Unable to get outside with your dog? Perhaps you’re housebound or maybe you’ve been told to self-isolate during this coronavirus epidemic. Either way, dogs can become destructive without enough exercise. Therefore, mental stimulation becomes even more important if you cannot get them out for a walk. Although cats tend to be less destructive than dogs, they still need mental stimulation every day for their normal development. So, what dog and cat games can you play?
Time For Games
Luna loves a game of musical bumps at her end of term class party, however you’re unlikely to have enough dogs at home to play musical bumps very well!
A good game to start with is “find it”. This is very simple. You start by showing your dog a treat. Then throw the treat just to the side of your dog and say “find it”. As your dog learns that “find it” means get the treat that’s been thrown, you can start to throw the treats further away from them. Eventually, you’ll be able to hide treats around the room or even in another room and get your dog to search for them.
A similar game is based on the trick with three cups. It tends to be a favourite with magicians but can be transformed into a dog or cat game. Line up your 3 cups on the floor (make sure not to use breakable ones!) with your pet watching. Place a treat under one of the cups. Hopefully your pet will go to the cup with the treat under and try to retrieve it. Once your pet is able to consistently pick the correct cup you can start swapping the cups around after putting the treat under one of them.
Less fun but also good for bonding is doing some simple obedience exercises. Make sure your dog can consistently sit, lay down, stay, and come. You can always move on to teaching your dog more fun tricks such as play dead and shake hands. There are plenty of how to videos available on Youtube. Who knows, your dog could be the next dog on Britain’s Got Talent!
Cats tend to prefer sleeping to playing unless they’re kittens. However, when they do play they tend to prefer games which stimulate their natural instincts such as stalking and pouncing. You can find some cat specific games here.
Another favourite game of Luna’s is hide and seek. We usually play it in the woods hiding behind trees, but it can easily be played around the house. Simply tell your dog to wait facing the opposite direction (or get another person to hold them) while you go and hide. Then just call your dog’s name and give them lots of praise, maybe even a treat if they’re lucky, when they find you! Generally not so good with cats but this one is giving it a go! 1…2…3…
Ready or not…here I come!
Need some more dog game ideas? I love this book and both Luna & I enjoy doing the puzzles. It has various different difficulties to cater for all dogs and allows them to progress to harder games once they learn the basics.
Perhaps you’re feeling creative while you’re stuck at home. Why not build your pet a new home out of cardboard? This book shows you how to make 20 different cardboard homes. Although this is aimed at cats, there is no reason why your small dog couldn’t have a new sleeping area in the shape of a plane or a submarine! And why stop at small dogs? Why not enlarge the designs for your larger dogs, or shrink them down for your small pets such as hamsters and guinea pigs?
I hope you’ve found at least one new game to play with your pet while you’re stuck indoors. Hopefully this will help to tire them out and reduce the chance of destructive behaviour. Remember, playing with your pet is also a great way to boost your mood as well as strengthening your bond with them.