Looking for some easy ways to keep your dog busy and entertained while at home?
Keeping your dog entertained can be a challenge. And trying to come up with new ways to keep your dog entertained can be more exhausting than actually getting up and doing it. To help you out I’ve put together a list of simple ways to have more fun with your dog around the home.
1. Teach your dog some new tricks
There are so many YouTube training video's or Google articles out there showing you how to teach your dog some new tricks. They are free to watch and will give you so many good ideas.
Whenever you're doing any sort of puppy or dog training, make sure you:
Try teaching tricks that are appropriate for your buddy's age and physical/mental abilty levels,
Do the training when they're hungry and alert, never when they are tired,
Keep the session short,
Keep it simple,
Make it fun and
Always end on a positive note
2. Build a play area in the back yard
Dogs love to be outside and they love to sniff and dig. Why not build a sand pit in your garden and fill it with good clean sand for them to play in. We have made our Sasha a sand pit in a garden bed alongside our ourdoor patio area, it is in a shady spot and she spends hours there watching the world go by or plays silly digging games with us.
To construct a dog sand pit
Find a position in your garden that is in a shady area and your dog can see you in the house. It is ok to put the sandpit in a garden bed or on pavers.
Construct or buy a frame to contain the sand in one area. You can use a child's sand pit and burry in the ground. You can also make the edge out of timber or bricks.
Line the sandpit with a weed free mat, plastic or tarp to stop the white sand mixing with dirty sand and stop weeds coming through
Use white beach sand or white sand from your local garden supplier.
Teach your dog that this is the place they dig and chill.
Step up the fun in the sandpit by hiding their favourite toy or a treat in the sand for them to find and ask them to Find it.
3. Play Hide the Treat and Find It!
Dogs love to sniff out a hidden treat!! This is a great indoor or outdoor activity and dog thoughly enjoy the challenge to find a treat. All you will need for this activity is a handful of dry smelly treats, I generally break them up quite small so the game will last a while.
How to play:
Choose a room in your house with plenty of floor space where it will be nice and quiet for training purposes.
Call your pup into the room and have him sit for you
Show your pup the treat and then toss it out in the middle of the room while giving him the cue "Find it!
Let him enjoy his reward and then bring him back to you and praise him for doing a good job. Repeat the process until he finds the treat every time.
Now that your pup can find the treat anywhere you toss it on the floor, start "hiding" it for your pup to sniff out. Each time he finds it, make sure to praise him and let him enjoy the treat he has earned.
You can continue to make the game more challenging as you go. In fact, the more challenging you make it, the more your pup is likely to enjoy it. We ask our dog to wait in a room while we go hide the treat in another room. We sing out Find It! and she comes running in excited and starts hunting the treat down. If the place is a bit too tricky I would stand near to the treat and it helps my dog know where to look.
Take the game outside and enjoy the sunshine and throw a small treat a distance and ask them to Find It. Throwing in different directions is great exercise and fun for you as well as you watch your dog try to find the treat in the grass.
The most important thing to remember is that you are teaching your dog to play a game. This means you need to make every aspect of the training as much fun as possible for both of you. You can teach virtually any dog to find treats, but the younger you start, the faster your pup is likely to learn.
4. Teach your dog to roll over
At first “Roll Over” may seem like a difficult trick to attempt, but in the long run, it’s very straightforward.
All this trick demands is repetition. The more you do it, the better your dog will get.
The video below explains that the secret of “Roll Over” is doing it in three steps. Make sure you precisely lead your dog through each step, and before you know it, your friends will be asking you to teach their dogs for them!
5. Puzzle Games, Lickimats, and Food-Dispensing Toys
These games are great at getting your puppy to work on problem-solving and getting rewarded!
Many of the dog treat games involve hiding a treat in a little compartment and letting your puppy sniff them out. Depending on the puzzle game your puppy will be able to flip lids, turn knobs, open drawers, and lift up cones to uncover hidden treats.
How fun! Food dispensing toys are a great mental stimulation that will release an immediate reward for your puppy’s work! Stuff it with their favourite food or treats and let them chew it until the food is dispensed.
The best part about these toys is that they allow your puppy to problem-solve and chew. This is a natural way your puppy relieves gum pain, especially if they are teething, and relieves boredom!
To increase the difficulty, freeze some healthy dog-friendly peanut butter in a toy for your pup to lick out. Bonus: licking can be very soothing for pups!
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