One of the things that can become complicated–even frustrating–is keeping your pup entertained. Especially with a high-drive pup, finding (and keeping!) engaging, challenging dog toys around seems to be a never-ending task. Step outside the toy box a bit, away from those commercials pressing “the best puppy toys”, and grab some creativity. You will find it is not so difficult to keep Spot entertained while you get some needed house cleaning done!
Bored Pups are Destroyers
Sure, there is a time for play, a time for training, and a time for calm, for rest. However, puppies, unlike children, need access to items (toys) that they can destroy without retribution. Even older dogs, if they become bored, can be destructive if there is nothing available for them to chew, tear, or simply cuddle to death. It is their nature. No amount of training or expensive trainers can train out of a dog its base nature! All we can do is mold and guide that amazing nature in ways that are conducive to our lives and homes. Part of doing so includes keeping toys on hand that will hold their attention and, hopefully, challenge them at least a bit.
That can get expensive!
Repurpose & Recycle
One way to challenge and entertain your pup is by repurposing children’s toys. Of course, I am not talking about giving your dog a Barbie (although that would be funny). Little Tikes makes some wonderful outdoor play stations that are durable and fun for pups. Most folks toss these out on the curb or sell them extra cheap when their children outgrow them!
My girls love the (what I call) cube! I found it on Craigslist for $30.
Everyone wants us to recycle nowadays. Well, for Hanani in particular, I found a fabulous way to recycle all our plastic bottles 😉 Just wash out an empty plastic jug or bottle. Let it air dry. Then insert some treats. Keeps them busy and engaged at least long enough for you to get some things done!
You just want to make sure you throw the pieces away when you see they are done with these. Hanani tries to hide hers in her bed even well after it’s flat and empty! *You may not want to use this if you notice your pup actually eats the plastic.* This option is for dogs that simply chew up the plastic and leave it all over the place!
Repurpose other dog toys and turn it into a lasting, outdoor adventure! With a Jolly Pets Romp Ball, a long rope and a sturdy tree branch, Hanani has a homemade, do-it-yourself tug pole! I use the Romp Ball because it already has a sturdy hole through the center. And, if you untie the knot from the rope (that comes in the ball) you can slide it out, retie the knot and have another rope tug!
Free Training Tips
Key #1: Always remember, bored pups (and dogs) are destructive!
Key #2: Think outside the toy box (and commercialism) and be creative! Make safe, challenging toys for your pup.
Key#3: Have fun!
And, as always, please let me know what you think below and if you have any question, we are here to help!
Thank you for these wonderful ideas! I would never think about hanging a ball from a tree! Love this. When we first got our dog, the only thing he seemed to chew on were my shoes! One question, when adding treats to the water bottle, does your dog chew the plastic container until the treats come out? Does he stop afterward? I am worried that my dog would eat the plastic. Thank you.
Hello! Great to be of assistance 🙂 The first few times I used the water bottle idea, I just watched my pup closely. I noticed that, though she did chew the dickens out of the plastic, she did not eat it. You can start by just watching your pup with similar items, plastic toys, etc. I found they are so intrigued by getting the good stuff out, they lose interest in the plastic. In fact, mine has now learned that she can hold the bottle in her mouth open side down and shake some of the treats out to the floor! It’s lost of fun to watch them discover things! Thanx for popping by and come back often, as we will be adding good stuff all the time 😉
I love all the ideas. Especially the hanging ball from the tree. We have 2 Mini Golden Doodles one is 3 and her name is Winnie, and our other one is 6 months and His name is Milo. He can be a little turd sometimes. Is it true that once he gets fixed that he will tone it down? When he grabs something that he isn’t suppose to have we try to redirect by giving him one of his toys that he is allowed to have. What do you think we could do help him?
Hello, Fred, and welcome to Pup Stop! Sounds like you have your hands full! It’s not always true that male pups calm after neutering. Much of that depends on the breed, level of activity and such. Redirecting is an awesome way to turn his “turdish” ways into a fine, driven dog. Too, keeping him entertained especially with challenging toys and tasks will help mold his behaviors. He’s still very much a baby, though, so be patient and consistent. Those are the biggest “tools” that pay off–patience and consistency. Thanx for the chat! Come back often, as we will be adding to these tips regularly 🙂