- Stuffed toys. Things like Kongs and Nylabones can be filled with peanut butter, cheese spread, yogurt, or other spreads. Your dog will spend a long time trying to lick it all out. Kongs can also be stuffed with treats or pieces of hotdogs.
- Stuffed socks. Isaac loves these and they are easy to make. Take an old sock and stuff it with stuffing (I reuse stuffing that Isaac pulls out of stuffed animals) or scraps of cloth. Put a crunchy treat or two in the middle. Then tie the end of the sock closed. Watch your dog go crazy trying to get the treat out. You can also stuff crunchy treats into stuffed animals and sew them shut; I do that sometimes after Isaac rips open a stuff toy (which he does regularly).
- Squeaky toys. Not all dogs like these, but many do. Since they squeak when chewed, they give your dog feedback that provides entertainment without your involvement.
- Puzzle balls. These toys are typically balls, but may be other shapes, too. They have little holes in them and you fill them with treats. Your dog has to figure out how to roll them around to get the treats to fall out. Isaac had one and loved it but eventually chewed a hole in it. I need to buy him another. He used to bring it to me every morning after he finished eating breakfast, wanting me to fill it for him. The bigger the treats, the harder it will be for your dog to get them out. Make sure they aren't too big, though; occasionally I made that mistake and Isaac could not get them out at all and finally he would bring the ball to me, wanting me to get them out for him, which was no easy task.
- Hide the treats. Hide some doggie treats around the room. You can tell your dog to sit and stay while you hide them so he sees where you are putting them or you can put him in another room so he can't see where you put the treats. To make the game easier, let your dog watch you hide them and put them in easy-to-reach places. To make it harder, don't let him watch you hide the treats and put them in harder-to-get-to places. Isaac loves this game, but even when he watches me hide them, he tends to forget where I put them all. He can remember two or three but then gets confused. However, he will happily spend a very long time searching.
- Hide the toy. Hide your dog's favorite toy and let him search for it. If you hide something like a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or hotdogs, he'll be entertained twice as long. To get your dog to search for a hidden toy, you can teach him the name of the toy and then tell him, "Find the Kong!" You can also let him see you hide it, then try to distract him for a few minutes, then let him go and see if he remembers to look for it. If you stuff it with something like hotdogs, he'll probably smell it and start searching frantically without being told to do so; Isaac can smell a hotdog from anywhere in the house.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Entertaining Your Dog
Does your dog ever seem bored? Isaac sure does. Here are some fun activities for entertaining your dog. Rather, they are things you can give your dog to entertain himself. Isaac likes them all, and I like them, too, because as much fun as I have with Isaac, sometimes I need to get some work done, or write on this blog, or just relax in front of the television.