by Kirsty Lynas // July 2017
Keep Your Dog Entertained On A Budget!
The majority of dog owners understand the importance of regularly exercising their dogs to keep them healthy and happy, but it is just as important to ensure that they are kept mentally stimulated as well.
For a lot of dogs a short session of engaging their brain can tire them out just as much as what a long walk would do! But it can also be an expensive business if you start investing in things like toys, agility equipment and brain games.
So we thought we would come to the rescue and show you how you can make lots of different enrichment toys out of every day items you might find around the house!
First off how about creating some raggy toys with old clothes?! Just cut the clothing in to relatively thick strips and create a tight plait with a knot at each end. Voila, a DIY tug toy that your dog can enjoy! Tug toys are also a great way for you to engage with your dog and keep building on that all important bond between the two of you.
Now how about something to keep them cool in the hot weather? Well a very simple solution is a doggy icepop! Get a plastic cup, drop in a few bits of dog meat and fill the cup to just below the top with water. Pop in a piece of string about 15cm long and put in the freezer overnight. The next day the ice pop will have frozen and you can tie it somewhere for you dog to lick away at in the hot weather.
For a lot of dogs feeding time is one of the main highlights of their day but it’s over in seconds if we just put their food in a bowl. Why not extend that time of enjoyment by making them working a little harder to access their food. We can do this with a cardboard or a cereal box. Stuff the box with newspaper and then put their kibble inside it. Close the flaps at the top and give the box a bit of a shake. Now you have a homemade food toy for your dog to enjoy! This one can create a little bit of a mess as they will most likely tear up the box and newspaper, but the enjoyment they will get from it will be worth it!
Do you have a dog that enjoys using his nose? Well then why not play some scent games in the garden! All you need for this is some old plant pots and a few treats. Put a treat under a couple of upside down plant pots whilst setting out a few more that don’t have treats underneath them. Bring your dog out in to the garden on a lead and ask him to ‘find it’ whilst encouraging him to use his nose to sniff out the treats! As he gets better at the game you can make it harder by spreading the plant pots further apart and even beginning to hide the plant pots!
You can also create a scent box for your dog to investigate. Cut a hole in one of the plant pots and then on the inside where the hole is, fix a piece of material with a scent on it. Things like lavender, peppermint, oregano, rosemary and lemongrass are great. Secure the plant pots at head height and allow your dog to investigate and engage their noses! You can change the scents on a regular basis to keep your dog interested.
So why not give these ideas a go or even create some or your own and see how much your dog enjoys these new toys and games! And don’t forget to send us photos of your creativity - we are on Twitter @DogSchool_Leic and on Instagram @DogSchool_Leicestershire