Most pet parents pay a great deal of attention to their pet’s physical health but rarely do they give a thought to their mental health. Canine psychological health needs as much attention as their physical health if not more. A dog with good mental health will be calm and in a much better position to deal with stress. Likewise, good emotional health also enables a dog to enjoy life to the fullest which then naturally reflects in her/his physical health as well. Let us study some ways to keep your dog entertained indoors, in the yard and whilst you are at work.
Teaching your dog basic tricks like Sit, Come, Stay and Down or Roll not only come in handy; they also teach your dog basic discipline. Basic discipline training also helps you bond with your puppy and will keep him/her entertained for hours. While this may be a tiring prospect for the owners, a few days is all it takes to teach these basic commands to a dog. The key is to remain consistent- teach a little bit every day. You need not spend hours on basic training since puppies have shorter attention spans. It is important to use healthy treats when training your pet and ensure that he does not eat too much which could affect his appetite. Check out these 10 games your pup will love playing with you.
Move on to traditional favorites
Once your pet is a bit older-say 4-6 months, you can move on to slightly more advanced tricks including these traditional favorites:
- Shake hands (left and right)
- Fetch or take
- Drop or give
- Balance and catch
- Play dead
Teach him chores
To entertain your dog for hours, you can spend some time in teaching him chores as follows:
- Fetch slippers/newspapers
- Get your leash/harness
- Say prayers
- Go in the kennel/crate
- Pick up/tidy up toys
- Roll in the blanket
- Help with laundry
- Carry my bag
- Also modern conveniences- get the phone when it rings, turn of/on the light, open/close the door, pull on a rope, bring me a beer from the fridge, find the remote/car keys, push a shopping cart, bring me a tissue.
Following indoor dog activities will keep your dog happy and joyful indoors:
- Workout with me
- Doggy pushups
- Dog yoga
- Honk the horn
- Play peek-a-boo/hide-n-seek
- Act ashamed
- Play the piano
You can also try teaching your dog soccer, football, basketball, ring toss, Easter egg hunt, jump over a bar/knee/back or arms, jump rope, baton jumping etc. Hoop jump, obstacle course, climb a ladder, touch a target, roll a barrel, tunnel, crawling are some other fun tricks to entertain dog.
For smart dogs, teach them tracking an object, food refusal, counting, pick a card from the deck etc.
Toys to keep dog busy
Toys are a great way to keep dog entertained while at work. Today, you can get a wide range of dog toys including ropes, squeaky toys, kong toys, puzzles and balls. Most dogs, large and small, enjoy Kong toys. You can fill them up with some peanut butter or other treats. Your pet can spend happy hours chewing the toy to access the treat. This is a simple trick to keep your dog entertained for hours inside his crate when you are at work. Many toys can be frozen as well and these are great for teething puppies with sensitive gums. These toys can help you prevent unwanted behavior such as chewing furniture or tearing up bedsheets in puppies. Here are some more tips when buying toys to keep your dog busy:
- Avoid toys that could pose a choking hazard to your pet. It is important to choose toys according to your pet’s size and weight.
- Keep rotating the toys regularly so that your pet is not bored.
- Create a toy area or toy box which the pet can access easily and entertain himself for hours while you are away.
A tired dog is a sleepy dog. Keep your dog well exercised daily. Take him to different places to provide a variety of sights, sounds and smells. You can even get your dog to swim. To keep your dog entertained in yard, provide a small splash pool. Try hiding a bone and get Fido to dig it out. Sure you will need to bathe him afterwards but he is bound to be one happy and tired pooch! If your dog likes car journeys, then a spin in the car is a great way to entertain and tire him out.
Schedule rest days
Some dogs tend to get overwhelmed with too much activity, too many new people etc. For such breeds, you need to schedule couch days or rest days. On such a day, you must not schedule any training or strenuous activity. You can sing, or play some classical music. Also read to your dog or watch DVDs. Simply having you around will give your dog some well deserved break to unwind and recuperate.
Dog training classes near you
Search for outdoor or indoor dog activities near you and you are sure to find good trainers and day care centers where your pet can learn, play and interact with other dogs. Trick/mental or agility training classes will definitely make your dog smarter, happier and healthier. Make sure you follow all basic precautions like vaccinating your pet, using tick/flea defense and also spaying/neutering your dog to prevent unwanted offspring.
Some more tips for keeping dog busy in a crate or yard
Here are some tips and tricks to entertain your dog for hours inside his/her crate:
- Fill up a doggy bag with dog biscuits, scrunch up
- Tie a bottle to the top of the crate, preferable at a height. Make a small hole for treats to fall out of the bottle. Show your dog how treats fall out of the bottle.
- Make ropes from old, clean clothes. Tie these in large knots. Place your pet’s favorite treats inside the knots.
- Roll up treats inside rolls of toilet paper or cardboard rolls. Let your pet figure out how to access the treats.
- Cut up holes in a plastic bottle so that treats fall out. Place the bottle in the dog’s crate. Make it enticing by smearing some peanut butter on the outside. Your puppy will spend hours chewing the bottle to access the treats inside.
- Hide his favorite food in varying spots and get him to find it. Make this progressively harder.
We hope these tips and tricks help you keep your dog entertained indoors.