dog toys

8 Ways to Prevent Dog Boredom Like a Pro

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:

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?

8 Ways to Prevent Dog Boredom Like a Pro
Dexter and Zola love their new Hol-ee Gourmet!

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.

dog toys for interactive play

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

Trick Train

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.


Play with dog toys

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.

The excitement of seeing the PetSmart store!
The excitement of seeing the PetSmart store!

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.

enter to win

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!

discount code

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 website and use discount code BLOGPAWS

Holee Gourmet dog toys

Your Turn

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!

Similar Posts


  1. No dogs in my life – other than my family members all having dogs. Thankfully, they all (with the exception of one), live in places where they can ROAM LIKE CRAZY so they never get bored sniffing places out! My brother’s dog that doesn’t live in such a vast location does know how to keep busy though…. He is a pretty good dog, I am just not really a dog person in general though!

  2. Dogs are so much like children. If you don’t give them something to do with their time, bad behaviors begin. I love all of these ideas. There is nothing like coming home to find a mess or worse, destroyed belongings. Most dogs won’t act out if they have something to occupy their time! 🙂

    1. You hit the nail on the head. I like that these toys are engaging and so many ways to keep them occupied.

  3. I’m afraid that my dog gets bored but he has never liked playing with toys other than a frisbee. He does like treats and I have been meaning to try a toy that has treats inside. I think he would enjoy that

  4. OMG! I can just imagine my dogs playing limbo!! My dogs are so spoiled and never seem to listen to me. They go bonkers over the mail lady it anyone in uniform and these toys would be idea to deter their attention.

  5. Well, first your dogs are adorable. Second, I had no clue dogs got bored. That is so interesting. I love that dog mama’s have to work to keep them entertained. I bet a bored dog makes for a destroyed house! If I had a dog I would for sure get the limbo toy. That is so cute and I bet it is so fun to watch.

  6. I’m so happy that you mentioned mental games are as important as physical games. I could not agree with you more! We have many stimulation games for our dogs and find it just as important as the physical. We have done some trick training with our dogs and they love it. I never thought of doing the limbo, but I think I might try that with two of my dogs. We have a total of six. You brought up some great games!

  7. My golden loves to ‘play’ with the chickens. He knows he isn’t supposed to chase them so he causally runs past them to make them scatter. He likes to play with tennis balls in the house, usually when my 3 year old insists on playing fetch haha

  8. We have two dogs who are getting older in years. They do not have as much playtime left in them during the day anymore, but I remember those days when they were rowdy and experienced a lot of boredom. These are great ideas that I could have used back then!

  9. I’ve been feeling guilty because I don’t play with my dog as much as I feel I should. I think something like this would help occupy his alone time. I do still need to play with him more, though.

  10. Loving the Holee-Gourmet items! We need to teach Link not to be a jumper! He is just so good at it!
    Great ideas – dogs DO get bored and it helps to have a list like this to help them overcome it. We would not want boredom to lead to depression!

  11. I have a sheltie dog and I know working dogs really need to be entertained and stimulated to keep them busy and entertained. Your tips are great. Must buy this product for my Bella I bet she will love it =)

  12. These are great ideas! We have two dogs, one that is 6 and enjoys relaxing. He almost never seems bored. The other is 2 and is a lab/hound mix. He gets bored and then gets into trouble, usually chewing on something he is not supposed to. Having the right toys and treats is key. Also walks are always a good thing.

  13. During summer, our dog had plenty of people around to play with. But back to school means everyone’s back on their regular schedules. Got to build in more play time to beat boredom when we’re all together.

  14. We don’t have any dogs, but I imagine they might get bored easily, bless them! One of the main reasons we’ve never had a dog (despite really wanting one) is because we feel we don’t have the time to give them the attention they need and deserve 🙁

    Louise x

  15. I have to say I love your video, what a great play date! We got a HoleeGourmet toy at BlogPaws and both my dogs love it! I like that it’s very versatile, you can place different kinds of treats on the inside. Toys that provide both physical and great mental stimulation are the best for my dogs, it really works their minds.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  16. I love their thinker toys! We have a lot of their swag, and my Vino sure loves the giant squeaky with the feet! He plays fetch all evening with my little boy using that toy! Gotta mentally stimulate, and their thinker toys are a great way to do it!

