Hack Staying Home With Dogs

Try these easy hacks to maintain the peace while stuck at home.

So, you’re stuck at home and that changes your world – and your dog’s. Check out these ways to keep your dog busy, build confidence, and simply make your life easier!

These toys offer enrichment, build confidence, reduce mental energy, and some even provide tons of exercise. They can all be used as part of training! And the first half can be made at home with recycled items!

Always supervise your dog to prevent your dog from eating non-food objects.

dog ignoring hot dogs and laying politely

Hack Homemade Dog Toys



The Box Game

Dig through your house, and save your recycables. Here are some things you may want to collect!

  • Boxes of all shapes and sizes, think cereal boxes, Amazon boxes, big boxes, shoe boxes, boxes from anything.
  • Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls
  • Empty wrapping paper rolls
  • Plastic jugs or thicker water bottles
  • Wrapping paper, tissue paper, or news paper
  • Drill with bit between 1/4″ and 1″
  • Training Treats or Dry Food
  • Thin plastic bottles
  • PVC Pieces

Hack Your Recyling

Not for dogs that eat cardboard. Not for dogs that want to tear open packages from Amazon. Definitely requires supervision. I have no problem with my dog destroying boxes because he only plays with HIS.

Items Required (or substitued creatively!):

  • Toilet paper rolls, paper towel rules, or wrapping paper tubes
  • Wrapping paper, news paper, or tissue paper
  • Tons of boxes from your tons of Amazon purchases that you just dug out of the recycling because you love your dog
  • Your dog’s favorite tiny pieces of treats
  • Dental chew (optional)

Step 1. Fold the flaps down on the toilet paper rolls. First the top.

unnamed.jpgStep 2. Stick tiny treats inside your new created contained and fold the bottom in. Check the photo to the right for an idea.

Step 4. Hide treats inside crumpled shipping paper or news paper.

Step 5. Put the crumples of paper or toilet paper tubes into boxes.

Step 6. Nest the boxes together for a more difficult challenge.

Step 7. Fold the final box flaps in so that it stays closed.

Step 8. Let your dog HAVE AT IT!

Step 9. Laugh, and actually enjoy your after dinner appertiff without your dog acting cra cra.

And if you can’t make your own…

These are my Amazon dog toy winners. These are the toys that have made a significant impact in my dog’s well being (and my own!) They aren’t just your regular fluffy rabbit. These toys tire your dogs out, burn down mental energy, and can be a huge boon to restoring peace in your house.

Hands Down #1 Winner: Dog Flirt Teaser Pole $14

SYOOY Dog Extendable Teaser Wand Pet Teasing Flirt Pole Interactive Toy with 1 Cotton Chewing Rope for Training Exercising Pulling

This thing is a beast that just keeps on entertaining. Fantasic training tool. Even better sleeping tool. Play with this thing for 10 minutes and watch your dog crash hard after running non-stop. (Having the time of his life!)

Follow this link to watch a flirt pole in action.

Best Toy for Destructive Dogs: The Buster Cube $15

Kruuse Buster Food Cube Feeder, Purple

Also known as my “food bowl”. I feed a lot of meals in this thing. Simply open and dump dry dog kibble in. Treats fall out as it rolls around. Mine is a whopping 8 years old! At 6″ with rounded corners, it is just literally impossible for our dogs to pick this up. If they can’t pick it up, they can’t chew it.

Say No More: The Infamous  Kong Toy $10-$25

KONG – Extreme Dog Toy – Toughest Natural Rubber, Black – Fun to Chew, Chase and Fetch – For Large Dogs

Famous for a reason! Do more than stick a few treats inside… that’s boring! This can be the most entertaining toy in your arsenal. To introduce to your dog, smear a tiny bit of peanut butter around the inside room. To make it harder, freeze it.

Extreme Mode: Stuff with ALL KINDS OF STUFF! For ideas, check out my blog post. The black “Extreme” Kong is pit bull tough. I own 6. That means at any given time, I have a few of these babies frozen and ready to go for my kiddo.

The Hottest Craze in Dog Enrichment: Licki Mat $11

Hyper Pet Boredom Buster Slomo – LickiMat, Slow Feeder Mat & Anxiety Relief (Perfect for Dog Food, Dog Treats, Cat Food, Cat Treats)[Fun Alternative to Slow Feed Dog Bowl & Snuffle Mat]

This thing is awesome! Cheat and smear peanut butter, canned pumpkin, or wet dog food. Freeze overnight before giving to your dog.

Extreme Mode: Use wet stuff as “glue” on the bottom of the mat. Stick pieces of dry dog food on top and freeze.

P.S. My dog chewed this up.

My Top Toy of 2020: The Foobler $23

Yoyipet [Second Generation] The Foobler Timed, Self Reloading Puzzle Feeder Ball for Dog Training and Play-4 inches Blue and Orange

Probably not great for big dogs or heavy chewers. Six time released compartments open at set intervals of 15 minutes, 30, minutes, or more. At the start of the next interval, the ball with DING! letting your dog know the toy is now open for delivery. (P.S. Your dog WILL learn what the ding means!)

My dear friend Finn was kind enough to review this toy. He managed to really damage the plastic.  

