The holidays come with a load of games and merriment. You play games with your kids and with relatives. So why not look into some fun dog games for Christmas?
They may not be tabletop, board, or video games like you play with your human family members, but you and your dog will enjoy them nonetheless.
A lot of us purchase our canine companions gifts for the holidays as well. They can be the perfect way to introduce a new game or work on bonding.
There are the typical games you and your dog might play like tug and fetch, but we also encourage you to think outside of the gift box this Christmas. As it's getting colder, you may find yourself playing less fetch and going outdoors less.
Or perhaps you have a dog that loves the cold and snow. You'll have to be mindful of the temperature and any weather patterns, but you can still have fun outdoors.
Let's take a look at some themed dog-games for Christmas. We hope to inspire you to try one of the games below or even come up with your own this holiday season!
Outdoor Dog Games for Christmas
You'll need to consider the weather during the cold months with these games, but a lot of dogs enjoy the cold and snow. Some of them are even built for it. Dogs like Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Saint Bernards, and Akitas are just a few of the dogs that may enjoy some outdoor winter play.
Make sure they know when it's time to come in though. Dogs are still susceptible to things like hypothermia and frostbite. Dogs who are not made for cold weather may even need a sweater or coat and some booties to head out for a play session despite how much they like the snow.
You don't need a lot of expensive equipment for your dog to run an obstacle course. You can use things around the house to set up this fun game for your dog.
We tend to have lots of extra boxes, wrapping paper tubes, bags, and other bits around the house at Christmas time. Some of these will make excellent props for an obstacle course.
You can place an empty wrapping paper roll across two chairs to make a hurdle for your dog to hop over.
A box can be opened up on both ends to create a tunnel or you can leave it closed up for them to hop over it.
If you have plant pots emptied for the season, they can be used as cones. Your dog can weave between them.
This game is really only limited by your imagination.
Be sure to keep your dog's age and size in mind. You don't want it to be too difficult for them to complete. Especially if they've never done something like an agility course before.
This can also be a great game to get your kids involved in. They can try out the course themselves or help your dog navigate through it.
If you like including your dog on the gift-recipient list for the holidays, a flirt pole can be a good choice. Think of it like a big cat teaser toy for your dog. It’s a long stick with a string and something fluffy to chase around on the end.
You can also make your own flirt pole with a long stick or wrapping paper roll, some twine, and left over tissue paper.
All you have to do is stand in the centre and spin or wiggle the toy around for your dog to chase. Just remember to let them catch it sometimes or they can become frustrated and it isn’t fun for them anymore.
Flirt poles also come in a variety of sizes so you can adjust it to your dog’s needs.
Indoor Dog Games for Christmas
Most of us humans along with our canine companions will probably find these games a little more palatable than being out in the cold and snow.
Plus, there are plenty of fun indoor games to keep you and your dog occupied on those cold winter days.
Tricks and Obedience Training
While you’re home over the holidays and have free time, it can be a great chance to work on tricks and other training. This is something that should be done regularly, but having more time in the day always helps.
Work on obedience basics like sit, down, stay, come, and leave it. Those are staples that every good canine companion should know.
Make sure you’re having fun with it too though.
You can also try fun tricks like paw, roll over, bow, and high five.
Not only will it help to keep your dog busy, learning new tricks and mastering those already known is a great way to bond with your dog.
Wrapping Paper Snuffle
You can put some treats in a box and fill it with some wrapping paper to create something similar to a snuffle mat.
This game can also be played without a box.
Layer the wrapping paper and hide treats in the different layers. You can fold and crumple it up to make ridges and small pockets to make things a little more challenging.
Get a muffin tin and some balled up wrapping paper for this game. It’s a great way to reuse some of the wrapping paper from opened gifts.
Place a treat in a few of the muffin tins and cover all of them with a wrapping paper ball. Your dog will have to sniff out the treats and figure out which tin they’re in.
Christmas Destruction Gift
Place some treats in a box and close it up. Then let your dog have it. They’ll have a great time ripping it up to get the treats inside.
For an added layer of difficulty, you can place the treats in smaller boxes inside of the large box or place some tissue paper inside the larger box.
Dog Games for Christmas with the Kids
We all like to include our pets in the holiday cheer, but kids especially want to make sure everyone feels included.
Pass the Parcel
Wrap a gift like you would for the children, but instead place some treats and a toy in the box. A chew like our Fenrir Hammer is a great option.
Play music and let the kids pass the gift around before it gets placed in front of your dog and the music is stopped for them to enjoy it.
This one is a quick and easy way to include everyone in the games for the day.
You can hide some tasty treats around the house for your dog and your kids to find.
Try things like carrot sticks, cheese, and apple slices so that it’s safe for everyone or make sure you keep the prizes for the kids out of your dog’s reach.
You can give your kids a map and let your dog scent things out.
Make it more fun by seeing who can find more of their prizes first.
Kids and adults alike love to show off the cool new tricks their dog has learned.
So, get the kids involved and teach your dog some tricks to go along with Christmas music.
It won’t be as perfect as a real Christmas pantomime show, but it’ll be a lot of fun for the kids.
They can learn to dance along to the music with your dog and maybe put on a show on Christmas day if they’re feeling really inspired.
We hope this list of fun dog games for Christmas has left you feeling inspired.
You can either try out some of the ones listed above or invent your own. The holidays are the perfect time to slow down and enjoy time with all members of the family.
Do you have any Christmas games you like to play with your dog?
We’d love for you to come over to our social media and tell us all about it!
What are some outdoor Christmas games I can play with my dog?
Outdoor Christmas games for dogs can include obstacle courses made with household items like boxes and wrapping paper tubes, or playing with a flirt pole. These games are especially enjoyable for breeds that love cold weather. Remember to monitor your dog for signs of cold stress and keep play sessions short if it's very cold.
How can I make an indoor obstacle course for my dog?
Use items like empty boxes, wrapping paper tubes, and bags to create hurdles, tunnels, and weaving poles. Make sure the course is safe and suitable for your dog's size and agility. Indoor obstacle courses are a great way to engage your dog's mind and body, especially when it's too cold to play outside.
What indoor games can I play with my dog during the holidays?
Indoor games include tricks and obedience training, creating a wrapping paper snuffle mat, scenting games using a muffin tin and treats, or a 'Christmas Destruction Gift' where your dog gets to unwrap a box to find treats. These games are not only fun but also stimulate your dog's mental and physical energy.
Are there any Christmas-themed games I can play with my dog and kids?
Yes! You can play 'Pass the Parcel' by wrapping a dog toy with treats in layers and letting your dog unwrap it, or set up a treasure hunt with treats for both your kids and dog. You can also involve your dog in a Christmas pantomime where they perform tricks to music, which is entertaining for both kids and adults.
Can playing games with my dog during Christmas help with bonding?
Absolutely! Playing games with your dog during the holidays is not only fun but also an excellent way to strengthen your bond. It's a great opportunity for quality time, and engaging in play helps to build trust, understanding, and a deeper connection with your canine companion.