One key to a happy and healthy pet is regular enrichment, keeping their environments safe and exciting, and allowing them to engage in their innate behaviors such as sniffing or chewing in dogs. For many pet parents right now, extended and prolonged time at home may be making it difficult to stay engaged and busy, and boredom can lead to destructive and undesirable behavior patterns for some pets.
- Use a snuffle mat for offering treats or dry food or stuff a puzzle toy with yummy food like plain yogurt, peanut butter, or their meal for a fun and delicious challenge that will keep your dog busy and mentally stimulated. Once your dog gets good at using a puzzle toy, you can even try freezing the stuffed toy so getting all the food out takes even more of your dog’s time.
- Set up a scavenger hunt so your pup can put its powerful nose to work. Hide treats around a room in partial view, or even in cardboard boxes, empty paper towels or toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, or egg cartons, to be discovered. If you have a yard, simply toss your dog’s kibble in the grass for him to search for his meal.
- Engage your dog in short, empowering, training exercises such as targeting your hand or a particular object, or learning “sit”, “down” and “come. If your pup already knows the basics, look for trick training books or videos to learn more advanced skills like “spin” or “rollover.”