Winter is firmly on it’s way, or for the Game of Throne’s fans, very much here!
As days become more wet and cold, it’s nice to provide your furkids some activities and games with which to keep themselves occupied.
Dog toys and games can be quite expensive, so I’ve started trying to make some homemade versions of what you can buy in the store.
I’ve only made one or two so far, and that was quite a fun experience.
The Rolling Treats Game
Or as I like to call it “push-push” – so named as that is the instructions I give Shiva & Shakti with this game. 🙂
It is an object filled with treats or dog pellets or combination thereof. The idea is that the dogs have to figure out how to get the treats out. The way in which they do this is to roll it, and the treats should fall out, rewarding them as they go!
Super easy to make.
What you Need:
- Something durable or strong that can roll (but soft enough for you to punch holes through). I used the inner roller from foil, but toilet paper inners or even plastic bottles (like water bottles etc) will do the trick.
- Treats & pellets
When I made these Shiva gave it a go for a split-second, Shakti is not that into games. Usually if she has to do anything more than sit for a treat, she is not interested. Anyhoo, Shiva took the roll and near immediately realised that it was soft and that there was a quicker way to the treats. He started ripping it apart to get to the treats, so these for me are not durable. I will try this again with a plastic water bottle instead. 🙂 Although it turns out that allowing them to rip the cardboard is actually also a game! (just messy! :p) – For the latter, one can also then hide these cardboard rollers around the house instead of putting it in front of them. Shiva has this thing he likes to do with scatter cushions – he likes pushing them off the couch with his nose, so I find hiding these rollers underneath the pillows is also great fun!
Other stimulation games & toys:
I also do a couple of other games with them, besides “playing catch”. These are far simpler to do as well 🙂
The Scatter Game
There are so many variations of this game. From taking a mixture of treats & dog food pellets and scattering them in your garden, to hiding them in boxes, muffin tins or in a “snuffle mat” (fluffy mat). Foraging for food/treats is second nature to dogs and helps them stimulate their sense of smell. Start by making it easy for them to find the treats and gradually make it more challenging. We currently play this game on the lawn and I scatter a handful of kibble and treats close to them. Both Shiva & Shakti enjoy this one and love walking around nose on ground sniffing and finding treats 🙂
Hide & Seek – Box Search
This is also fun, and doesn’t require the use of boxes, although it helps to make it more challenging too. Hide toys and treats in boxes or under items in the house – like we do with the scatter cushions. If you do have boxes lying around, use some old newspaper, paper or even old rags and throw a couple of tennis balls and treats inside the box. The idea is that the dogs need to dig out and sniff out the treats or toys! If you then also hide these objects around the house it will add an additional challenge level.
Fill a Baby Pool with Multiple Objects
I bought the dogs a baby pool ages ago. The idea was to fill it up with sand and hide toys inside so they could dig it out. They didn’t really like that game, so I chucked out the sand and now fill it up with either balls or water for them to play in. The idea with this game is to take a baby pool or similar, fill with tennis balls and toys and or treats. Ask them to find or search for the toy or treat. It will get them digging through the balls/obstacles and using their noses to find the object. Use plastic bottles to add some additional objects in the pool. You can also fill up the plastic bottles with more treats if you like – similar to the Rolling game above.
Plastic Bottle Spinner
There are two ways in which you can do this one. For the vertical version, the idea of the game is that they have to learn to tip the bottle over with their paw. You would add some treats/kibble into a large 2ltr plastic bottle (bigger or smaller would also work – the 2ltr and higher just has a nicer opening for treats to fall through easily) and hang this on a bar so the bottle can rotate around the bar. (the bar goes through the bottle so the bottle can spin around the bar). The horizontal version of this game, works very similar to the Rolling Game above, except that the bottle is on the bar as well so they must spin it with their paw for the treats to fall out.
I usually do this more in summer as these are frozen and a nice cold treat during hot days, but totally doable in winter too. Super easy as well. Take a hoof or a rubber toy and fill with mashed up kibble and peanut butter mix and freeze until solid. Treat as desired. I find this keeps them nice and busy for a longer period of time.
Remember to include the food used in these games as part of your dog’s daily food intake (otherwise, he could end up getting rather chubby). If you like, you can even feed your dog his entire meal during a game! And also have plenty of fresh water available to them during the day.
What are some of your favourite toys to make or games to play with your furkid? Share it with us in the comments or on Facebook!