The idea for games that pets and people can play together came from a trip to school - obedience school, that is.
Denise Rothman, president and founder of Darf Inc., based in Cedar Mill, Ore., said that she began creating dog games after taking her new puppy to obedience training classes. Rothman said that the classes were so much fun, she wanted to continue the experience at home.
She produced her first game for dogs in 2007.
"We actually increased her abilities tenfold by using the game," Rothman said.
Now pet owners can include Fido or Fluffy in family game nights with three games for dogs and one for cats. With play and practice, you can teach an old dog - or cat - some new tricks.
As Rothman says, the purpose is to have fun and use positive rewards in training your pets.
"We interact with them more instead of taking them for granted," Rothman said.
Though the games originally were created for dogs, CatFeats, a game for cats and their people, was released in October 2008.
"It worked so well for dogs, so someone said, 'What about cats?'" Rothman said. "I went to YouTube and saw all kinds of videos about cats doing tricks."
Rothman said the key to CatFeats, as well as the games for dogs, is determining what incentives work for the individual dog or cat.
"It's finding what it is that they like," she said.
Her dog, for example, prefers playing with a toy to getting a treat as a reward.
With Muttheads, also released in 2008, the tricks aren't just for the dogs.
"Muttheads is really fun because the people have to do dog tricks," Rothman said.
Darf Inc. currently is working on some new games "that are completely different," Rothman said.
Games are available at pet stores and boutiques nationwide as well as on the Darf Inc Web site, www.darfinc.com.