Enrichment Ideas for dogs
Your recycling container is a haven for ideas to keep your dog entertained! With all of the below recommendations, please keep the age and size of your dog in mind to ensure you don’t expose them to danger. A ‘soft’ plastic bottle might be OK for a small breed, but a Bull breed might shred it & potentially swallow the plastic.
Scatter and hide these games around your backyard, courtyard or inside. Be sure only to hide them where you don’t mind your dog going. For example, if you’re trying to keep your dog away from the veggie patch, keep these games clear of there too.
Pass the Parcel
A very easy game that will keep your dog amused. Wrap layers of newspaper, with kibble or other dog treats hidden amongst the layers. Whilst your dog won’t wait for the music to stop to pull it apart, he or she will have a great time getting through the layers and finding the treats in amongst all the newspaper.
Kibble in a Box
We have lots of cardboard boxes in our house each week – cereal boxes, pasta boxes, boxes that goods are delivered in. A very simple game is to throw some kibble into the box and close the top. Close the top by folding each side over and under each other. The dog may be able to pull these apart, or tear at the side of the box to get in.
Toilet Roll Surprise
A great way to make use of our empty toilet rolls. Stuff newspaper in one end, place some kibble or other treat in the middle, and stuff the other end. You’ll find the dog will most likely unravel the roll rather than pull the stuffing out – whatever it takes to get to the treat inside! The empty rolls when you finish a roll of paper towel are great for the bigger breeds too.
Plastic Bottle Shake
Remove the lid and top ring from a plastic bottle (soft drink bottle, juice bottle, use your own judgement for the appropriateness for your dog), and fill the bottle with treats. It makes a great sound rolling around, and the dog will be entertained trying to flip and roll the bottle to get the treats out.
Of course there are some great products you can buy to keep your dog entertained. Some of my favourites are:
Bob-a-lot: this acts much like the bottle shake, but is a weighted toy that you fill with treats and the dog needs to roll to one side to extract the treats. It’s refillable, you can adjust the level of difficulty, and it comes in a couple of sizes. Buy it for a good price at Polite Paws, but also available at lots of online and offline pet stores and vets.
Everlasting range of products: food is hidden within these toys, and the dogs need to work at them to get the food. You don’t need to fill them up with the official refills either – most of them you can stuff your own kibble and treats, and keep on using them for a long time. Again Polite Paws has them at really decent prices & they're also available at many vets and pet stores.