  17. Oh my goodness I have to ask…do you know what type of dog the little one with the mohawk is? So cute lol. We don’t have the toys you posted about but do have quite a few other puzzle toys. Luckily I have little dogs so exercising them a bit indoors is possible if the weather is bad outside. We do training sessions everyday too, it helps keep the dogs from getting bored and bonus points, yesterday during our walk we got compliments on how well behaved they are. Who would have thought, my little terrors well behaved haha.

  18. This post is right on time. My dog needs toys and buddies. We were just talking about sending her to doggie day care a few days a week at PetSmart. She’s pretty much the 3rd kid in our house and I need to find ways for her to be entertained when I’m busy with other stuff.

    1. Oh my good, that is great timing. They have them at PetSmart or you can use code BLOGPAWS for 15 percent off online at the PetMate website.

  19. We often babysit our neighbor’s dog who is young and gets bored easily. We use the hide and seek method where we either hide is fav toy and ask him to find it (not too destructive or challenging locations) or give him a big chew bone to nibble on.

  20. These are some really great tips for keeping your dogs happy and stimulated. The Hol-ee Gourmet is a new toy I hadn’t seen, so thank you for the awesome video with your adorable pups! My mastiffs would love this, although, like Kongs, I’m sure it would quickly become a slobbery mess. What I do to make my dog’s happy!

  21. I love interactive toys! Engaging a dog’s mind is MUCH more difficult than engaging his/her body. Toys like this provide such invaluable enrichment to a dog, its hard to put into words. Staving off boredom is one of those tools that, as a dog owner, you don’t get to see working. In other words, the “boredom behaviors” like barking, chewing, whining, etc, never happen!

    1. Yes indeed – I love these types of toys to engage and busy the dog and he doesn’t even know it’s a challenge – he just goes for it. Thanks for the input and stopping by, Paul.

  22. Treat toys are a great way to beat boredom! My dog is 6 now, so she is finally starting to loose some of her puppy energy. However, we still love using puzzle treat toys to beat the boredom on days when the weather does not allow a long walk or other forms of environmental enrichment. Treat toys like this were a life-saver when she was younger and ready to get into everything if bored. I entered the giveaway.

    1. Dex is almost 9 and still puppy filled energy so I am glad he took to these toys. I am so glad you entered the giveaway, Kate, and good luck!

  23. I love JW pet toys, they are long lasting and keep my dogs very happy. Gonzo and Beau love to play with each other but I like to work on trick training with them as well as fetch and catch outside. I love the nose work idea and will definitely be trying this soon!

    1. Oh good I am glad you like that idea. JW pet toys are a staple in our family, too. Tummy rubs to your pack!

  24. These are great suggestions to keep boredom at bay now that so many people are back to school! I think Theo and Sophie would love these toys!

    1. Yes with back to school, this is a good way to entertain the dogs a bit for sure. Thanks for bringing that valuable point up, Beth!

  25. Awww .. how much fun are these?! We have two 1-year-old golden retrievers at our house who would adore playing with them. I’m so glad you mentioned training as one thing to keep them occupied. Every time they seem restless we practice something. Sit, stay, down, heel, you name it. Maybe one day they’ll have them all mastered? Maybe? Hopefully? xx

    1. Oh yes, dogs need a job. By job I mean something to do. And if they dont they can be bored, depressed, or even destructive.

  26. It took a while looking at that amazing toy to see how dog would tackle it. It looks as though it keeps someone busy for quite a while, and I think they LOOK amazing too!!!

    It takes time and dedication by a pet parent to ensure their dog is kept engaged and active and with these tips you cannot fail.

    Patent this list right now 🙂

  27. These toys look so engaging and just the right thing to keep a dog’s curious mind busy (and mouths and paws playing) – because that all leads to a healthy, happy, and tired pup! 🙂 They look pretty tough and yet pliable so that is a good combo for chewers and playful doggos. Oh, by the way, your pics are so cute and Dexter is such a doll!

