Boredom is the worst. When I’m bored, I find myself wanting to watch too much tv or eating too many snacks. It’s not just us humans who fall into bad habits though, dogs do too.
One of the easiest ways to keep your dog blissfully busy is exercise. Walking outside is Bella’s absolute favorite exercise. She lets me know every single morning and evening when it’s walk time. Does your dog do that too?
While physical exercise is important for dogs, they also need to keep their brains busy too! Here’s my quick tips to enrich your dog’s environment to help them stay mentally and physically active - and out of trouble.
Tip # 1: Get a toy basket
Does your dog love toys? Bella absolutely loves to play with toys. She’s so cute she brings me one every time I get home from being out. I assume it’s meant to be a gift of some kind but I am not allowed to touch it or take it 😂
If your dog loves toys like Bella does get a basket of any kind to keep them in and rotate the toys. Bella has about 20+ toys but I only keep 7-10 in the basket at any one time. I switch some of them out every week or so. This way she has new toys all the time. Well they aren’t new but they are toys she hasn’t seen in a while so she’s always excited to see them again! This also helps toys stay newer longer since they can’t constantly play with them. And if you need some new toys I have some cute ones in my shop! You can find them here.
Tip #2: Try food dispensing toys
Making your dog work for their food can be fun. My favorite food dispensing toy is the Kong Wobbler and it will keep your dog busy for a while. Just add kibble or treats and let them knock it around till they get all the food out. Once it gets easy for them you can make it more difficult by adding a golf ball or a ball made of foil to the inside so it will block some of the chances. Don’t forget to leave them plenty of fresh water to wash their treats down with. Pro tip - If you use this, consider using it with some of their regular meals, so the calories don’t go crazy. You can find lots of great food dispensing toys here.
Tip #3: Puzzle Time!
Puzzles really keep the brain going and challenge your dog’s mind. I really like the ones by Nina Ottosson by Outward hound because they have so many to choose from! Plus many of them are very reasonably priced. This is another great time to use this to deliver your dogs meals, you don’t want to over feed them! You can find a big assortment puzzles here
Pro tip: I got this tip from my friend Tori over at Wear Wag Repeat and loved it! Swap puzzles with your dog mom friends! This way the dogs get new puzzles and you don’t have to spend anything. Just make sure to always make sure they are the kind you can wash and sanitize before using.
Tip #4: PLAY!
Families that play together, stay together! I make sure to spend some time playing with Bella every day, usually a few 5-10 minute sessions. Play is a great way to exercise not only your dogs body but also their mind. Play can be going outside and playing fetch, playing tug with their favorite toy, practicing tricks and more. Play is especially fun for our old dogs too so don't think your dog is too old to have fun! You just have to find the kind of fun they think is fun too.
One of my favorite games to play with Bella is hide and go seek! I learned this from my dog trainer Janine at J9’s K9’s. This is also a great exercise for practicing your dogs recall. Here’s how to play, the idea is the same as when human play except your dog is always it. I like to throw a few treats away from me and then I run and hide in a different room. Once I hide I yell for Bella. This is when you can use your recall word too and practice your recall! When Bella finds me I surprise her with a some treats. Once your dog finds you in the easy places you can always make it harder by hiding behind a door, in the bath tub, or under a blanket. My nieces and nephews also love playing this with her too.
Tip #5: Playology Scented Dog Toys
A scented dog toy is another way to add smell to your dog’s life. Playology makes scented dog toys in a variety of shapes and sizes. Bella loves her bone shaped one. Scent toys can quickly become a favorite so buy something durable! Playologypets has a quick quiz that can match your pup up with the perfect scented toy. You can find Playology Scented Toys Here.
If you need some more ideas for enrichment I have a great blog where I share my top favorite food enrichments. The blog says it’s for seniors but it’s really for any dog. You can read the blog here.
Do you have a trick up your sleeve for keeping your dog entertained? Let me know!
***This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through my links I may earn a small commission. I only share products I love and use myself!! It costs you nothing, but it makes a big difference to me and helps me keep the treats flowing for Bella!