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Most dogs that live in family homes are happiest as an integral part of the family and love to spend as much time as possible with their family members and small dogs are no exception. While there are some special considerations to take with small or otherwise fragile dogs when those family members include small or active children, there are there are many games that they can easily play to engage and entertain both the kids and the canines, no matter how diminutive either are.
While many small dogs were bred to be companion animals, there are just as many that were bred to be working dogs in one capacity or another. Smaller dogs were often more useful for hunting small game and for pest control than larger dogs and were often bred for a heightened prey drive. Dogs that possess a heightened prey drive and have no outlet for it may chase children or other pets in order to satisfy their urges. This activity is a fun and simple game for prey driven dogs to more safely engage that natural drive in a more controlled fashion. (This game should be avoided in homes that also have rodents or ferrets as pets)
Asking your dog to choose which hand your treat or scented object is hidden in is a simple exercise that increases bonding and helps to improve their scenting ability. While playing this game with humans, the answers are usually determined by either sight or by guessing, while your dog is typically choosing based on smell, although random guessing does occur. It is important not to have this particular game continue for too many repetitions unless you swap out treats with another reward or use lower calorie natural treats like cut up sugar snap peas, watermelon, or even cucumber. While this game is simple in its structure, there are many ways to spice things up when you have your family there to help you out.
Hide and seek is a game that can include kids of any age, even infants with mom and dad’s help, and it's a game that even the smallest canine can excel at. This game is fun for the kids, fun for the canine, and it may come in handy for you now and then as well, particularly if you have a tot who finds spontaneous and unannounced games of hide and seek highly amusing. While this game is generally simple in concept, choosing more difficult hiding places or adding twists to the game can make it exceptionally challenging even for the cleverest of pups.
That little red laser-pointer dot is not only entertaining for cats, but can be used to amuse dogs, birds, rodents, and even fish on occasion. It is important to avoid shining the light directly into your eyes or your pet's eyes as these toys can cause damage to the eye, particularly with prolonged exposure. A small percentage of dogs may become fixated on the dot, even if it is not there. If you start seeing obsessive or distressed behavior in relation to this type of play, it should be discontinued.
Kids aren’t the only ones who love soap bubbles, and your dog is likely to have a blast jumping and twisting, trying to catch the magical floating spheres. It is important to remember that dogs frequently pop the bubbles with their mouths so it may be best to use a home-made bubble solution created with dog-safe soap products or to use bubbles designed specifically for canines.
All dogs, large and small, require regular play sessions and new activities to be at their happiest and healthiest. These activities, while designed for fun, also help to give your small dog a big workout, both physically and mentally. Finding games that everyone in the family can play together, no matter their age, fosters bonding and empathy for both child and canine and can even teach them to work together.