It’s summer. The world is in the middle of a pandemic and if you’re like us, you’re looking for more ways to entertain your beloved pets from the comfort of your outdoor space. Finding games that not only physically but also mentally stimulate our furry friends can help keep both cats and dogs happy and healthy--and keep your furniture and decor in good shape!
With a little creativity and some knowledge about our own pets, we can set up some fun outdoor games pretty easily whether we’ve got backyards or balconies. The trick is to keep them entertained without overstimulating so that they want to continue playing next time. Make sure to stop playing before they’re tired and especially watch out in the hot sun so they don’t overheat!
Water Ball Game (fun in the sun for dogs)
Place a few tennis balls in a small plastic pool or a bucket and instruct your dog to retrieve them and bring them to you. Replace the balls in the water to play again if your dog is still having fun.
Hide and Seek (mental stimulation for cats or dogs)
If you have more space and two people, one person can hide while the other distracts your cat or dog, commanding them to “stay” as required. When the person is hidden, they can start calling your pet’s name, commanding them to “come”, until they’re found.
If you have a smaller space and/or only one person, hide a few treats or toys around your outdoor space and encourage your pet to find each one, using “hot” and “cold” indicators to help them along.
Chase the Prey (mental stimulation for cats or dogs)
Tie a toy, like the Bananas are Gross squeaky toy, at the end of a string tied to a stick, or buy a dangler toy like the Batshit Cray Cray toy. Drag it slowly around your dog or cat, making sure they catch it on occasion so they continue to be interested in the game.
Agility Training (mental stimulation and exercise for dogs)
This activity works best with more space. Imagine your outdoor space as an obstacle course and find items around the house that you can use (e.g., hula hoops, cardboard boxes, toys, etc.). Place a toy or a treat at the end of the obstacle as a reward, then instruct your dog to run through each obstacle to retrieve their reward.
Diggin’ in the Sandbox (mental stimulation and exercise for dogs)
If you’re lucky enough to own a sandbox, fill it in with clean sand and command your dog to “stay” while you bury toys in it. Instruct your dog to find the toys, allowing them to dig around the sand.
Fetch (mental stimulation and exercise for cats and dogs)
Dogs love fetch. Duh, we know that! But did you know cats also love fetch! Spray one of their toys with a catnip spray or insert catnip into a toy with a pocket and throw the toy. Let them play with the toy and show them praise if they return it to you to encourage the behaviour further.
Toys for your cats or dogs are essential for many of these activities, especially if you don’t want to encourage your pet to play by feeding them more treats. Having more toys will add variability to your pet’s playtime and discourage boredom. Do you need more options? Check out our line of cat and dog toys.
What outdoor activities does your pet enjoy? Let us know in the comments!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tara is a graphic designer and writer at Lucky Bubs who specialises in digital communications and owns Tara June Studio. She lives her days in Ottawa with her well-travelled cat, Sushi, who has lived in four countries and just wants to be left alone already.