Having a medium-sized dog who is great with kids is a beautiful thing to witness! All a dog needs is food, water, a comfortable shelter, affection, and the occasional walk. In return, your child will have a devoted friend who stays by their side day after day.
Fun Activities for Kids and Dogs to Do Together!
There are a number of fun and easy activities that your child and dog to do together! The more involved your child is with your dog’s care, the stronger their bond will become. If you can find a pastime that both your kid and dog would enjoy, they’ll spend more time being active outdoors rather than hanging out inside in front of a screen!
Most dogs love to use their nose in order to find a reward, such as a treat or a favorite toy. It’s surprisingly simple to train a dog to search for their favorite person!
- Step 1: Start out in a room with few distractions, such as your living room or bedroom. Have your dog wear a harness and hold on to the leash.
- Step 2: Give your child a handful of treats or your dog’s favorite toy. While holding on to your dog, have the child run a few paces away while ducking behind a piece of furniture. As your child is disappearing out of sight, tell your dog, “Find (name of child)!”
- Step 3: Release the pressure on the leash and allow your dog to go over to your child. Let your child praise your dog heavily while feeding them the treats or throwing the toy for them.
- Step 4: Repeat! You can gradually make the game harder and harder by hiding in the next room or by hiding in a closet. Eventually, you can progress to playing the game outside and hiding at the park!
Alternatives: you can hide a toy and ask your dog to find it! As before, make the problem extremely easy - such as allowing your dog to watch you or your child hide the toy under a table. As long as you slowly build up the difficulty of the problem, your dog will understand what you’re asking of them.
This is a fun game if your dog loves to play with toys! Your dog will be the “goalie” and your child will attempt to kick a toy such as a Chuckit! Kick Fetch ball past them and into the goal.
Head over to the park to find an unused soccer goal, then ask your dog to “stay” in front of the goal. Your child will turn so that they’re facing your dog, and ask your dog, “Reeeaadddyyy…..?” Your child can then attempt to kick the ball past your dog - if your dog manages to grab on to the ball with their teeth or paws, your dog gets a point. But if your child can kick the ball so that it hits the net, they’ll earn the point instead.
Don’t kick the ball AT your dog. Remember, you’re trying to get the ball to move past them.
This is a fun activity for kids with endless energy! Once you learn the fundamentals of parkour, you, your kid, and your dog will have a blast exploring different parks, wooded areas, and the city, in order to find obstacles to conquer!
Do very basic parkour tricks to minimize the risk of injury. Always supervise your kid and dog closely! Your child may choose to participate in playing parkour and do the same thing your dog is learning to do, or they may prefer to hold the bag of treats for your dog and lure your dog to learn how to do the various behaviors.
- 4 Feet On an Object - Find an object that is slightly elevated off of the ground, such as a large stone or playground equipment. Ask your dog to stand on the object, give them a treat, and then ask them to jump off. Find more objects to stand on
- Under - Using a treat as a lure, ask your dog to crawl under a low lying object, such as a park bench.
- Through - Find two obstacles that are close to each other, just slightly more than your dog’s shoulder width, such as two trees growing next to each other. Using a treat, lure your dog through the two obstacles, and then give them the treat!
- In - find an object that your dog can put all four feet in, such as a large tire laying on its side.
- Over - find an object for your dog to jump over, such as a fallen branch. You can stand on one side, and your child can stand on the other side, holding a treat. Release your dog and tell them “over!” as they clear the obstacle. Find more objects to jump over!
- Balance beam - find an obstacle that is about as wide as your dog’s shoulders, and three times as long, such as a low concrete wall. Using a treat, ask your dog to jump on the obstacle, then lure them to the end of the obstacle. Use the treat to get your dog to turn around and walk the other way, then give your dog the treat. Find more objects to balance on!
Fetch! With a Frisbee or Chuckit! Toy
Before letting your dog play fetch games with your child, be sure that your dog understands the rules of the game. Your dog may need to be trained on how to come when they are called, to drop the toy when asked, and to leave the toy alone until after it’s thrown for another round.
If you find that your child enjoys throwing Frisbees for your dog, you may consider joining the Youth Division of your local Toss and Fetch league!
Throwing Snowballs, Blowing Bubbles, or Playing with the Sprinkler
If your dog likes tennis balls, they will probably enjoy chasing snowballs! Your child will delight in your dog’s athletic ability as they leap in an attempt to catch a snowball.
Be sure to carefully watch for signs that your dog and child are getting too cold. For example, if your dog starts lifting their feet up and holding it mid-air, or if your child starts shivering, it’s a good sign that it’s time to head back inside.
Alternatively, in the warmer months, your child could blow bubbles for your dog, or you could take out your garden hose and encourage your dog to chase after the stream of water.
The activities described in this blog barely scratch the surface of all the fun and exciting things that you, your dog, and child can participate in!
Does your family have a favorite pastime that also includes your dog? Tell us about it in the comments!