With the nation’s dog owners set to spend National Pet Month (April 1 to May 10) indoors, Dogs Trust shares their tips to keep their dogs happy with simple household items.
Jenna Kiddie, Head of Canine Behaviour at Dogs Trust, said: “We understand that owners may be looking for ways to keep their dogs occupied, especially when the current advice is to go outside just once a day for exercise with your four-legged friend. Whilst physical exercise is important for your dog, mental stimulation is also essential to help keep them happy. You can make it fun for them and because they’re using their brains, it’s just as tiring as physical exercise.
“It’s really easy for you to keep your dog’s brain busy from the comfort of your own home using simple household items. From activities involving their favourite treats, to games using things you may have left over from online deliveries, there are many ways you can keep your dog active, without stepping outside your front door.”
Dogs Trust has come up with eight fun ways to entertain your dog with a cardboard box and tubes whilst you’re staying indoors and asking people to share their pictures and videos using hashtag #MyDogisForLife and tagging @DogsTrust on Twitter and Instagram.
- The paw-fect figure 8 – get two boxes and set them out a little distance apart. Hold your dog’s treats or a favourite toy in one hand and slowly start to move them in a figure of eight around the two items, swapping the reward into your other hand at the centre point. One arm will guide your dog around the item to the left and the other arm will guide your dog around the item to your right. Repeat several times until you’ve got the movement smooth and well-rehearsed.
- Digging deep – shred or scrunch up newspaper or any paper items and pop them in an empty box. Drop in some treats or toys, and watch your dog dig away.
- Paws-up: Can you get them to put their front feet on the box? Their back feet? Can you get them to run round to the left, to the right? Can smaller dogs sit in the box? Think outside of the box and we’re sure you won’t be able to contain yourself with all this fun!
- Bowling balls:Create a 10-pin bowling alley with spare kitchen roll tubes. Have a competition and see how many pins you can knock down vs. your dog!
- Tunn-els of fun: Cut the sides of a few boxes and line them up to make your very own DIY tunnel. Encourage your dog to go through with the promise of treats or their favourite toy at the end of the tunnel!
- Jog your dog’s memory: Lay out multiple boxes in a semi-circle and pop a treat in one of them, making sure your dog is watching. Hold up a sheet to block your furry friend’s vision, drop and then see if they remember which box the treat was in! Repeat the game and change the box with the treat in, see how many times they get it right!
- Snoot challenge:next level – remember the original snoot challenge where you had to make a circular shape with your hands and wait for your pooch to run up and put their nose through the hole? Building from this, cut a hole out in your box and see if you can get your dog to poke their nose through it! *boop*
- Teach your dog to read– for starters write different words (e.g. sit, down, paw) on different boxes that you want your dog to learn. Say the word that’s on the specific box in front of them, and ask them to do what the word says. When your dog does as you’ve asked, reward them with a tasty treat and repeat several times until your dog has associated the new word, with the specific box!
Images and videos shared with Dogs Trust will appear on the My Dog Is For Life webpage feed for others to see and take inspiration from. www.dogstrust.org.uk/mydogisforlife
For more information, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk.