So I just had surgery and my poor dog is absolutely bored out of her mind…I am unable to give her walks or do any kind of extensive play at this time so it got me thinking: what kind of activities can I try to keep her spirits up? It is too outside to do a whole lot, but that doesn’t make the outdoors completely off-limits. I know that dogs need to be kept occupied, and I was reminded of that while she chewed on my arm and sleeve this morning.
Below is a compilation of some games and brain-busters to keep your dog moving and enjoying life.
If you prep a little bit, you can plan on creating frozen treat for your dog. You can easily freeze some water and broth mixed with your dog’s favorite treats, fruits, and vegetables. Pouring the mix into a bundt pan, freeze it overnight and then the next day, crack the ice treat out in the yard and let your dog go to town!
Other treats you can try are frozen pieces of watermelon, pupsicles made from frozen yogurt or peanut butter, mixed with apples and/or carrots. Beat the heat with healthy treats!
Dogs love to use their nose. So why not put it to good use? There are many games you can play inside that dogs will love. The simplest is of course hide and seek. Hide some treats around the house and let your dog find them. You may have to assist them by walking to the general area, but they will be so excited to find their favorite snacks tucked away. It will keep them busy for a long time!
Another idea is to lay some treats in a line on a towel. Roll the towel up and let your pup dig them out and enjoy the game; my dog loves to dig so I can’t wait to show her this game.
Yet another game is to tip a muffin tin upside down with treats under the holes. Your dog will have to use his nose to push the muffin tin around to get the treats out. An easy game that is very rewarding.
Tricks of the Trade
Something that is so very simple is teaching your dog new behaviors, or even just reinforcing ones that have already been taught. This is an excellent way to bond with your dog and build upon your relationship. The tricks don’t have to be anything fancy if you don’t want; you can simply work on perfecting their down-stay or recall. Make sure you reward with lots of praise and treats and make it fun.
Dogs live to please and just a short session of you reinforcing that feeling will leave their mind happy and mental health up to par.
The market for boredom-busting dog toys is vastly growing. Kong, West Paw, Busy Buddy, are just a few brands to name that are out there.
These toys are life-savers if you just don’t have that extra minute for a game of fetch or it is indeed, too toasty to venture outside. Most of them have toys that are stuffed with some kind of treat or smaller toy that the dog uses to keep them busy.
Some toys can even be used just for the purpose of destroying! A quick and cost effective toy is a ball that has holes that you can stuff with rags or socks and allow your dog to pull the rags out himself! Of course, keep an eye out and make sure your dog doesn’t eat any rags or socks.
Other busy toys include bully sticks and non-rawhide chewy sticks. Any of these toys will help keep your dog busy and quiet if needed.
Doggie Play Date
Who doesn’t love having a friend over? I know my dog loves her puppy friends and I have no objection to having them over!
This is a great way to give your dog some ultimate socialization and keep them up to date on all the dog-happenings. You could fill up a kiddie pool and allow them to splash the day away. Another option is set up a backyard agility course and run some fun runs through it.
Indoors, play some obedience games or tug of war. Make sure the dogs you are inviting don’t have any food aggression issues; we want to keep play, play!
If all else fails, just let them run around like crazy hounds in the backyard.
The amount of ideas for having fun with your dog are endless! I know that sometimes we get busy and forget how much our dog needs our attention; I’m guilty of it. But hopefully some of these boredom busters will ignite the spark again and help build that bond with your dog while having fun! An occupied dog is a happy dog.