4 Quick Tips for Enriching your Dog’s Environment
Boredom is the worst. When I’m bored, I find myself raiding the kitchen and mindlessly snacking. 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. My two dogs love going for long hikes in the woods or having a game of chase in the yard.
While physical exercise is important for dogs, they also need to keep their minds busy! 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: Have plenty of toys available
Oreo loves squeaky stuffed animals and will bring them to anyone entering the house to entice them to play with her. Moby loves tennis balls and will toss them around all by himself if everyone else is busy.
For a little back and forth, try tug toys. My two love a simple braided rope toy that my son made from felt pieces. Not a fan of craft projects? You can find a huge selection in your local pet supply store. You can grab one end and play tug with your dog, or If you’re lucky enough to have a multi-dog household, they can play together! There are few things cuter than two dogs playing!
Tip #2: Try a game of hide and seek
Families that play together, stay together! I make sure to spend time playing with Oreo and Moby every day. We get to practice cues, learn new commands, and build a stronger bond all under the guise of play time which is important because dogs like to have a purpose and use their minds. And your dog is happiest when they feel bonded to you. There are a couple ways we play – I hide and have them look for me. I have them sit and stay while I quickly hide (they won’t hold a stay for long without me) and then I call to them to come find me. If they have trouble, I make noises to give them extra clues. Other times, I hide treats around the house and they do a bit of scent work to find them. I started by only hiding them in one area of the living room, then expanded to the hallway, the stairs, etc. Now they can find treats hidden upstairs and downstairs. That’s their favorite game on hot or inclement weather days.
Tip #3: TV time!
While you don’t want to turn your pup into a couch potato, a little tv now and then won’t hurt! Oreo loves Little House on the Prairie. Every time it comes on, she’s enthralled. She particularly likes the episodes where Jack the dog makes an appearance. Her other favorite is Jackson Galaxy’s My Cat from Hell. She seems to enjoy seeing cats get into trouble.
Every dog is different so play around and see what your dog finds engaging.
Tip #4 Show them the world!
Open the curtains, shades, front door to give them an interesting view. Moby is a busy-body and loves to spy on the neighbors when they walk by, as he is tall enough to see out the window. Oreo is vertically challenged, so I let her out on the deck or leave the front door open so she can catch a view. Pro tip – be sure to lock the storm door in case your dogs learn how to let themselves out!
And don’t forget the felines! Cat is not much for toys, but she has her tree next to the dining room window and a small table next to the living room window where she can peer out. We also have a bird feeder that sticks to the outside of the window. As soon as daylight comes each day, she goes to the window and watches the birds enjoying their breakfast.
Do you have a trick up your sleeve for keeping your dog entertained? Let me know in the comments!