Here are a few fun family activities that you can do with your pet when it is too cold or rainy to play outside!
1. Mealtime Hide and Seek!
Instead of feeding your pet one big helping in a bowl, split the meal up into a several small portions. Have one family member distract your pet with some attention while the rest of you find clever places to “hide” your pet’s dinner. Make sure that all the places you choose can be accessed by your pet! We want the game to be fair and fun, not frustrating! The first time you play, choose very easy places that are near to your pet’s bowl and gradually make the game harder as your pet learns your tricks!
2. Create a Puzzle Toy!
Use household items to create a puzzle toy for your pet to solve! For a smaller critters, fill a brown paper lunch bag with some hay and a few toys, twist the top shut and poke a hole in the side. Your pet will have fun tearing apart the bag to get at the tasty treats inside. For cats and dogs, cut holes into a paper towel tube or pop bottle that are just big enough to let treats fall out. Put in some treats and seal everything but the holes that the treats will fall out of. Let your pet roll it around the floor. A cardboard box with lots of paw-sized holes could also be a fun foraging toy! Remember: ALWAYS supervise your pet with a foraging toy and take it away if they start to rip it up or try to eat it.
3. 101 Things to Do with a Box!
This is a really fun game by Karen Pryor for clicker-trained dogs. Check out this link for a full set of instructions!
4. Create a Cozy “No-Sew” Pet Bed or Blanket!
Using polar fleece, create a soft and warm pet bed or blanket for your pet at home, or consider making one for a cat here at the shelter! Instructions are available here!
5. Learn Some Animal Body Language! Learn Some Animal Body Language!
Pretend your home is actually a new land. Sit quietly and observe your pet’s body language, making notes about what you see them do. Once you have collected some notes, do some research online to find out what it all means!
6. Make a Pet Documentary!
Your pet is awesome! Why not show the world? Map out a plan for a documentary that will show all of your pet’s best features and then have fun filming it as a family! There are lots of free video editing programs available if you want to add some extra flair.
7. Play a Fun Game!
For dogs, practice existing manners and tricks or train a new behavior to exercise their brain. For cats, use a feather wand toy to spark their hunting instincts. For smaller critters, set up an opportunity to safely explore something new! Important note: Remember! Fingers are NOT toys and the safest way to play with your pet is to make sure your fingers stay far away from mouths and claws!