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    Dog & Cat Games Perfect For Playtime With Your Kids 

    Incorporating pets into your children’s playtime will give your four-legged pals their daily dose of exercise while bonding as a family. Try out these kid-friendly dog and cat games to take playtime to a whole new level. 

    Dog Games

    Including Fido in playtime is a great way to teach your children basic commands and a lesson on playing with dogs safely. Before trying out these games, make sure your children are familiar with these basic rules of doggie playtime.

    •      An adult should always be present for supervision, especially when a dog is learning a new game.
    •      A wagging tail means the dog is relaxed and enjoying the activity.
    •      Mouthfuls of teeth or a wrinkled nose are both signs a dog feels threatened. If this happens, halt the game immediately and give your pooch some space.
    •      Reward dogs when they play well. Much like your kids, your pooch loves being told they are doing well. Don’t hesitate to reward your buddy with praise and treats for playing nice! 

    Come & Stay

    This game is a twist on the childhood classic Red Light, Green Light, making this one a no-brainer when incorporating your pooch into playtime with the kids.

    1.     Organize the children and dog in a horizontal line at one end of the yard and position a moderator at the opposite end.
    2.     The moderator will turn away from the group and say, “come.” At this point the line should be moving toward the moderator.
    3.     At any point the moderator can turn around and say, “stay!” If a two or four-legged player doesn’t “stay” on command, direct them back to the starting line.
    4.     The moderator will continue to instruct the group to come and stay as they please.
    5.     The first player to make it to the moderator wins!

    This game is a great introduction to double-duty playtime. Not only do you get to incorporate your dog into your children’s exercise, you also get to practice command training with your pooch in a more relaxed way. Don’t forget to reward Fido for a game well played. He’ll be begging for affirmation after listening to all those commands.

    Hide & Seek

    Games that your children are very familiar with always make it easier to incorporate your dogs.

    1.     Have the dog sit and stay in one room while the kids search for their ideal hiding spot in another room.
    2.     Once the child is hidden, call the dog.
    3.     When the dog finds the child, have the child reward him enthusiastically, offering praise or treats as rewards.

    This game is great for your dog’s brain and senses! Not to mention, your kids will get a kick out of being found by their favorite four-legged pal. Game tip: Keep your children’s hiding spots simple when first introducing your dog to hide and seek. This keeps your pal from getting confused and giving up. Feel free to up the difficulty as your pooch masters the game.

    Round Robin

    This game is another great way to teach your dog basic commands while incorporating them into playtime!

    1.     Position children in a circle (at least 10-15 feet apart) with a handful of treats.
    2.     Instruct the dog to sit in the middle.
    3.     Have the children take turns calling the dog to them using the command, “come.”
    4.     Every time the dog comes, reward with treats and praise.

    This game will train your dog to listen to your children and reinforce good behavior. When starting out, try playing round robin indoors where there are fewer distractions. Take the game out of doors as your pooch masters the game.

    Cat Games

    Much like dogs, cats need playtime. Not only does it provide much needed exercise, but it also boosts mental stimulation while helping establish trust. Here are a few insights to help get your children and your cat off on the right foot during playtime:

    •      Cats would much rather play with a group than alone, which is why you may never see them touch their unattended toys on the floor.
    •      A daily minimum of 20 minutes playing is optimal for your feline friend’s health.
    •      Cats are most active at dawn and dusk, making before and after school the best times to romp around.
    •      Hissing is the telltale sign a cat is not enjoying an activity. If this happens during playtime, stop the game immediately and give your cat some space.

    Fetch

    Contrary to popular belief, most cats will play fetch. Don’t be surprised if they don’t fetch immediately, most feline friends have never played this game before. Here are a few tips for teaching your children to play fetch with your cat:

    •      Make sure the item thrown is small enough to fit in the cat’s mouth and light enough to carry across the room. 
    •      If the cat doesn’t immediately bring the toy back when called, instruct the child to pick up the toy and throw it again.
    •      When the cat does return with the toy, reinforce the behavior by rewarding them with praise or treats.
    •      Have your child hold the toy in their hand so it is visible to the cat. This allows your feline friend to focus on the toy and follow it as it flies through the air with ease.

    As with many things, practice makes perfect. Be sure and explain to your children that this is an opportunity for them to teach their kitty a new game and it could take some extra time and patience. 

    Crumpled Paper

    This kid and cat game involves everyday household items, making it an easy one to incorporate into your feline’s daily routine.

    •      Instruct the child to crumple a scrap piece of paper in front of their cat. The crinkle sound will draw in the fur ball immediately.
    •      Once the paper is crumpled, have the child bat the crumpled piece of paper around the floor with their hands for the cat to chase, catch and wrestle.
    •      Make sure the kitty doesn’t chew or swallow the paper, the object of this game is to keep them using their front paws.
    •      When playtime is over, have the child throw the paper in a trashcan to signal the end of the game.

    This game is a great way to get your kids and your cat up and moving. Challenge your little one to take this game from room to room to keep the cat interested and moving.

    Game tip: Crumple up a couple sheets of paper to add volume to the crinkled ball. This helps minimize the choking hazard.

    Chase the Light

    Cats are very inquisitive creatures, which plays to their advantage during this game of chase.

    1.     Give a child a flashlight and instruct them to turn it on.
    2.     Direct them to the cat and have them bounce the light within their field of vision and not at their face.
    3.     Once the cat’s attention is focused on the light, instruct the child to bounce it across the floor or low across the walls.
    4.     Enjoy the chase!
    5.     When the game is over, substitute the light with a small toy and allow the cat to catch the toy. Ending the game this way keeps your feline from getting frustrated by the unattainable object and rewards them for playing. 

    Game tips: Although the flashlight is easiest for children to handle, mirrors and CDs can also be used as light refractors. Do not use lasers during this game as the concentrated light can cause vision damage to your feline friends.

    With these fun dog and cat games, incorporating your four-legged pals into playtime has never been easier.