4 Holiday Games For You & Your Pet
Activity 1 – walking trails
Everybody loves taking their dogs for a walk, but how many of you own rabbits, cats, ferrets, lambs, pigs, etc that would also love to get out and go for a walk? There are harnesses available for our smaller furry friends, and most lambs and pigs can us conventional dog collars and leads for their travels. Why not get your pet used to wearing a collar/harness and lead and going for a walk. Once they are used to the feel of their collar/harness and lead it’s time to head outdoors.
Use the holidays to find new and exciting areas to walk your four legged friend and see what type of environment suits you all best, from pine plantations to native bush, the local park to a lake, river or even the ocean. There are so many areas you can explore with your pet, just remember to check requirements for you area to ensure you aren’t going where you’re not supposed too, or you’re not letting your pet off in an on lead area only. If you are going to let your pet off having a really good recall is also important.
Activity 2 – hide and seek
If you pet is good at staying in position when asked put them in a stay and get your child to hide a treat or toy out of sight. When they return they can ask your pet to “find it” and watch them use their nose, eyes and cunning to try and find out where that toy/treat is hidden. At first you/your child may need to help your pet along until they get the hang of the game, but if the toy/treat is exciting enough they will pick up the game very quickly.
If your pet isn’t good at staying when asked they can still enjoy the game they just need to be behind a barrier or have someone hold onto their collar before they can find the reward.
Suitable rewards for pets would be:
- Dogs – Sausage, Cheese, Chicken, Squeaky Ball
- Cats – Sausage, Chicken, Ball with Bell, Scrunched Foil
- Rodents – Cheese, Seeds, Ball with Bell, Shredded Paper
- Ferrets – Meat, Ball with Bell, Shredded Paper
- Birds – Millet Seed, Bottlebrush Branch, Ball with Bell, Mirror
Activity 3 – toys
Many toys for pets can be made easily and cheaply by children and will keep them busy not only making the toy, but watching their pet play with it.
For cats get a box, cut some holes in it and fill with balls, toilet rolls, scrunched up paper and foil, pieces of material or ribbon; anything you have lying around that your feline friend will love. Place the box in front of the cat and watch the games begin. If the box is shallow make the holes only large enough for the cats paws to fit inside, not your cats head, and get them to use the holes to push, pull and manipulate the toy into a spot where he/she can get it out. If the box is large place a couple of holes large enough for your entire cat to fit in and the rest for peeping in and out of only.
These can also be great fun for ferrets, rats and mice, though obviously the box will need to be smaller, something like a tissue box is ideal.
For dogs you can get empty, soft type milk crates, make some holes just slightly larger than their biscuits/treats. Fill the bottle with treats and place the lid back on. Now give your dog the toy and see if they can figure out how to get the treats out. These toys are also great for the kids to throw around and see if they can make treats fly out that the dogs can then run around and eat.Please ensure your kids do watch your dog and when the lid comes off, or the bottle gets too chewed it is thrown away and replace it with a new one.
For birds your kids can make a new ladder for them to climb using branches they find in the garden or down the local park and some string to tie it all together. The size and complexity here is only limited to their imagination, and the size of the area it will be going in.
Activity 4 – special dinner or treat
We all love being spoilt with a cake or our favourite meal, and our animals are no exception. Why not allow your children to make up a special treat or meal for their favourite friend. They can really let the creativity fly here, just make sure any foods dangerous to the health and wellbeing of their pet is removed from the selection before they get too carried away.
Ingredients could include:
- Mince meat
- Liver, either fresh or dries
- Vegetables like carrot, sweet potato and celery
- Fruit like apples, strawberries and pears
- Sunflower seeds
If your child is too young to be able to cook use all raw ingredients, if your child can cook, even under supervision the meal could be baked into a cake or biscuits.