With most of us now spending much more time at home, it gives us the perfect excuse to spend more time with our best furry friends!
Our canine companions can become bored easily, and a bored dog can be a mischievous one. That’s why it’s important to ensure you keep your dog mentally stimulated and entertained so they’re less likely to come up with their own potentially troublesome ways to behave.
So, to ensure you and your four-legged friend make the most of this extra time at home together, we’ve put together a list of simple ways you can keep you and your dog happy and entertained throughout the day.
1) Play tug of war
There’s nothing like a good game of tug and war to drain the batteries of your energetic doggie. By setting aside 5 minutes or so every couple of hours to play a quick game of tug, you’ll keep your pooch stimulated, both physically and mentally. Whether it’s a bit of rope, a toy, or your old socks, your dog will do its best to yank it off you. They might even let you win… sometimes!
2) Play nose games
Hide treats around your house/garden and send your curious canine on a search and sniff mission! You can decide how many treats you hide, but if you make it hard enough, your dog could be snooping around for hours! Of course if you don’t want to be that mean, you can make it easier, or play a simple game of ‘which hand is it’. Either way, nose games can be super fun and mentally stimulating for your pup.
3) Interactive dog toys
Interactive toys such as Kong Wobblers or other food dispenser toys are great for keeping your dog occupied, even when you’re occupied yourself! Your persistent pooch won’t stop until they get their treat, so there’s no chance of them getting bored. The peanut butter ones are a fido fave!
4) Give your dog a puzzle
Doggie puzzles are a brilliant way to burn some of your pooch’s mental energy. Treat puzzles like the Dog Brick and Dog Tornado by Nina Ottosson are sure to keep your dog busy. Certain breeds, such as sheepdogs, hunting dogs and herding dogs tend to have a problem-solving mindset, so puzzles can be incredibly satisfying for them!
5) Build a digging box
Dogs love to dig, right? So let them dig! To preserve the state of your garden, it might be a good idea to build their very own digging box. There are various examples of these on Pinterest, but all you basically need is four wooden sleepers, some sand/soil, and a digging doggie. Bury their favourite toys or treats in this mini pooch playground, and your curious canine will be entertained for hours.
6) Tricks & training
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but actually, it’s never too late to teach your dog something new. In fact, older dogs can sometimes be easier to train than pups, purely because they are able to concentrate for longer. Whether your pooch is a puppy or an adult, teaching them a new trick or training their impulse control is a great way to keep their brain ticking over. Aside from basic obedience commands such as ‘sit’, ‘lay’, ‘stay’ and ‘come’, there are various other commands you can teach your dog to improve their discipline whilst you’re both chilling at home.
7) Indoor fetch
As destructive as this sounds, a game of indoor fetch (if played carefully) can actually be a fantastic way to keep your hound mentally and physically active. Find an area of your home that is safe to play with your fetching fido, an empty hallway or large space can be good. Get a ball or their favourite toy and throw it for your pooch to fetch and return to you. Switch it up to other areas of the house and be creative! Play this for 5 or 10 minutes every few hours and you’ll be left with a very worn out doggie.
8) Give your dog something to chew
Most dogs love to chew, and although they’ll chew on pretty much anything that fits in their mouth, there are a load of brilliant chew toys out there that will keep your dog occupied for hours on end. From bacon infused bones and giant chew shoes to bouncy balls and of course, the classic Kong, there’s a huge range of super yummy and durable toys that your pooch will absolutely love to chew throughout the day – you can find most of our favourites here!
Although walking your dog is somewhat obvious, it may be a good idea to change up your route or take them to a place you wouldn’t usually go. We all know how much dogs love to snoop out their surroundings and find new things, so why not give them something new to discover! Whether you take a trip to a nearby park or visit a different area of countryside, your pooch is sure to enjoy the new sights and smells of a new place. Walking the same route every day isn’t the most stimulating for dogs as they can become too familiar with their environment, so this is a great way of tickling their adventurous fancy.
10) Petflix ‘n’ Chill
Ok, so perhaps this is more for us humans than our four-legged friends, BUT you can still certainly spend some quality time snuggling up with your pooch whilst you catch up on your favourite series.
Funnily enough, there is actually such a thing called DogTV – a TV channel scientifically developed to entertain and relax your dog! Accessible through the DogTV app, Apple TV, Fire TV and iOS/Android, the channel plays “special content created to meet specific attributes of a dog’s sense of vision and hearing, supporting their natural behaviour patterns.” – DogTV. Whether it’s used to keep your dog company when you’re out, or to occupy them when you’re at home together, it’ll ensure for a happier, more relaxed pooch.