If you’re a first time dog owner, there is one tip you’ll want to know. If you haven’t already discovered it, leaving your dog with nothing to do is dangerous! Bored dogs can lead to full on destruction. A bored dog can get themselves into trouble. Some dogs enjoy innocent games of “chase the dog with the sock” while others enjoy “eating an entire bag of Tide Pods”.
Before your dog takes up a new, obnoxious or even dangerous activity, give them something to do, now. But keeping your dog busy, especially if you have an active dog, can become a real job. You may start to feel exhausted trying new activities because often what you think will work, may not. Trying to think of new things can sometimes feel like you’re reinventing the wheel! We put together the most interesting ways to keep your dog busy indoors, so you don’t have to think about it.
1. Play “Find The Treats”
Hiding treats throughout your home is a great game for your pup! Dogs have better noses than eyes, so this game will be a lot easier for them than you may think! Use the treats you already have and place them within reach but hidden from view. Either put your dog in a room, or outside while you hide the treats!
Some good hiding places could be behind furniture, under pillows or under rugs. Make sure it’s easy enough for them to find, and somewhere they won’t destroy. Examples of not good hiding places would be inside shoes, near any body of water, or in places you keep chemicals.
2. Play The Shell Guessing Game
Have you ever been to a magic show? The classic magic game uses three cups and a small ball. The magician swaps the cups around until you forget which cup the ball is in. This game with your dog is very similar, line up three cups and place a treat under one. Showing your dog this trick will help with their memory skills.
Shuffling the cups around will stimulate your dog as they try to guess which cup holds the treat.
3. Play “Clean Up”
Dogs are like kids in a lot of ways. When it comes to good housekeeping, you’ll want to train your dogs to clean up as well. This game might need a little more training than other games, but it will be very helpful in the end. Your dog will need to know the “drop it” command, but other than that, it is a simple game to teach. Direct your dog to a toy that they’ve been playing with. Then have them pick it up and bring it to a central location. You’ll need to choose a corner, or a bucket for the toys.
Start calling it “Clean Up” as they are bringing the toys to the bucket. Each toy they bring and drop, remember to praise them for it!
4. Use A Kong Toy Filled With Treats
Kong toys are one of the best for entertaining dogs for long periods of time. Make sure you are using a treat or wet food mixture that your dog enjoys. Because Kong toys are durable, your dog cannot destroy the material. They shape of the toy is designed to allow your dog to chew hard, releasing the treat very little at a time.
Because the material is very strong, your dog won’t be successful on the first chew. It may take 30 to 40 minutes before your dog gets the treat out completely. Depending on the type you choose, your dog may have a longer time trying.
5. Play Tug
We have all spent meaningful time with our dogs playing tug-of-war. This can be a great way to connect with your dog and learn their instinctual behaviors. Some dogs are really aggressive and need to learn to “play” rather than attack, playing tug can help.
Designating a toy or a specific chew toy to be your tug-of-war tool is also a great way to teach obedience. Make sure that the game stops when your dog gets close to your hand.
6. Teaching Chores
Having a job for your dog can be rewarding for both of you. If you’re able to train your dog to play fetch, you may also be able to train your dog to gather things for you. Start with teaching the names of things first. This way your dog will understand what the command is. Maybe you want your dog to fetch your slippers, but first you need to teach him the word slippers. Eventually you may even be able to teach your dog other chores around the house.
7. Playing Interactive Games
Working for their food can be another way to play an interactive game. Generally speaking, dogs have a comfy life having water and food, a comfy bed and lots of toys and love. Giving them food to work for, can also be a stimulating game for them. A challenge for earning meals can be set up, maybe you want to train him to do a set of tricks before every meal. Or maybe you want to purchase a food dispensing toy!
Another great interactive dog game involving food is a maze bowl. Serving your dog their food in this type of bowl not only is a game to get food, but also to slow them down. Many dogs that eat too fast can have long term health problems. This type of game set up for food, can actually improve their long term health.
8. Teach Your Dog Some Words
No, we don’t mean teach your dog to speak English. Although, if you can do that, we’ll need you for another post! Teaching your dog different and useful words can improve your bonding. A great way to start teaching them new words is to teach them the names of their toys.
Giving toys names will help with stimulating their mind and teaching new commands in the future.
9. Play “Which Hand” Game
In this game, your dog is utilizing both scent and memory. The only thing you’ll need to play are your dogs treats. If you don’t have those on hand, make some with a simple recipe. Next you’ll want to place a treat in either hand behind your back. Then let them pick which hand until they find the treat.
10. Give Your Dog A Massage
We know this sounds totally weird, but dog’s get stressed out too! Giving your dog a massage is something new to both of you, so it’s important to learn some basics. Dog’s have muscle aches all the time, just like humans. Think about what they like to do most, sometimes they have an itch but they’re really feeling a cramp. Being intuitive to what your dog needs will not only be a bonding experience, but also give you more insight to what your dog is going through health wise.