Every dog needs to be walked properly outside of the home to provide essential exercise, opportunities to socialise, and general enrichment. There is no substitute for this, and even playing in the garden isn’t a suitable swap for proper walks of the appropriate length.
However, every dog can gain a lot of stimulation both mentally and physically with other forms of entertainment between walks, and there are a huge range of options when it comes to interactive ways to keep your dog entertained at home.
You don’t need a whole host of expensive equipment or anything you won’t already find around the house; plus a little bit of imagination!
Entertaining your dog at home is of course easier if you have access to a yard, garden or other outside space, but there are also of plenty of things you can do indoors to engage and entertain your dog too.
With this in mind, this article will share five ways to keep your dog entertained and give them something to do at home, without the need for any specialist equipment. Read on to learn more.
Many people think that training a dog is something done when your dog is a puppy, and that when they’ve mastered the basic skills or will execute a few commands, the job is done. This is not the case! Sometimes, people even think that dogs can’t learn new commands or skills at all once they get past a certain age, and this is patently untrue; after all, it is not the case for people!
If your dog has all of their basic commands down reliably, why not think about teaching them a party trick or something to entertain your family and show what your dog is capable of.
A really simple trick or skill that more or less all dogs can learn is to give a paw; and for many dogs, they’ll be able to do a lot more too, like rolling over or spinning or collecting the paper!
Dogs have a hugely acute sense of smell and can pick up scents that we humans are not even aware exists. However, we don’t always realise this because we don’t apply the possibilities for this to everyday life!
If you can teach your dog to pick up a certain smell and pursue it, you can teach them to seek out things you hide for them around the house as a game. You can even potentially teach them to recognise the scent of things you have a tendency to lose, and find them for you!
Many dogs eat far faster than is good for them, and whilst it is not a good idea to interfere with your dog when they’re eating or mess about with their food, you can take steps to make their mealtimes fun and something of a challenge, and slow them from gulping their food too!
Try using obstacles in their food bowl like a large ball they have to eat around, or a smaller bowl inside of a large one with the food between the two layers.
When it comes to treats as well, make your dog work for them! Try hiding them, using interactive toys, and other ways of getting your dog thinking and earning their snacks instead of just expecting them.
Agility can be great fun for dogs and owners, and if you take it seriously, the kit and obstacles can be costly, albeit most competitors join groups and clubs to split the cost.
However, you can probably make a few makeshift dog agility obstacles at home with a little imagination, for instance, by using bamboo canes for the garden to make jumps.
If you’ve got a set of stairs in your home you can get your dog exercising and burning off those excess calories with a bit of cardio, by running staircase relays with you! You can also set up some other small circuits such as a track round the living room for a time trial, or use parts of your garden or yard if you have one for a workout.
Getting your dog working hard will help to keep them fit and healthy, and burn off those excess pounds too. However, it is important to be thoughtful about this, and work within the remit of any challenges your own dog may face too.
For instance, brachycephalic breeds like the French bulldog may have a tendency to overheat if working hard, and some breeds may only be suited to lower impact exercise due to a higher propensity to bone and joint disorders like hip dysplasia, such as the German shepherd.
However, whatever your dog’s breed or type, there will be a number of things you can do at home to get them fit and have fun in between walks, and to get your own heart rate up a little too!