creative ways to exercise with your dog.

Power Walk Plus

Walking your dog is good exercise, but taking it up a notch or two will increase your heart rate and help you both burn more calories. Throughout your walk, mix in some higher-intensity intervals of power walking, jogging, running, leg kicks or high stepping.

Play Dog Tag

The timeless children’s game of tag is just as much fun with a dog, if not more. Take your dog out to your back yard or the local dog park, and let them try to chase you down as you run to get away from them. Dogs catch on to this simple game right away, and they have a blast trying to “tag” you.

Fetch Race

Every dog loves to fetch, and this variation on that classic canine game lets you both get some exercise. Just take your dog’s favorite toy and toss it across the yard or dog park as you normally would when playing fetch, and then race him to see who can get to it first. If your dog is a slow runner and you can easily beat them to the toy, you might want to let them “win” at least part of the time, so that the game remains fun.

Obstacle Course

If you have a large backyard, you can set up a fitness obstacle course that both you and your dog can do together. Use your imagination to create a course that involves jumping over things like benches, low stools, small boxes and other objects, darting around objects like trees and picnic tables, and crawling through tunnels made out of large cardboard boxes.

The popular sport of dog agility is another way both you and your pet can get some exercise. Dog agility involves directing your pooch through an obstacle course in a timed race. As they run up ramps, snake through tunnels and race across balance beams, you’ll need to be guiding them every step of the way, which means that you both get lots of exercise in the process.

“My Best Friends Workout” DVD

This instructional DVD and manual are designed to help dog owners increase the intensity of their daily walk with their canine companion. A certified fitness instructor demonstrates nine unique exercises which incorporate strength training, cardiovascular exercise, anaerobic challenges and core exercises, essentially turning a 20-minute walk into a total body workout. Modifications are shown for nine different dog types, including Lap Dog, Marathoner and Old Timer, which makes it easy to provide the correct amount of activity for your particular dog. It sells for $24.95 and can be purchased online here.

“BOW WOW Bootcamp” Audio Program

This veterinarian-recommended exercise program was created by a top fitness trainer to provide a great workout that’s lots of fun for both dogs and owners. With 2 levels to choose from, each six-week BOW WOW Bootcamp audio CD includes a special mini-flip booklet demonstrating the exercises, as well as nutritional information and dietary guidelines (for the human, not the dog). You can order the CD here for $29.95 plus shipping, or download the MP3 file for $19.95.

Just as you should visit your own doctor before starting any fitness program, so too should your dog get a vet checkup, especially if they are overweight or not used to regular exercise. You can discuss any health issues that might affect your dog’s ability to exercise with you, and your vet can help you determine which activities are appropriate for their current fitness level.

Now that you have some good ideas for how to get fit with your dog, isn’t it time to shut down the computer, call your four-legged friend and get moving?

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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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.

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Indoor Games to Play with Pets on a Cold Winter Day


By Julia Williams

If you live in a frigid winter climate like I do now, you’re probably getting pretty tired of the cold and the snow. I know I am. I started dreaming of warm spring days in early November, and I think my cats did too. We’re used to mild California winters, where spending time outdoors in December is a pleasant experience. Not so these Montana winters!

So how do we keep our pets entertained when being outdoors seems more foolhardy than fun? Play games indoors! There are lots of indoor games you can play with your dog or cat that can help them burn off some energy and keep them stimulated. In addition to alleviating boredom, playing games with your pet can deepen your bond.

Indoor Games to Play With Dogs

Hide And Seek: Yes, the classic game that all children love is a blast for dogs too. Sneak away from your dog and go find a good hiding spot in your home. Once hidden, call your dog and stay there until they “discover” you (and perhaps get a tasty dog treat as their reward).

Find The Treat: This game entails hiding a biscuit or other treat somewhere in your home, and then asking your dog to find it. You’ll need to show your dog how this game works the first few times, but soon they’ll be sniffing out the treat on their own.

Dog Sports: Soccer balls and basketballs are ideal for some sporty fun indoors with your four-legged friend. Roll the ball, and encourage your dog to push it along with their nose or paws. Most dogs quickly comprehend that the object of the game is to roll the ball to you.

Indoor Agility: If you have a big basement or a large playroom, you can set up a mini agility course for your dog. Who knows, you might both enjoy this so much that, come spring, you decide to take up this wonderful outdoor dog sport!

Bubble Chase: You’ll need a lot of space for this great energy-burning game as well. However, leaping and pouncing at bacon-scented bubbles is something that every dog enjoys.

Teach A Trick: Cold winter days are the perfect time to teach your dog a new trick or two – indoors where it’s cozy and warm, of course. Although not exactly a “game,” teaching your dog tricks is a lot of fun and very rewarding.

Indoor Games to Play With Cats

Kitty Whack-a-Mouse: A youtube video inspired me to make one of these fun games for my cats. It’s basically a feline version of the classic Whack-a-Mole found at every carnival. You remember that game, right? To make one for your cats, take an extra large box and cut some holes in the bottom panel, big enough for you to fit your hand through. Put the box on its side and call your cat over to it. Stick a furry mouse cat toy through one of the holes, wiggling it to entice them to grab it. (Wear a thick glove or an oven mitt to protect your hand). Try to pull it back before your cat can get the toy, and immediately stick it out another hole. This game will entertain you, your cat and anyone watching.

Interactive Toys: you can buy a wide variety of cat toys designed for you and your kitty to play together. At the dollar store, I found a furry mouse on a string that was attached to a long wand. I bought a dozen because I was sure that the game of “chase the mouse” would go over well at my house, and it did. Another feline favorite is the “fishing pole” with feathers or a soft toy on the end.

Stairway Ball Toss: I play this energy-burning game with my friend’s kitten who loves to chase things. I throw a small cat toy ball up the stairs and she runs up after it. When she bats at the ball it rolls down the stairs, and she chases it all the way to the bottom.

With a little imagination, there’s virtually no end to the indoor games you can invent to play with your pets. I hope these suggestions inspire you, and help you to entertain your pets during the dead of winter.

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.