When it’s too hot to spend time outside, I find the dogs at my house nap a lot. If you want to break it up with some fun activities, here are some ideas. Please note: Cats and other companion animals like training games, treats and playtime too!
1) Fill a KONG toy with wet food or stuff with meat or favorite treats. Serve, as is or if using wet food, you can freeze it if you want it to take longer to eat all the food.
2) I believe that training should be fun! It also can provide beneficial mental stimulation. Teach a new trick, such as “High-5”, “Shake” or “Speak.” You can work on skills like, “Sit”, “Stay”, “Come” or “Loose Leash Walking” inside too. Google “Positive Reinforcement Training” for humane training techniques. Never use training approaches or techniques that you feel uncomfortable with or that are emotionally, mentally or physically harmful to your companion animals.
3) Get creative! Think of fun game variations that will be engaging to your animal friends. “Hide and Seek” can be taught. I have played it with both cats and dogs. You can start with saying, “Peek a Boo” around a corner. Then when you go back into hiding, wait for them to find you. You can repeat several times, if they don’t investigate right away.
4) Have them wait in the other room while you go hide treats in various places. This can be a great opportunity to help teach “Stay” and “Come” also. After all is hidden, have them “Go Find It!” When teaching new games or training of any kind, you want to set your pets up for success. So start with an easy spot that they can see and say, or as I like to do, enthusiastically encourage, them to “Go Find It!” You can do this as many times as needed, until it seems they have the hang of it. Then make it a little harder and increase the difficulty if you want, so that it continues to be interesting and fun. Of course, for many, any involvement of treats is interesting AND fun!!!
5) Have a conversation with your animal friends. Even if you don’t believe they understand you, you will notice that they enjoy the attention, validation and recognition. And even if you feel like you are making it up or “just pretending,” allow yourself to receive messages and know what they are communicating to you.
Enjoy your special times with your animal friends and stay cool all! I am posting this in the heat of summer, but you may want to try these activities when it’s too cold to go outside or just for the fun of it to enhance your relationship with your animal friends.