Fun Activities For Pets
We all know our pets need exercise, but did you know we need to keep their brains busy too?
Click below for some fun activities you can make and do with your pet to keep them mentally stimulated. A tired pet is a happy pet, and a tired pet stays away from any unwanted activities too...
Ditch the bowl! Scatter feeding keeps your pet busy for longer and makes them work a bit more for their food. Simply scatter their food over a small area to start with, then progress to scattering over grass, or even hiding portions under things. Make sure you monitor them so no food gets left behind! If you have more than one pet, you might need to do this separately to make sure everyone gets the right amount of food.
Kongs are also great for dogs. Ensure you have the correct size for your dog, then stuff them with anything and everything! Canned meat, dry food, peanut butter, fruit, veg, yoghurt or cream cheese. You can even freeze them to make the challenge last longer. Or simply freeze a whole carrot for a very simple summer dog treat.
We recommend taking your pet's food for games out of their daily food allowance, or you may end up over-feeding.
Here are some fun games to play with your pet, which help with training too; it’s a win win!
The Name Game
1. Say your pet’s name in an excited tone
2. Reward them as soon as they look at you
3. Repeat this a few times
4. Gradually start to increase the distance between you and the number of distractions around. If they find it difficult, go back to a shorter distance or fewer distractions and build it up again. You can also try increasing the quality of the reward to something your pup can’t resist!
Hide and Seek
1. Hide from your dog in the same room at home, then call them
2. Reward them when they find you
3. Gradually increase the difficulty by hiding in another room, then upstairs/downstairs or out in the garden
4. If you can, progress to a safe area outside. Have someone else hold the dog on a lead, then release them when you call the dog. Give them lots of praise and rewards when they find you. If you aren’t comfortable letting your dog off lead, use a long line to practice this game
This is a great one if you have multiple people living in your household.
1. Give everyone the same quality of reward, then spread out over a secure area
2. One person calls the dog and rewards immediately they come to you
3. Another person calls and rewards
4. Take turns calling the dog and rewarding each time they come to you
Dot to dot
· Place 5 cones or other large objects about 2 metres apart but not in a straight line, in your garden or other safe area
· Have a handful of treats in one hand and your dog’s lead in the other
· Starting at the first cone, walk to the second cone, stop and reward your pup for walking next to you on a loose lead (this may take a few goes; if your dog is finding it difficult, try putting the cones closer together)
· Continue on to the next cone and reward your dog again
· Repeat for the rest of the cones
· Mix up the order you visit each cone so your dog doesn’t pull towards the next cone to get a treat
· Start in an outdoor space with your dog on a lead and a handful of treats
· Walk backwards and reward your dog for focussing on you
· Continue to walk backwards in random directions and reward for focussing on you
1, 2, 3
· With your dog on a lead and a handful of treats, start in a quiet area with no distractions, like your house or garden
· Walk forwards and count 1, 2, 3
· When you get to 3, immediately give your dog a treat
· Repeat a few times until your dog knows that they get a treat each time you say 3.
· Gradually increase the difficulty by going to places with more distractions and repeating the game. If your dog finds it difficult, go back to somewhere quieter and work up again
· Eventually you should be able to use this not only for loose lead walking, but also preventing unwanted behaviour. For example, if your dog barks at joggers and you see a jogger approaching, count 1, 2, 3 and reward to keep their focus on you and away from the jogger
Clicker or key word
· In a quiet area, use either a clicker, or a key word such as ‘yes’. Click or say the key word and immediately give the dog a treat
· Repeat this quite a few times until your dog looks at you each time you click
· Go somewhere with a few distractions, but not too many, and click & reward immediately your dog looks at something that would normally distract him eg a jogger, another dog or a car
· Repeat this many times
· Now wait a few seconds when a distraction comes along; your dog should look at you. When he looks at you, immediately click and reward
· Continue to click and reward your dog for looking at you, rather than the distraction
· Try setting up a simple obstacle course for your dog, or you could go to an agility class
· You can buy simple equipment, or just use things that are around already like going around a post, under a sign or over a log or a chair
· Use treats to reward your dog when they achieve an obstacle, or part-way towards an obstacle when they are starting out
· Teach your dog a new trick such as roll over, lie down, speak, beg or high 5
· Reward each tiny increment, until they achieve the trick consistently
· This is a positive way of spending time together and making their brain work, plus you get to show off their cool tricks!