Things for dogs to do – written before Corona virus restrictions, please adapt accordingly.
Make sure anything you try is safe for your dog
Supervise at all times
Be sensible – adapt for size, age and temperament of your dog
Five kinds of exercise – ideally dogs should get a variety. Exercise should come from as many different groups each day, not just one
- Playing with a toy or treats – eg chase, find etc
- Thinking games – eg find the toy, wait to be sent, throwing two toys and being directed between them
- Off lead – exploring different areas, preferably a variety of areas, such as woods, beach, fields, up and downhill, rocky areas etc.
- Street walking / on lead
- Learning – short, fun training sessions
- If your dog destroys toys, it doesn’t mean don’t give him any. It means he needs more and more. Make sure the toys are safe and supervise when needed.
- We want your dog to channel his energies and instincts into acceptable ways, rather than onto your more valuable items.
- Toys from charity shops – make sure there are no glass or plastic eyes, no polystyrene in the stuffing. Take the stuffing out if you prefer.
- Chew sticks, chew sticks and more chew sticks. Ask in several pet shops, ask me, look online. Try out different ones under supervision.
- Water bottle in a sock – tie a knot to keep it in.
- Water bottle with treats in, lid on.
- Tennis ball in an old sock – tie a knot.
- Treats in a muffin tin, tennis balls over them.
- A ball in a bowl of food to slow down eating.
- Frozen gravy (make sure it is safe, no onions, no garlic, low salt) in ice cube trays
If you are clever, freeze a dog treat in it.
If your dog likes this, go bigger. Freeze kibble and treats and dog gravy in a bowl
- Fill a balloon with water, freeze, take the balloon off
- Takes a bit of time – fill an air bed with water – keeps dogs cool.
- Destruction boxes – old box – cereal, shoe or larger
- Treats in it, scrunched bits of paper, treats scrunched in paper etc
- Give to your dog
- When he understands the game, tape or fold the ends over.
- Empty kitchen paper tube, treats inside, ends folded over
- Empty yoghurt / hummous tubs – as long as they don’t eat the plastic and can tolerate milk products.
- Scatter feeding – throw dry food over the carpet / garden etc for dog to search for
- Smaller area at first until they get good at it
- Only good if you know your dog will eat it all quickly, no good if your dog will leave it. Try with a small handful of food first, to make sure they like the game
- Strips of t shirt or fleece – knot or plait together to make a tug toy
- Knot an old sock, wet it, freeze it then give to your dog
- Attach a suitable toy (eg a ball on a rope or frisbee) to a length of rope or even the handle of a dog lead. You can keep the toy moving as the dog chases and grabs and tugs.
- Scrunch pieces of paper and let your young dog shred them – cheaper than buying a shredder
- Horse toys, eg the carrot ball, are large and robust and loved my many dogs – there is usually a handle so they can pick them up
- Kong range of toys – there are many different toys and most are robust. Kong Genius Mike is especially good for clever dogs.
- Chuckit balls – very tough and chewable
- When I worked at Wolf Park, they used to give the wolves a water melon to destroy
- LickiMats – I find most dogs prefer the Soother
- Tree roots (google them) are loved by some dogs
- Snuffle mats
If you are going to spend money, spend wisely to get the best play value for your dog.
Look on the internet – DIY dog toys, homemade dog toys. Ideas from ingenious to quite ridiculous. From easy and quick to complicated and complex.
Just don’t spend so long looking that you run out of time to play with your dog!
- Child’s play tunnel – from Amazon etc
- Towel etc draped over sides of a chair or table to make a tunnel
- Jumps – broom handles on low spindles of a chair etc
- Cross poles will make a jump which you can vary from very low to higher as your dog improves / matures
- Jump over fallen tree trunks on walks
- Teach your dog to walk along low walls when on a walk
- Teach your dog to put his front paws on something
- Teach him to stand on a platform
Take care when jumping – puppies under a year old (up to 18 months for larger breeds) should not put strain on their joints.
Do not ask your dog to jump on hard surfaces or slippery surfaces