Dog-friendly Games for the Whole Family
A yard, your family and friends, plus at least one dog equal a recipe for ultimate summer fun. Alison Smith, author of the book 101 Fun Things to Do With Your Dog, has a whole section on games that you and your family can play with your dog. Here are two enjoyable ones for a summer afternoon:
For this game, you need at least three human players, a Wiffle-type ball and your dog. You also need to set up bases, which can be easily done with any kind of colorful objects, such as upside-down buckets. One person is a batter, while another pitches. Everyone else -- including your dog -- is a fielder. “The aim of the game is for the batter to hit the ball as far as he can and try to get ’round all of the bases without being out,” explains Smith.
Your additional job is to encourage your dog to go after the ball and bring it back to you. Most dogs instinctively do this, but you might have to work a bit to get your dog to return the ball to you. Yelling “Fetch” and bringing along treats can help.
Tag for Dogs
Just like the human game of tag, someone has to be “it,” giving other players -- including your dog -- a 10- to 15-second head start to run away before “it” can begin to chase others in a defined area. The first player tagged then becomes “it.” “Part of the fun is darting around and avoiding the dreaded ‘tag’: the point at which the person chasing touches another person or dog, making them ‘it’ in turn,” says Smith. Time the game in one-minute sessions, stopping play by yelling or blowing a whistle. The “it” individual at that point “must sit out until a new game starts,” she instructs. “The aim is to have one winner at the end of all the games.”
Be sure to have plenty of cool water for all players. For dog tag, Smith also says having more than one dog can up the fun. The dogs may never completely figure out what’s going on, but everyone will have a good time anyway.