Last updated on August 12, 2019
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PetMate. The opinions and text are all mine.
“My dog is bored, do you have any ideas to keep him occupied?” Knowing how to prevent dog boredom is one of the most asked questions we receive here in the Fidose of Reality offices.
Of all the lessons dogs have taught me throughout my life, the greatest is that living in the moment is what life is all about. I’ve heard dog/ parents say, “I can’t play with my dog any longer, he has arthritis” or “I want to play with my dog, but he’s old and can’t last long.” My advice? Make do with what you have! No matter what your dog’s age, there are things you can do to keep his brain spry.
From enrichment toys to clever mental stimulation ideas, here are 8 ways to prevent dog boredom like a pro:
Brain Game: Flex Fido’s Cerebral Muscle
Mental exercise is as important as physical exercise, so keep a dog’s brain active and his instincts keen. Depending on your dog’s size and preference, consider the Petmate® JW® Hol-ee Gourmet™ dog toy collection, which comes in three designs and two sizes. Our dog tested out the turkey leg, steak, and the peanut. Made of long-lasting rubber and nylon, the outer shell can be stuffed with larger treats while the inner nylon “bone” is ready for pet-safe peanut butter or another spreadable canine delicacy. Ensure the piece of treat can actually fall out of the toy. The goal is to encourage game play but not to drive your dog bonkers because the treats are stuck inside the toy. See?
Hol-ee Hide & Seek
Hide and go seek is a perfect year-round game for dogs of all ages. Not only does this game work perfectly on rainy days, but it heightens a dog’s sense of smell in a fun and rewarding manner. Start out with a few of your pooch’s favorite treats and put them in the Hol-ee Gourmet Dog Toy. This game will require two people initially. One person stays with Fido in a room while the other hides. When ready to be sought, the hidee lets out a “come, Fido” or “whoo hoo” sound to initiate the game. As Fido scours room to room, occasionally let out a verbal signal. Once found, praise him like he just won an Olympic medal and reward with the Hol-ee Gourmet dog toy. Once the dog gets the treats out of the toy, do another round or two or three. One caveat: Be sure the favorite Limoges vase or grandma’s heirloom plates are removed first.
Play Date With a Canine Pal
For dog parents with multiple pets, this is a fun group game—or good for a gathering of friends with dogs. Dexter’s BFF is an All-American Pooch named Zola, who is 13 years young. We decided to gift Zola with some of the Hol-ee gourmet dog toys. Her keen vision, hearing, and mental astuteness is thanks to her diligent dog mom. Be certain the dogs get along and do not fuss at each other for the toys. For a competitive spin, time each dog. The quickest canine is dubbed the winner. Here’s how our day unfolded thanks to these fun dog toys:
Teach No Jump
Perhaps your dog is a jumper. Maybe when company stops by, your precious pup is so excited to see the person that he or she jumps on their legs or lap. Keep a Hol-ee Gourmet toy on hand and stuff with a few treats when company is coming. Have the guest hand Fido the toy so that he or she has something to busy them while the guests enter your dwelling. #winwin
We are huge advocates of trick training to build confidence and give the dog a job to do. A dog with a ‘job’ is a happy dog, and by job we mean doing something that makes them feel good, pleasing for you, and the dog is satisfied. Oh, and it also really helps nurture the bond you have with your dog. For example, shake paws is a nice stretch for the shoulder muscles but be sure to do both front paws 5 to 10 reps for a balanced workout.
When teaching a dog any new tricks or games:
- Positive reinforcement
- Never force a dog to do something
- Start slow
- Work in short bursts- no more than 10 to 15 minutes and always end on a positive note
- Don’t get frustrated or mad at the dog: Patience is key.
Indoor Dog Limbo
Using a standard agility hurdle, dogs get their Caribbean groove on with this variation of “How low can you go?” fun. Let the music play while dogs walk under the limbo stick, lowering the bar a notch each round. The last dog to successfully go under the limbo stick without knocking it off wins. As an aside, I’ve actually judged a doggy limbo contest and it is incredibly fun, especially for the dogs who get oh so low.
This will help work the different muscle groups and is a repetition of sit, down, stay, and then tell the dog to get up. You want to reward for each set. I use small and low-calorie treats. You can even use one of the Hol-ee Gourmet dog toys as a final reward as you wind down the session so the dog can have some independent fun.
Take a Trek to PetSmart
“I train German police dogs. They send them to me, with all this formal training, they are prepared to defend and protect, but they are clueless when it comes to walking into a pet supply store. So I take them to PetSmart® to start getting them used to everyday life, the feeling of the floor on their paws, and how to socialize with people in the general public.”
Those are the words of an acclaimed nationally known dog trainer, who a few years ago, shared those words with me during an interview on how to properly socialize a dog. Every week, my dog and I have a standing “Mommy and Me” date where we go out as a family and start at PetSmart so he can pick out a new dog toy or treat while I get his supplies.
On your next trip to PetSmart, stop by the toy and enrichment section and pick up a Hol-ee Gourmet dog toy for your pining pooch! You can see a pack of pooches enjoying their Petmate toys on Petmate’s Instagram page.
Fetch Your Dog a Holee-Gourmet: Giveaway Time!
Your dog could win a 3-pack of Hol-ee Gourmet enrichment toys by visiting the Petmate Facebook Giveaway: Easy peasy!
Head on over to Petmate Facebook and use this Facebook Giveaway Link to enter! Good luck, and you have until September 25th!
Snag a Doggone Pawsome Deal
From the comfort of your mobile phone or computer, use discount code BLOGPAWS to save 15 percent off your purchase of Hol-ee Gourmet dog toys. Since Santa is coming soon, shelters could use some toys, and the price is right, shop til you drop…or at least wag til you drag. Okay okay, no more puns. You get the idea: 15 percent off is a fab price cut! Stock up and save and beat the holiday rush!
Visit the Petmate.com website and use discount code BLOGPAWS
What’s your favorite form of preventing dog boredom? Will you be using code BLOGPAWS to reward your dog with a Hol-ee Gourmet dog toy? Bark at us in the comments below!