Pooches all over the country are experiencing the perks of spending more time with their favourite humans. However, just like their owner, a dog’s normal routine is likely to have been interrupted by the current lockdown measures.
Maybe all the extra household activity is disturbing their average 12-14 hours sleep quota. Perhaps they’re struggling to understand that a laptop does not mean they get to sit on a lap all day. And for highly energetic dogs, the ‘once a day for exercise’ rule might be playing havoc with their four-legged fun.
Whatever the reason, this sudden change may leave a dog feeling restless, unsettled or bored. And we all know a bored dog can be a mischievous one, which is why it’s important to ensure your canine companion is kept mentally stimulated and entertained. To help channel a dog’s enthusiasm and allow owners to carry on with what they need to, leading dog-friendly holiday company and lifestyle destination, PetsPyjamas, have devised a list of simple poochy boredom busters to bust out throughout the day. Here goes…
1. Play tug of war
There’s nothing like a good game of tug of war to tire out an energetic dog. By setting aside five minutes or so every couple of hours to play a quick game of tug, a pooch will be kept stimulated, both physically and mentally. Whether it’s a bit of rope, a toy, or old socks, a dog will do its best to yank it from human clutches.
2. Play nose games
Hide treats around the house/garden and send a curious canine on a search and sniff mission. It’s at the owners discretion as to how many treats to hide, but make it hard enough and a dog could be snooping around for hours. An easier and quicker way to peak a dog’s interest is a simple game of ‘which hand is it’. Either way, nose games can be super fun and mentally stimulating for a pup.
3. Interactive dog toys
Toys such as Kong Wobblers or other food dispenser toys are great for keeping dogs occupied. A persistent pooch won’t stop until they get their treat, so there’s no chance of them getting bored.
4. Doggy puzzles
Poochy puzzles are a brilliant way to burn some of your pup’s mental energy. Treat puzzles like the Dog Brick and Dog Tornado by Nina Ottosson are sure to keep your dog busy. Certain breeds, such as sheepdogs, hunting dogs and herding dogs tend to have a problem-solving mindset, so puzzles can be incredibly satisfying for them.
5. Build a digging box
Dogs love to dig, but to preserve the state of the garden, it might be a good idea to build their very own digging box. There are various examples of these on Pinterest, but all that is needed is four wooden sleepers, some sand/soil, and a digging doggie. Bury their favourite toys or treats in this mini pooch playground, and a canine will be entertained for hours.
6. Tricks & training
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – but actually, it’s never too late to teach a dog something new. In fact, older dogs can sometimes be easier to train than pups, purely because they are able to concentrate for longer. Aside from basic obedience commands such as ‘sit’, ‘lay’, ‘stay’ and ‘come’, there are various other commands to teach a dog to improve discipline.
7. Indoor fetch
A game of indoor fetch (if played carefully) can actually be a fantastic way to keep a hound mentally and physically active. Find an area of the home that is safe to play – an empty hallway or large space is always good. Get a ball or their favourite toy and throw it to fetch and return to you. Play this for 5 or 10 minutes every few hours for a worn-out pooch.
8. Chew Chew!
Most dogs love to chew – and although they’ll chew on pretty much anything that fits in their mouth, there are a load of brilliant chew toys out there that will keep a dog occupied for hours. From bacon-infused bones to bouncy balls and of course, the classic Kong, there’s a huge range of super yummy and durable toys available.
With current restrictions on how far we can go with our dogs, as well as being restricted to one outing for exercise, the daily mooch could easily become a bit groundhog day! Dogs love to snoop out their surroundings and find new things, so wherever possible – and in a way that allows sufficient social distancing – switch things up with a new path or trail to make the experience more interesting for a four-legged friend.
10. Petflix ‘n’ Chill
There is actually such a thing called DogTV, a channel scientifically developed to entertain and relax a dog. Accessible through the DogTV app, Apple TV, Fire TV and iOS/Android, the channel plays “special content created to meet specific attributes of a dog’s sense of vision and hearing, supporting their natural behaviour patterns.” Alternatively, for something to enjoy together in downtime, check out our Luxe article on ‘Petflix & Chill Movies with PetsPyjamas‘.