Dogs of just about any age love to play. Regular play activities keep them active and healthy. While many different play toys and equipment are available at your local pet store, you can accomplish the same results with some recycled or inexpensive material and a little bit of time. Whether you are looking for indoor play toys or an outdoor playground for your favorite pooch, creating your own equipment allows you to cater to your dog’s likes and dislikes.
Ropes, Socks and Towels
While the local pet store offers a wide variety of tug toys, you can make your own with old socks, a long piece of rope or an old towel. Simply tie knots in the material at a desired length and let the games begin. By threading the old sock or rope through an old tennis ball, you can create a throwing and chewing toy for both outdoor and indoor use.
A Toy and a Treat?
If you are looking for a piece of play equipment that you can offer your pooch when you are going to be away for a short time, a treat puzzle may be the answer. What dog doesn’t like treats? With an old tennis ball and a knife, you can create an easy alternative to the store-bought puzzle games. Simply cut a small slice in the tennis ball with the knife and stuff the treats or kibble into the ball. As your dog chews on the ball, treats release.
Where’s the Bone?
For dogs that enjoy digging, a sandbox provides an entertaining backyard playground. You may choose to build a wooden sandbox or recycle an old child’s sandbox. Simply fill the box with sand and invite your dog to dig. If he needs a little digging motivation, add in a game of hide-and-seek. Place some of his favorite toys or treats into the sand and tell him to find them.
Time to Hit the Backyard Gym
With adjustable jumps, balance beams and weave poles, canine agility is like the Olympics for dogs. For active dogs, these activities offer a great way to work off excess energy. Official agility equipment can be expensive, but you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Create jumps and weave poles with pieces of PVC pipes and joints. By making your own, you can adjust the height of the jumps to your dog’s size. Create a rectangle frame and hang a bicycle tire from the center to create a tire jump for smaller dogs.
- Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images