With the festive season approaching, our dogs often get left home alone, or if they are lucky enough to attend the family celebrations; may become a nuisance. Either scenario will require you to ensure your dog’s have plenty to keep them busy throughout the day to allow you to have a relaxing day with your family.
Most of you probably have your house and backyard full of toys for your dog to play with. These toys are often enjoyed by your dog while you are around to show off to. But not so much when you are not home or requires you to pay full attention interacting with the toy and your dog. By offering toys that involve food your dog will be interested in playing with the toy for longer, by themselves. These ideas do not need to be use only as an entertainment method while you are busy, but may act as a fun Christmas (or any day of the year) activity for your dog to enjoy.
Firstly, it is best to eliminate your dog’s food bowl for that day in order to utilise their days’ worth of kibble for entertainment through the day. Below are some ideas of feeding your dog in to keep him/her busy and entertained without overfilling them with naughty treats.
- Feed dry food using a food ball, Kong wobbler or food puzzle
- Use your dog’s dry food to bulk up stuffing a Kong with other moist treats. You can even hang a Kong from a tree or beam of your pergola to act as a piñata to create more fun for your dog.
- Set up a ‘treasure hunt’ by hiding dry food or treats (chews, a bone, stuffed Kong) around the yard or inside the house for your dog to use their natural instincts to sniff out and find.
- Float dry food or other treats in a clam shell of water to ‘bob for kibble’ or a sand pit to encourage your dog to dig and find them. For indoor dogs use shredded paper in a clam shell as ‘dirt’.
- Freeze dry food, treats, a bone and, or pigs ear etc. in an ice-cream container or butter container with dilute stock to make a yummy ice block.
These ideas may not all suit your dog, so make sure you choose the right ones that you know your dog will enjoy. Watch, encourage or assist them the first few times to ensure they know what to do and will be capable of enjoying the activity without your involvement. Wishing you and your dog an enjoyable Christmas.
Veterinary Nurse Kirstie Hancock is qualified in animal behaviour with her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services through the Delta Society. She has lots of great tips and ideas when it comes to misbehaving pets. Keep an eye out for her monthly tips on our Facebook page. Also check out her own business Facebook page – Positive Paws.