With Covid-19 causing more people to be stuck indoors, people have been making jokes about now knowing how dogs feel being trapped inside all day.
I really like providing my dogs mental enrichment to alleviate their boredom. I use slow feeders for when I’m feeling lazy; these make my dogs eat slower and make them use their brains a little more than just eating out of a bowl. The Outward Hound slow feeders pictured below are my favorite.
When I’m feeling less lazy, I alternate between puzzle toys I’ve bought and making my own with items around my house. I’ll provide some links below for some of my favorite enrichment toys. My dogs are medium/large so if you have a smaller dog, make sure to check that you are buying something size appropriate.
List of Favorite Enrichment Toys:
- Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom https://www.chewy.com/busy-buddy-magic-mushroom-dog-toy/dp/48160
- Kong Wobbler https://www.chewy.com/kong-wobbler-dog-toy/dp/44195
- Planet Dog Orbee-tuff Snoop https://www.chewy.com/planet-dog-orbee-tuff-snoop-dog-toy/dp/103060
- Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Mazee https://www.chewy.com/planet-dog-orbee-tuff-mazee/dp/38750
On a budget and can’t afford the fancy toys? Get creative and make your own! Some simple ideas are:
- Treats in a muffin pan under tennis balls
- Old toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls filled with treats or kibble then folded closed
- Treats in a paper bag
- An old shirt with treats folded inside
- Kibble or treats in a cardboard box. Fold it closed to make it more of a challenge, or leave it open for dogs new to enrichment toys
Get creative! This can help beat your boredom at home too; I’m always entertained watching my dogs figure out a new puzzle. Always make sure to supervise pets with any kind of enrichment toy and make sure they aren’t swallowing things they shouldn’t. It’s also a good idea to only use things you don’t mind them messing up. If you need a box for later, it might not be the best idea to let your dog destroy it. If your furry friend is getting a little pudgy from all the sitting at home, use their normal meal time and normal amount of kibble instead of treats. Remember to keep the enrichment easy enough for the dog; it shouldn’t be so challenging that they give up. If that happens, go to the toy with them and make it easier.
Here are videos of Kana figuring out the muffin tin and Ellie destroying a box:
Finally, don’t forget your feline friends! They love enrichment too!
Please share pictures, videos, and questions about enrichment you do with your pets to this thread. I’d love to hear about what you’re working on with your pets, and answer any questions you have.
Crew Leader at Pet Scoop Services