Table of Contents
And ripping up pillows shouldn’t be one of them!!
Dogs, especially puppies, get into trouble. They explore their world and often put everything in their mouths. Dogs love to dig and chew and tear things up. It’s fun!! Of course, it’s not so much fun when you come home to find your favorite pillow and a dog bed ripped to shreds. It’s important to know some games to play with your dog and ways to keep your dog entertained
I am lucky, I work from home, so monitoring the dogs is fairly easy (in theory). But, you cannot watch them constantly and it only takes a few minutes for major destruction to occur. When I came home one day to find my hallway carpet pulled up, I knew that I had to find things to keep my dog entertained and mentally stimulated.
Please note: It’s really important to crate train your dog. It’s not a punishment. In the wild, dogs have dens. It’s a place to sleep and where they can find comfort and solitude while you know they are safe and secure. Dylan is 5 years old and still loves going into his crate. So, while it’s an eyesore in the living room, I would not dream of removing it.
But let’s face it, I did not always use the crate. And often, when you work from home, you have to work (SHOCKING I know) and watching young dogs isn’t possible. So what do you do?!?
A tired dog is a good dog!! And that doesn’t just mean physically tired. Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is important as well.
5 things to help keep your dogs entertained
That is correct!! You can go to the store and buy a whole coconut and it will give your dogs hours of cheap entertainment—I know it keeps my dog entertained. Depending where you buy the coconut, it may still have the long fibers/hairs attached to it. These probably can cause digestive upset, so just try and remove them. The shells are hard, if your dog is an obsessive chewer, just keep an eye out as you don’t want them damaging their teeth.
Dylan loves playing chase with whole coconuts and nibbling on the outside shells. After a few days, you can crack the coconut open and assuming the coconut milk is still good, you can give some to your dog (you can have some as well). You can share the pulp with your dog as well. Whenever introducing a new food, start slowly otherwise you may be dealing with some diarrhea.
PUZZLE GAME: SODA BOTTLE WITH KIBBLE
If your dog is a fast eater, you can buy a slow feeder. OR, you can create your own. Take a clean plastic bottle—make sure to remove the label if possible and the plastic ring on top—and fill with your dog’s kibble (what you would normally feed in one sitting) or some treats. Your dog will have to figure out how to get out the kibble if he/she wants to eat. This will force your dog to slow down and it will keep them entertained.
When I first started using this technique, it would take Dylan at least 30 minutes to eat all his food. As he got better at it, he got faster at finishing but anything is better than the 30 seconds without the soda bottle.
I prefer to make my slow feeders as I find that a lot of similar puzzle slow feeders are hard to clean. At least with this, I can easily clean it and then pop it in the recycling when we are done.
PUZZLE GAME: MUFFIN TIN & TENNIS BALL
This is another fun interactive game you can play with your dog. All you need is a muffin tin, a couple of balls of some sort, and some kibble (or treats). Don’t let your dog see. Now, put some treats in a couple of different muffin compartments and cover them. Cover some empty compartments as well. Put it down and let your dog figure out where the treats are and how to get them out. DON’T CHEAT & HELP!!
Dylan eventually ruined the game because he would use his big paws and just flip over the whole tin. But, it was fun while it lasted.
One of the best things that you can do for you and your dog is to train some basic commands. Finding a good trainer and consistency are the keys to success. Some of the most important commands to learn: stay, come, leave it, drop it, and place. I could go on and on about training. But in the context of keeping your dog entertained, or at least out of trouble in the house—leave it and place are the best.
PLACE: This one is great because if done correctly, your dog will go somewhere comfortable and just chill out. They will just stay there until you give the “release” command. While on place, they can have a toy to play with or something to chew on. The only rule is that they can’t come off place. This is a lifesaver in our house especially when people come over and I don’t want them being mauled by two excited dogs. Or if I have to take an important phone call and I don’t want to be chased around the house with a squeaky toy.
LEAVE IT: This one is more interactive. Once your dog learns this command, you will be able to drop food around them and they will leave it alone. Leave it is good to practice especially if you want your dog to calm down a little bit. It’s a great way to practice self-control as well.
GIVE YOUR DOG A SPECIAL DIGGING PLACE
Dogs love to dig. Sometimes, it’s easier to just give in and let them have their way. If your dog likes to dig, you may find that like me, you end up with holes everywhere in the yard. Seeing the pure joy in their faces makes it hard to reprimand them, but I also want to be able to walk in my yard without breaking my ankle in a hole. The solution—create an area they can destroy. Training your dog to dig in one particular area will give them a place to have fun and it will keep you from being mad. Just make sure they stay in that area. You can do that by creating a fence around an area or building an elevated garden bed.
Hope this helps
Keeping your dog stimulated both mentally and physically can be a full-time job but it’s very important for their (and your) well-being. Playing with your dog is a great way to strengthen your bond with your dog. Like people, dogs benefit from learning new things. And hopefully, by playing with them and teaching them new skills, it will help to stop them from destroying your house.