If your dog gets bored while you’re gone to work, or maybe from just hanging around the house, add some interest to his life with canine brainteaser toys. These toys will keep him busy, amused and out of trouble. Some of them will even give him a little snack.
Decide if you want to get toys for your dog that he can play with when he’s alone, or if you’ll be home to supervise him. Some toys are great for keeping your buddy amused, but they require some supervision or he may chew them apart and they could present a choking hazard, or he might swallow pieces of the toy.
Give him part of his food stuffed inside a toy that’s the right size for him to manage. Choose from different toy styles, including a solid rubber pyramid with holes in both ends or an openwork rubber ball that is easy for him to handle. If you really want to keep him busy, stuff peanut butter inside a rubber toy or a bone that hasn’t got any sharp edges.
Add other toys to his collection that don’t use food to motivate your dog. Select your favorite hide-and-seek toy from a group of plush items such as a plush tree stump with little squirrels, a platypus and her eggs or a hive with several bees. You may have to start slowly, hiding just one of the toys in the bigger section and helping your dog to find it, but dogs that enjoy a challenge often love to play with these toys until they have found and removed all the hidden pieces. You’ll need to keep an eye on your dog when he plays with these to keep both your dog and the little plush critters safe. If these don’t appeal to you, get a board game designed just for your canine pal, and watch as he works to solve the puzzle and uncover the treat.
Create a water jug challenge by putting some dry food inside an empty plastic gallon-sized water bottle, leave the lid off and give it to him. This is a good outdoor toy for many dogs, but don’t leave him alone with it if he might chew on it, since he could create sharp plastic edges that could cut him.
Play with your dog when you can, and use that time to wear him out. Play ball or other games he likes that get him up and running. He’s less likely to get into trouble if he isn’t bursting with energy and just looking for some way to use it up.
- Join a dog-training club and get involved with dog sports. These provide a way for you and your dog to bond and will help an active intelligent dog stay entertained and amused. Herding and working dogs in particular thrive on such activities, though any dog can benefit from your attention and involvement in a dog sport. According the American Kennel Club, some of the more popular dog sports include rally, obedience and agility.