We all have to leave our dogs on their own at some time or other. It’s good to have things to occupy their time and keep their attention, so they they do not turn their attention to destroying plants in the garden or digging holes, or if left in the house, the furniture. So I thought I’d share some very successful ‘Boredom Busters’ that I have used in the past.
Kongs are great for time consuming treats if you fill them with cream cheese or peanut butter and freeze them overnight. Wedge a treat such as a biscuit in the middle and your dog will love licking the frozen filling out until he comes to the treat, which will also take him ages to get out of the kong.
Get squares about 10cm square of tough cotton material and put treats in the middle, then tie all the ends together and scatter around the garden/house. Your dog will find the ‘treasure’ and spend time trying to tear through the material to eat the treats. Be careful though, as I ended up finding big chunks of red material in Dana’s (RIP) poo, and I realised that she had eaten the little packages of treats whole, couldn’t be bothered to tear the material, just smelled the liver treats inside and gulped them down!!
If your dog likes tug of war toys, or playing with a ball, get an old nylon stocking or cut up a pair of pantyhose in two. Stuff a ball or toy into the foot and tie the stocking onto a strong tree branch. Your dog will tug the ball and be able to play while ‘home alone’!!
Scatter small pieces of liver treats or your dogs favourite biscuits around the garden like a treasure hunt. He will pick up the trail and spend time searching the whole garden for more.
One of our dogs, Ivy, loves tearing up cardboard boxes of all sizes. I put liver treats inside a cardboard box and leave it somewhere ‘secret’ in the house for her to find. She tears the box up and gets the treat and is happy. If she is being left outside, I put a couple of larger boxes outside, closed, with treats inside and she enjoys tearing them up to get the treat. I just pick up all the pieces when I get home and chuck them in the recycling. Much better that having plants that have been chewed or dug up.
She also loves the treat balls with the hole in, that roll around and dispense one tiny biscuit at a time.
Dogs love to work. In addition to these great Boredom Busters, you can train your dog to do a job. Teach him/her to gather laundry, put toys away (or take them out) – let your imagination go wild, there are any number of jobs a dog can do around the house that will keep them busy and happy.
When giving your dog treats with any of the boredom busters, you must take into account their daily food intake, so that they are not getting too much food with the extra treats and start to put on weight.