Enrichment activities to keep your dog entertained
Dogs are social, intelligent and active animals. That’s why it’s so important to provide them with safe and suitable opportunities to exercise their bodies and minds.
That’s where enrichment activities come in. They are beneficial both mentally and physically, helping to prevent your dog getting bored during the day. At the same time, they will teach a variety of skills such as problem-solving, confidence, agility and searching. So, when creating a routine for your dog, it’s a good idea to plan in some time for these.
Here’s some enrichment ideas that will keep your dog entertained and prevent boredom:
Figure of Eight
This game uses your dog’s brain and body, keeping them agile while circling one box and then the other. Once you’ve mastered the basics, try moving the boxes further apart so your dog has to move a little more. You could even add in a third or fourth box to send them around.
This is great for dogs that love to dig – and much safer than digging your garden. The game allows dogs to dig and snuffle for treats, engaging in natural foraging behaviour they’ll really enjoy. It’s easy to create with recycling items and you can play this inside your home too.
Who knew toilet rolls could be so much fun? Once your dog has mastered their ball rolling (or ‘bowling’) skills, invite your household into a competition. If your dog is finding it tricky to begin with, place the ball on the floor with a few treats underneath it. As your dog sniffs for the treats the ball will start to roll and you’re off.
We all know dogs are intelligent, but you can really impress your friends with this game. Coco here can recognise the words ‘Amazon’ (so can check out the products on our store!) and ‘fetch.’ If your pooch already knows fetch means to get their toys, you may want to choose a different one. The words you pick are entirely up to you.
Can your dog remember where they saw their treat or toy dropped? If they’re acing it, make it harder by increasing the time between them seeing the reward being dropped and going to find it. You could screen it for a little longer or do a few ‘high fives’ to distract them. Make sure they have plenty of treats while they’re waiting so it’s always fun and then see if they can still remember.
A great game that teaches your dog to ‘strike a pose.’ Once they’ve learned this, you can play everywhere you go. Just make sure you check the item you’re using is safe, sturdy and won’t slip or fall underneath your dog. Think plastic boxes, upturned washing-up bowls and large plant pots - or even sturdy fallen trees to liven up your daily exercise.
This is a classic trick to teach your dog. The game gives your pooch confidence to pop their snoot into something unusual when you tell them to. They will quickly learn it’s always worth their while because there is a treat waiting on the other side. Liven it up by drawing a cartoon on the card you’re using so that their snoot will become part of it as they pop it through.
This is a great game for your dog’s confidence and suppleness. Just make sure you’ve got a box your dog can easily fit through. You can always turn a box sideways if that makes it easier for them. Young, agile dogs can also learn to creep through.
Teaching your dog to clear up their toys is a great way to stimulate their mind with target training – while keeping your house clean and tidy at the same time.
While these enrichment activities are great fun for your dog, you also need to teach them important life skills to prevent unwanted behaviours from developing as they get older. Check out our training hub to get you started and if you need a hand, Dog School is here to help.