Challenging Toy: Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug $9

PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal-Dispensing Dog Toy Use with Kibble or Treats

The bottom unscrews and you can add dry dog kibble or treats. Your dog must figure out how to pull the rope in just the right way so that the treats fall out. This was way TOO HARD for my dog. We simply pulled the rope out and it still challenges him!

Entertain and Slow Fast Eaters: Fun Feeder $10

Outward Hound Fun Feeder Flower Purple

Feeding your dog’s dry meal out of this can really make eating a lot more fun! Instead of scarfing down every morsel, this toy makes your dog work, lick, and paw to earn his meal. I like to use canned dog food or pumpkin as a glue. Then I press dry food on top and freeze it. Don’t forget to freeze it!

Balls for Ball Dogs and Everyone Else: Food Dispensing Ball $11 for 2

Pelay Dog Ball Toys for Pet Tooth Cleaning/Chewing/Playing,IQ Treat Ball Food Dispensing Toys of 2 Non-Toxic Soft Rubber Ball.

I ordered this on a whim and I am sold!! These balls have “shark teeth” that can be opened and small bits of treats or food can be stuck inside. Sometimes I’ll stick a dental chew through the whole in the middle. Not every dog loves balls, but every dog loves balls with food!

Puzzle Toy: Treat Toy with Slow Feeder Bowl $25

Tarvos Interactive Dog and Cat Treat Puzzle Toy – Slow Dispensing Food – Promotes Smart Brain Stimulation and Healthy Eating – No More Boredom – FDA Certified – Adjustable Height for Small/Medium Dog

This toy is nuts! Fill the green part with food and watch as your dog nudges, paws, or even licks trying to knock the food from the cylinder. As if that weren’t tricky enough, after falling from the cylinder the dog must manage to lick up fallen pieces from the maze on bottom.

Coolest Frisbee $13

Chuckit! Flying Squirrel Spinning Dog Toy, (Orange/Blue), Multicolor, Medium (10 in x 10 in) (0511300)

This toy weighs just ounces and floats effortlessly, and unpredictably, into the air. Perfect challenge for frisbee dogs, and a great introduction for dogs new to frisbees.

My Husband’s Pick: Tennis Ball Launcher

Hyper Pet K9 Kannon K2 Dog Ball Launcher Interactive Dog Toys (Load & Launch Tennis Balls for Dogs to Fetch) [Best Dog Ball Launcher Toys for Large, Medium & Small Dogs], Full Size, Model: 50252EA

My husband loves to play rough, crazy, and well a little manly with my dog. He loves shooting these balls into oblivion for our dog to fetch. He also has my dog “say please” for this game. Before shooting the next ball, my husband waits for my dog to sit politely and give him eye contact.


And in case you didn’t think of it… this is a great time to train!

Using positive reinforcement training games can give your dog an opportunity to build confidence, learn new manners, behave more calmly, and can simply make your life more fun!

Some tricks to consider teaching:

  • Sitting politely for petting
  • Crawling under your legs
  • Going through your legs
  • Nudging your hand when you say “touch”
  • Catching treats
  • Stay while your knock on the door
  • Jumping over short, low objects (Know your dog’s fitness level before using anything tall!)
  • Weaving around cones or cans of food or dog toys
  • Hide and seek – Seek the person or the treat or toy

These are the treats I’m using these days:

Big Training Treats: Pet Botanics

Pet Botanics Training Rewards Treats for Dogs, Made with Real Pork Liver, Focuses, Motivates, Rewards, Speeds Up Learning Curve, No BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Bacon, 20 oz

These run about $6.99 for a whopping 20 oz bag. Contains 550 treats… which can be broken into over a 1,000 pieces. Thats 1,000 opportunities to reward your dog. Made in USA.

Small (and Cheap) Training Treats: Lil’ Bitz

Lil’ Bitz Hickory Smoked Beef Training Treats (4 oz)

Tiny and easy to tear up, these bags are 4oz for only $1.99. Made in USA.

Super High Value & Super Low Cost

Pet ‘n Shape Beef Lung Dog Treats – Made and Sourced in The USA – All Natural Healthy Treat, Bites, 1 Lb

When getting attention is tough, or emotions are high, only a stinky, high value reward will do. This is an entire FULL POUND of dehydrated lamb lung. This goes for about $8 on Amazon… or $25 at the store. Made in USA.

Super Handy: Treat Pouch

PetSafe Treat Pouch Sport- Durable, Convenient Dog Training Accessory, Standard, Black

This is by no means a neccesity. But it sure makes my life easier! I can reward fast as lightening to maximize my training effiency when I wear this belted pouch.

“Off Leash”: 20 Foot Training Lead

Hi Kiss Dog/Puppy Obedience Recall Training Agility Lead – 15ft 20ft 30ft 50ft 100ft Training Leash – Great for Training, Play, Camping, or Backyard – Orange 15ft

Take your dog “off leash” like you’ve always dreamed. Use this super long 20ft leash to keep your dog attached to you at all times but with a feeling of freedom. This is an awesome opportunity to teach your dog to come from a distance.

Check back for more ideas to keep dogs, busy, safe, and happy!