Dogs need stuff to do. Dogs who have stuff to do get tired. They burn off mental and physical energy. Tired dogs are well behaved dogs. These make your life better by occupying your dog. Enrichment also makes your dog’s life better by giving him an opportunity to “work”. Dogs were born to work.
First, this is the most important, fun, and enriching toy I own. It’s called a flirt pole. Click the image below to find it an Amazon. If you purchase through this link, I earn a small amount of money.
There are rules to this game. They help you train your dog while playing.
Rule #1 Dogs must stay and wait patiently and politely until the game starts.
Rule #2 The game doesn’t start until you say your release word – “release”, “okay”, “free doggie!!!”.
Rule #3 Your dog always wins the toy. (!!!)
Rule #4 Once your dog gets the toy, ask for a “drop”. If your dog drops it, start playing again!
Watch this fantastic video showing how to use the toy and even great training tips!
When dogs have stuff to do it keeps them busy (and out of trouble!). It burns up extra mental energy and can help relax. It builds confidence by learning new skills.
All with minimal effort from you.
Step 1. Put treats or dry dog food in toy.
Step 2. Supervise while your dog plays.
First on the list is The Buster Cube!
This glorious cube shaped toy has not only lasted years in my home, it’s also been a great resource for keeping my dog busy. Fill with dry food or your favorite treats and watch as your dog gleefully rolls the toy around to make the goodies inside slowly fall out. You can purchase one for around $15 from Amazon.com
As I described in my blog post, this Kong toy is big chewer approved. Check out my post for some fun and creative ways to fill this toy for tons of entertainment. Easy ideas include a swipe of peanut butter or cream cheese but can include just about anything that is dog safe. These keep my Tank busy for a looong time!
Raw marrow bones can be another great choice. They are an excellent way to keep teeth clean and can be a safe way to chew away boredom. Watch your dog carefully the first few times to make sure your dog isn’t taking chunks of bone off. Chewing can also help relieve stress in dogs. Do be sure to give in a crate or on another easily sanitized surface. I have found these available for purchase at speciality the butcher pet boutiques, pet stores, and even my grocery store. Be sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure this is a good choice for your dog.
Home made toys can be another fun option! Check out some of these great ideas from BarkPost. Home made toys tend to be less durable but are fun and inexpensive to make. Picured at left is an easy to make treat dispenser from a few pieces of PVC found at a local hardware. Get out your drill and voila!
P.S. Join the “Canine Enrichment” group on Facebook.
Thanks for reading! Never hesitate to ask questions via comment, phone, text or email.
Andrea Kutzko Dog Training