Health & Wellbeing

Dog Enrichment Ideas: 7 Boredom Busters for Dogs

Your dog will beat the boredom in no time with these fun and simple dog enrichment toys.

Copy: Katy & Shell

Photography: As Listed

Need a few fun, easy and inexpensive dog enrichment ideas to keep your dog entertained?

If you’re anything like us, you probably daydream about being with your pup 24/7. But when reality calls (work, grocery shopping, ‘friends’ who want to do non dog-friendly things…gasp!) and you can’t be there to entertain your best friend, dog enrichment ideas, also known as boredom busters for dogs – are an excellent way to keep your pup happy and stimulated while you’re away from home.

Having dog puzzles and treat toys on hand to keep your dog stimulated is super important all year round. Especially during the holiday season when many of us go on vacation (if pet-friendly travel isn’t an option), or when guests come to visit and you need to keep your best friend occupied.

From homemade dog toys to peanut butter toys, dog puzzle treat toys and more – check out the clever and creative dog enrichment ideas we’ve found below.

But first…how do you even know when your dog is bored? And what types of dog enrichment toys are there?

Signs your dog is bored

Most dogs sleep 12-14 hours per day (although our two cocker spaniels – a.k.a sleep addicts – clock up 18-19 hours!) So with all that energy banked, it’s no surprise that a well rested, under-stimulated dog is likely to go a little crazy. Destruction mode: activated!

Tell-tale signs your dog is bored:

  • Excessive barking
  • Getting into mischief
  • Digging / trying to escape
  • Chewing / destructive behaviour
  • Following you everywhere
  • Hyperactive greetings

Familiar with any of these behaviours? Chances are your dog is bored and in dire need of stimulation. Just imagine being cooped up in a room or backyard with nothing to do for hours on end. No Netflix, nothing. You’d go crazy too!

And rather than scold a dog that misbehaves in this way (the biggest no-no of them all), it’s so important as a responsible pet parent to take steps to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated on a daily basis.

Luckily, there are many options available to keep your dog enriched, entertained and happy.

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Mentally stimulating dog toys, treats & games

First things first: making sure your dog gets enough physical activity is top of the list when it comes to keeping them stimulated. The amount of exercise your dog needs will depend on their breed, age and physical condition, but generally speaking, experts recommend dogs should be physically active between 30 minutes and two hours every day.

Checked exercise off the list? Now let’s look at ways to keep your dog entertained at home, such as boredom busters and mentally stimulating dog toys.

And you might be surprised to know that there are plenty of options available when it comes to keeping your dog mentally occupied while you are busy or away. 

Below are a few of the general categories of dog enrichment toys and ideas to help keep your pup’s boredom at bay: 

But if you’re after a quick list of the best dog enrichment ideas that are easy and do the trick (such as DIY dog enrichment toys, or tasty homemade dog toys to keep them busy!) then read on for our list of favourite boredom busters for dogs.

TIP: If you love homemade dog treat recipes, try our Homemade Chicken Jerky for Dogs and Oven-Baked Homemade Liver Dog Treats – perfect for breaking up into portions and using in the dog puzzles and interactive dog toys below!

Dog Enrichment Ideas: 7 Boredom Busters for Dogs

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DIY Kong Toy: Apple Kong with Peanut Butter Filling

Dog Enrichment Ideas & Boredom Busters for Dogs - DIY Apple Kong

What if you could make a fun homemade kong for dogs AND healthy dog treat out of an everyday apple? Say hello to this clever DIY kong toy that combines two kitchen staples – apples and peanut butter.

This homemade kong toy is completely edible, delicious, and healthy. Not to mention easy on your wallet! Which is a HUGE perk, because we all know how expensive it can be to look after our fur babies.

See it here: DIY Edible Apple Kong Dog Toy 

 

DIY Dog Peanut Butter Toy – Dog Bone Filling 

Dog Enrichment Ideas & Boredom Busters for Dogs - DIY Peanut Butter Bone Filling

This homemade dog peanut butter toy would have to be one of the easiest (and tastiest!) DIY dog enrichment activities you could whip up for your pup. We are that confident, that we’d challenge you to find something cheaper and easier that does the trick. 

The idea is simple: easily make your own healthy peanut butter filling, and place it inside your dog’s bone! 

Genius. And your dog will LOVE you for it. 

See it here: DIY Peanut Butter Dog Bone Filling

 

DIY Kitchen Towel Food Puzzle

Dog Treats for Enrichment Toys

Dog Enrichment Ideas & Boredom Busters for Dogs - Dog Treat Tea Towel Puzzle

We just love this fun and simple DIY dog puzzle idea that appears in the fabulous book My Dog Eats Better Than Me by dog nutrition expert Fiona Rigg and Jacqui Melville.

Again, the idea is simple: select a handful of dog treats (try mixing them up to give your pup a range of tastes, smells and textures to sniff out – see two of our simple homemade dog treat recipes below), place them on a mat, then place a tea towel on top of the treats, tucking them under and folding them in sections of the tea towel for your pup to sniff out and find.

Not only is ‘My Dog Eats Better Than Me’ packed with healthy meals and dog treat recipes, it has a handy section on DIY dog enrichment, featuring simple mentally stimulating dog toys and puzzles you can make for your dog using things you already have laying around at home.

Buy the book here: My Dog Eats Better Than Me

 

Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzle Treat Toys

Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzles

Nina Ottosson is the name in dog puzzle treat toys. The Nina Ottosson dog puzzles range features durable interactive games, each with a unique mechanism that requires mental as well as physical dexterity to work through the challenges and reveal hidden food rewards.

By challenging your pup to think, act and problem solve, these fun and innovative dog puzzles literally make your dog smarter (even though you already know your dog is the smartest pup in the world) as well as give them a feeling of satisfaction at the end. 

Shop here: Nina Ottosson Dog Treat Puzzles

MiaCara Volpe Activity Dog Toy

Dog Enrichment Ideas & Boredom Busters for Dogs - MiaCara Volpe

Stylish for the humans and stimulating for the pups, the Volpe dog enrichment toy ticks all the boxes. It’s a go-to in our home and our boys love it! 

Not only does the minimalist fox shape compliment any modern home, its unique corners and curves – which can be filled with wet or dry dog food and small treats galore – offer a smorgasbord of challenges for your best friend to lick and explore.

Shop here: Mia Cara Volpe Activity Toy 

 

Barkolino Nuvole Bianche Snuffle Mat 

Dog Enrichment Ideas & Boredom Busters for Dogs - Barkolino Snuffle Mat

Hide and go treat! We simply couldn’t talk about boredom busters for dogs without featuring these amazing snuffle mats by Australian dog brand Barkolino.

Made from soft polar fleece, these stylish and lightweight snuffle mats are the perfect enrichment puzzle for your pup. Simply hide a handful of dog treats amongst the rippled layers of the mat, then let your four-legged detective put their noses to work to uncover the hidden rewards.

Shop here: Barkolino Nuvole Bianche Snuffle Mat  

 

Stuffed Carrot Plush Feeding Snuffle Mat 

Dog Enrichment Ideas & Boredom Busters for Dogs - Carrot Snuffle Mat

Is this not the CUTEST dog treat puzzle toy you’ve seen?

Your best friend will instantly forget you’re busy or away while sniffing out all the snacks that can be hidden both in the carrots and their holders. 

Soft and stimulating for your pup, this  dog treat toy encourages interactive play and also includes hidden squeakers for extra entertainment.

Shop here: Stuffed Carrot Plush Feeding Snuffle Mat 

 

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Copy: Katy & Shell

Photography: As Listed

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