  28. I love the video, and I’m so glad you showed older dogs being engaged with the toys. My dogs are also seniors who like to sleep a lot, not crazy teenage dogs that demand attention. These stimulating toys are great for the cooler months when they are stuck inside a lot more.

    1. Dex is going to be 9 years young…and he just passed AKC novice and AKC intermediate trick dog titles. So yes, dogs of any age can master something new yay

  29. I love the variety of different activities you’ve shared and how different activities can exercise different muscles. My strategy with our two pups is to try to do a few short engaging activities through the day, a short walk or two if I can, and then one big activity like a long walk or trip to the dog park each day.

  30. Great ideas to keep dogs happy and avoid boredom and destructive behaviours. I’ll check out the toys. With the winters here, I am always looking for engaging toys. I spend at least 10 minutes training Kilo every single day. On top of that, we play a game, do a puzzle or do a trick every hour and take a short walk every 2 or 3 hours. I work mainly from home. Kilo snoozes a lot but then comes and bugs me if he is bored. He has a large collection of toys and puzzles and he loves Go Find where I throw a toy or treat and he runs and finds it. He also loves soccer with empty plastic water bottles. He does not like Playdates as he was very poorly socialized – he only has one small “friend” Maya he tolerates (he likes her house and large fenced in backyard and she ignores him). We also do trips to PetSmart for shopping and socialization.

  31. These are such great tips! These are things that I’ve done myself back when I still had a dog. Aaah… this really makes me miss having a dog! Too bad, my traveling lifestyle is holding me back from doing it because I don’t want to leave my dog too much nor do I want to make him (suffer) go on flights with me.

    1. That is good idea to hold off on being a dog mom with a busy life unless there is someone with the dog while you travel. Many wags of gratitude for your kind words, Aileen!

  32. Love, love love this post Carol because not enough can be written about this subject. I mention the words “mental stimulation” to people and they look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language. Okay I’m learning Spanish but I am speaking to them in English. Don’t even get me started on how little physical exercise some dogs are getting. It’s heartbreaking to me when I hear people say their dog basically lies around all day because they’re old, have arthritis, already went on their one short walk a day…whatever the excuse. You show how easy it is to entertain a dog, and half the time the human doesn’t even have to get off the couch. I hope dog parents take these simple tips seriously and start giving their pups the stimulation they need.

    1. I am so happy to hear you say that. Us dog moms have so far to go…. dogs need mental stimulation and so many pet parents are clueless…we need to help. TY for being a voice for the animals, Hindy.

  33. Very good ideas Dexter! I start feeling guilty if I give the dogs a toy with treats inside like I’m being cruel or teasing them. I usually give in and give the treat to them if they can’t get it. I’ve tried teaching Taffy to shake because she loves to use her paw for attention, but let’s just say it’s a good thing she’s cute, she just doesn’t seem to get it. Did you know that Dolly’s name was Zola at the shelter? I never thought anyone would have a dog named Zola! Sandra and Dolly

    1. OMG I never knew another dog named Zola. That is amazing. I bet that Taffy would be good at the tricks.

  34. Getting food out of tight spaces like a Kong or one of the toys you’ve mentioned are great. My dogs won’t stop until they are clean as a whistle. I can’t really have two treat games out in the open – one has to be crated – because they will then add the next level of play which is to try and steal the other dog’s toy.

  35. With Cookie, we spend on average at least 3 hours outside, broken down into 4 or more walks depending on the conditions. (very hot or very cold equals more shorter ones. That, in general, does the trick. At home, she gets a raw meaty bone to chew on and on some days there are trips to town with Daddy. That gives her 4 – 5 hours of activity per day.

  36. These are fantastic ideas for the dogs. A bored dog is no fun-I found out the hard way. I had no couch, no chair, and tons of newspaper all over the house. Not to mention multiple chewed shoes that she found out how to get in the storage box with the lid snapped on. No, boredom is not good for dog or human.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.