5 Genius Hacks to Keep Your Dog Super Happy at Home
by Tudor Nikolas on Sep 09, 2023.
Staying at home doesn't have to be boring for your dog or puppy. I wanted so share with you a few ways of keeping your dog entertained that work even when you are not around.
None of these involve buying any expensive contraption. It's more about using your imagination of how to best stimulate your dog when they're left by themselves.
Some dogs may resort to developing separation anxiety when left alone. For this reason, knowing how to keep them engaged is key to having a happy and independent dog.
1. Try out interactive toys
These come in different shapes and forms.
Puzzle toys which challenge your dog's brain, offering delicious treats as rewards can be a game changer. They're fun, mentally stimulating, and oh-so-rewarding for your pup.
When introducing puzzles for the first time, start with something simple.
Say, one of those balls that dispense treats.
Then as your dog is learning and becoming more accustomed to how puzzles work, you can gradually increase the difficulty.
As your dog masters one puzzle type, it's essential to introduce a new, more challenging toy to keep them interested.
Puzzles have the advantage of both preventing boredom in your dog, and increasing their IQ.
How well a dog is going to solve a puzzle though depends on their IQ.
Just as a side note...
Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, categorised different breeds based on certain criteria. This involved their ability to learn new commands, their instinct, and their ability to adapt to new environments.
Dog Intelligence Level by Breed
Based on Dr Coren's book, here is a classification of a few common breeds based on their intelligence level.
|Intelligence Level||1st Breed||2nd Breed||3rd Breed||4th Breed||5th Breed|
|Most Intelligent||Border Collie||Poodle||German Shepherd||Golden Retriever||Doberman Pinscher|
|Above Average Intelligence||Boxer||Dalmatian||Siberian Husky||Great Dane||Akita|
|Average Intelligence||Beagle||Australian Shepherd||Basset Hound||Cocker Spaniel||Bernese Mountain Dog|
|Below Average Intelligence||Shih Tzu||Saint Bernard||Bull Terrier||Chihuahua||Lhasa Apso|
|Least Intelligent||Basenji||Bulldog||Chow Chow||Borzoi||Bloodhound|
I digress, but my point was that the complexity of puzzles they will be able to solve likely depends on their innate intelligence level. Part of this is therefore dictated by their breed.
Ok back to our topic on keeping dogs entertained at home.
Chew Toys are another great option to keep them chewing on something that doesn't involve your shoes or furniture. By investing in some durable chew toys, they'll be gnawing for hours!
These chew toys also have the added benefit of helping dogs clean their teeth.
2. DYI Activities
Homemade Obstacle Courses can be fun for the whole household. Grab those cushions, chairs, and boxes, and set up your very own agility course.
Here is a video I found on Youtube of how you can use items around the house to quickly build an agility course. You could use it for some inspiration :).
Make sure you reward your dog and run through it a few times together. They might then start practicing on their own.
Another DIY idea is to play Hide and Seek with treats! Your dog's keen sense of smell will be put to the test as they hunt down their favorite treats.
You can spread their favorite treats throughout the house and encourage them until they find them. Combining this with the puzzles idea can be even more beneficial.
3. Training & Learning New Tricks
No matter how old your dog is, it's never too late to learn new tricks.
In fact, discovering new tricks and making them use their ability to think can help their cognition.
As we age, us humans get affected by dementia. In dogs, the equivalent is called cognitive dysfunction syndrome. While the pathophysiology is different, it can have similar affects on their day to day lives.
The best way to stave it off is to stimulate the brain with puzzles, new tricks and other activities.
4. Interactive Feeding
Why not make mealtime a game?
There are various treat dispensing toys that are programmed to release the treats gradually; similar to having to solve puzzles to get their treats.
While some may release a set number of treats whenever your dog walks past it or perform certain actions, others play harder to get.
Take for example this treats dispenser toy below.
Once you load it up, your dog will have to figure out the best way to get them out.
As the treats are relatively small, they are suitable for medium/ large size dogs without adding too many extra calories to their diet.
For smaller dog you may decide to just put fewer treats inside. That can still work!
Another benefit of using something like this is that the process of getting the treats can also help clean their teeth.
5. Give your dog a window
Dogs love to watch the world go by.
Do you live on a street where they can watch people, cars, buses and other animals outside? If so, make sure the window is easily accessible.
If possible, why not turn the window sill into a cozy bed for your dog?
This can keep them entertained for hours, and even keep an eye out for you when you pop out.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, letting them watch people on the outside may help with that.
Whether you live in a busy city or in the countryside, these are just some of the ways you can keep your dog happy at home.
Just like humans, dogs can still get bored, stressed and anxious. It's just that they can't speak to us to tell us how they feel.
If you do find that your dog is expressing signs of stress, you might want to consider a natural calming supplement to add to their food.
Our product, "CALM." for example is dog calming without causing any sedation. It's based on the natural calming effect from passion flower, which has been used for centuries. It's also a herb commonly used in various other stress relief remedies in humans too.
I hope this article has helped you. Please get in touch for any feedback or suggestions. We love getting tips from our readers on what's worked and what hasn't worked for you!