So! You’re looking for ways to keep your woof entertained? Well! You found the right post!
These one’s will cost you a little bit of money though… you can find our free ones in 9 Fun & Free Ways To Enrich Your Dogs Life! So be prepared for that, but enrichment is a real key word right now in dog training. It’s something that you can use to increase your dog’s base happiness – think of it like an autowin. It can make them easier to train and to tire them out in general.
These activities are typically done to work your dog’s brain. It’s often neglected, to be honest! And yet it can both cause and solve so many problem behaviours depending how you approach it. It’s also fantastic for tiring out your dog when you cannot provide physical exercise, well hey, you’d imagine I posted this around the time of COVID-19?! Well, I did. One hour walks are no joke. You need more to stimulate most dogs! But these are a great win in the summer too.
Anyway! Why not check them out?
1 – Hol-ee Ball
I’ve discussed this one before! But it’s a fantastic way of involving your dog in play and food. I like to wrap treats in strips of felt and to poke them into the ball. Not the longest way of doing it, but it’s just one example! I’ve heard of my clients poking a whole pig’s ear into one! It’s only limit is your imagination. You could poke a Trachea through it too. Get inventive!
(Video Coming Soon!)
2 – Kong/Bufallo Horn or slow feeder.
I love these, I’ll do a video for it soon, I swear. But why feed from a bowl? It gets guzzled down and gone in seconds – or worse – left and grazed at… yuck. So! Make the food more interesting! Stuff it in a kong, a slow feeder, or a buffalo horn! Depending on what you feed, you can make great use out of these tools. They’ll make your dog work harder to get their food, keep them quiet for longer and make them puzzle things out… easy win, right there! Or, if your food stuff doesn’t work, here’s a whole range of kong recipes that you can apply to any of these tools.
3 – Lickimatt
These are great little devices – usually silicone and dishwasher friendly (Hooray!) these can be used with all sorts of pet friendly squishy foods (You can even try a carrot or banana puree if you fancy it!). It encourages your dog to lick and lick and lick until the mat is clean. Licking is soothing for dogs too, so it works very well as a relaxer. If you’re stuck for recipes, check out our Pinterest Board of Lickimat Recipes!
4 – Snufflematt
I think these are adorable. For a nose or food oriented dog, these can give a lot of time of fun and interest. However, if you’re my dog, and working that hard for food doesn’t appeal, it’s not always the best – I’ve tried upping the drive and even the fabled duck jerky from heaven isn’t quite enough to get my little prince from completing it in one hit — Still! The point is, this is a great option for our hunting breeds! Basically you poke treats through the bottom, pop it on the floor fluffy side up and your dog snoots through the felt to find his or her reward! Easy stuff, but it’s interactive and it makes them work to get things done! Wonderfully demonstrated by our adorable Brody!
5 – Garden Agility equipment
Ever fancied trying Agility? Never quite gotten round to it? Well! Why not pick up a set of Garden agility equipment? Or make one out of PVC piping from B&Q if you’re feeling super fancy. You can make little jumps, slalom poles… they sell collapsible tunnels too! You could make a little course all to yourself and practice getting Fido to jump and weave and race through a tunnel! All new experiences for them (Perhaps?) or just really engaging fun!
6 – Ball Pit
Remember how much you enjoyed these as a kid? Same for dogs! Use a blow up swimming pool and the ball pit balls, or a tyre or similar! You can put something your dog wants at the bottom of it if you want! Easy to construct and easy to take advantage of! Not everything has to be complicated!
(Video Coming Soon!)
7 – Interactive Tug
Have a dog that loves to Tug? Using any tuggy toys (Though, I do love the ones from Tug-e-nuff!), why not have a good game of tug? Several times a day, and you would be really surprised of the results! It’s good for building bond between you, it works wonderfully to burn off some strength and to keep their brain working! Something like the Big Twizzler is fantastic for making them chase around the garden, I promise you’ll have so much fun (and likely get dizzy) with your dog over this toy!
8 – Puzzle Games
Skye is demonstrating a couple of her puzzle toys in the video below! See how interactive they are?! Skye makes mincemeat out of them, but she’s had a good amount of practice. However, when your dog isn’t used to them? You’re asking them to puzzle them out and figure out how to get to their treats. They can be incredibly simple (and do start off here, unless you have a particularly intelligent breed), and they’re available in most pet stores, or online. Some of the best ones are from Outward Hound.
Enrichment activities are fantastic for your dog and they can be awesome for your bond with your dog. Especially when physical activity is limited. They’re a good back up, or a great part of your dogs every day life – I mean, no dog ever complained about being too happy now, did they?!
So, why not try these out! Why not tell us your experiences, your dogs favourite enrichment activity. Or, if these arent enough? Why not try a couple of facebook groups? Canine Enrichment or Beyond the Bowl are two I would really recommend. Let us know what you think!