Our dogs provide us with unconditional love, are always happy to see us and listen to our problems, but do we give them enough of our time and attention? Is your dog’s life interesting? How often do we take the dog on the same walk, at the same time, perhaps even while on the phone and let them amuse themselves?
Here some fun and easy activities that you could fit into your daily routine to make your dog’s life more interesting:
Foraging – You can throw your dog’s food out in the garden and let them forage for it. Initially, you might have to put it in small piles and start to spread it out to teach them the game. Then you can start to put it in more and more difficult places around the garden.
Food Toys – You can stuff their food into a Kong toy and let them work out how to get the food out. You could also pour hot water over the kibble, when it has cooled down and is soft, stuff it into the Kong and then freeze it so it is harder for your dog to get out. There are a variety of stuffable toys, you also could think about using toilet roll tubes or egg boxes and close the ends so that your dog has to get them open. In the hot weather you could put some of your dog’s kibble in a plastic container and fill with water and freeze. This will keep your dog cool and amused.
Learn to Earn – You can keep part of your dog’s meal aside to for training purposes so they have to earn their food. You can do basic training as part of your walk with dog and challenge your dog, you can you work towards a longer sit or an out of sight stay etc.
Find it – You can hide portions of your dog’s food around the house/garden and tell them to go ‘find’. Initially, you will need to let your dog see you hiding the food, then you could start to hide the food further away, then out of sight so they have to use their nose to find the food.
Let your dog talk you for a walk – Where is your dog’s favourite place? Let your dog’s nose guide your walk and see where they take you.
Canicross – Have you tried running with your dog? Canicross is a where your dog runs ahead of you using a harness. It provides you and your dog with exercise, mental stimulation and helps to create a bond.
Agility – If your dog is over a year old and active, they may enjoy agility. Agility is where your dog jumps over hurdles and goes over obstacles such as the dog walk, a frame or through a tunnel. Agility is great for creating a bond with your dog and as well as keeping the focused.
Most importantly, have fun with your dogs.