Over the Christmas break the kids and dogs can get a little bored in the house, so the school holidays bring lots of opportunities for children and dogs to interact with each other. Here’s some ideas of games for children to play with dogs over Christmas.

Family Demo Dog Widget loves playing simple games like catch, fetch and find with his new favourite toy, Christmas pudding balls. These games keep his mind occupied and provide valuable mental enrichment.

Playing games with your dog over Christmas from Dogs for Good on Vimeo.

Playing fetch and find with your dog

Fetch is a great game to play as it can help reduce possessiveness. Encourage your dog to come to you by offering a tasty treat and swapping it for the toy in their mouth to make fetching fun.

To teach find, start by showing your dog easy hiding places so you and your dog can share more successes, then gradually increase the difficulty. You could hide a Kong with a few smelly treats in to make it easier for your dog to use one of their special skills, sniffing.

Five more games for children to play with dogs over Christmas

  1. Treasure hunt– hide treats around the house or garden- you can hide human treats too for the children. Things like carrots, cheese, apple etc. are all safe for dogs to eat too. The children could follow a map and encourage their dog to follow to help find the treats.
  2. Muffin tin fun– place some treats in random holes of a muffin tin and put tennis balls on top of each hole. The dog must then find which holes the treats are in.
  3. Plant pot magic– using 3 or more plant pots, hide treats under one of them and ask the dog to find which pot has the treats under.
  4. Eat the treat challenge– Stand behind a baby gate or behind a line. Without stepping over the line, ask the child to throw the treats one at a time for their dog. Try not to throw the next one until the last treat that was thrown has been eaten. Time how long it takes for all the treats to be eaten and record it on a chart. See if the dog can beat their time each day.
  5. Obstacle fun- Using everyday objects you find in the house set up an obstacle race. You could walk over broom handles, weave around chairs, crawl under a sheet … the possibilities are endless, let your imagination run wild!

As with any interactions between children and dogs, they must always be supervised by an adult. Never leave a child and a dog in a room together. Have fun!