Outdoor Games for Kids to Play with Their Dog
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Few bonds are as strong as the love a child shares with a well-trained dog. A family dog can be a child’s friend, confidante, comforter, and protector. Both sides of the relationship love playing, and outdoor games for kids and dogs can give pet and child alike the fun and activity they crave.
Before we discuss games for kids and pets, it’s important to consider safety. Family dogs must be well-trained to prevent nipping and excited biting, and should have mastered such commands as sit, stay, come, heel, drop it, heel, and down. Have your child practice these commands with your dog, and teach kids to:
- Ask an adult for help if a dog will not drop a toy on command
- Identify when a dog has had enough play and wants her own space
- Treat all dogs with respect—including their own
- Understand that wrinkled noses and pulled back lips mean an animal feels scared or threatened, and may bite.
Outdoor Games for Kids and Pets to Play
Fetch is a classic dog game, but can get real boring real fast for dog and child alike. Mix things up a little with these simple outdoor games for kids and pets.
What’s more fun than blowing bubbles? Watching your dog react to them! Dogs find bubbles endlessly fascinating, chasing and snapping at the strange floating orbs. Be sure to use non-toxic bubble solution, as dogs may ingest some of the soap.
A flying disc travels further than a ball, giving the dog a chance to run more and even take the disc right out of the air. It can take dogs a little practice to get the hang of this—you might want to start by rolling the frisbee along the ground and rewarding the dog for chasing and returning it.
Some dogs love water, while others will do anything to avoid getting wet (especially at bath time). If your dog is a water-baby, turn on the sprinklers for a game of chase through the water, or let the child run in shallow water at the beach with the dog (this type of game is only possible if the dog can be trusted not to jump up on people).
Hunt the Toy
Tie one of the dog’s stuffed toys to a length of rope and have the child spin it in a circle. The movement stimulates the dog’s hunting instincts, and he’s almost sure to give chase. Kids can also hold the rope and run, bouncing the toy across the ground. Make sure the child knows that Rover needs to catch the toy sometimes, because a frustrated dog can become nippy.
Not all games for kids and pets have to be active. Older children might enjoy teaching their dog tricks. Start with something easy like a handshake. Have the dog sit, and then reach out and gently hold its paw while saying “shake.” Reward and praise. After few repetitions, the dog will start offering its paw as soon as you say shake.
You can find hundreds of trick training videos for dogs online. Start with simple tricks, and increase complexity as you, your dog, and your child gain confidence.