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12 Simple Dog Toys & Games You Can Create From Things Around The House

Updated on December 16, 2020
Morgan Rand profile image

Owner of Happy Pets Inc, Morgan has a degree in Exotic Animal Training & a passion for improving the lives of pets through training.

Stuck at home? Now is the perfect opportunity to get creative and make some toys for your pets! There are plenty of everyday items around the house that you can use to help keep your furry friends entertained. This list is mostly geared towards dogs, but there’s a couple that can work for cats as well. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Recycling Games

It’s amazing the things you can make with boxes and toilet paper rolls! Put food or treats inside toilet paper rolls and fold the ends closed and see how long it takes them to get it out. Make use of those Amazon boxes by putting food inside and close them. Then add some paw sized holes to make it more entertaining. Use cereal boxes, kleenex boxes, or whatever you can find. You can also try placing empty toilet paper rolls standing up on end inside a box and drop a couple treats inside.

2. Scavenger Hunt

Hide food, treats or a favorite toy for your dog to go find. This can be done inside or outside. Start in close range and then hide things farther away as they get better at this game. This works best if you pair it with a “seek” or “find it” command so they understand the game.

3. ‘Where’s The Treat’ Cup Game

As a scent work exercise, get multiple cups and hide kibble or treats under one of them, then keep mixing it up to see if your dog can find the one with food.

4. Spin The Bottle

Use empty plastic bottles of various sizes and put kibble inside. It takes most dogs awhile of knocking it around to get the food out. For the more advanced version of this, drill holes in the bottles and slide them onto a pole. Make a stand for the pole that is about the height of your dog’s head. Now they have to figure out how to flip the bottles to get the food out. You can make this harder by using different types of bottles or plastic containers with various sized openings.

5. Ball In Tire

Have an old tire laying around? Put a ball inside the tire and see how long it keeps them occupied batting it around.

6. Snuffle Box

Use a plastic hamper and fill it with cut up fleece or rags, or use a box with crumpled up paper, etc. Mix in some kibble or treats, and their favorite bone or toy for them to find.

7. Race For The Treat

You don’t even have to make anything for this game! Use food or treats depending on your pet’s motivation level and toss a piece across the room or down a hallway and see if they run after it. It is ridiculously simple but my cats love this game and it’s great exercise for any pet who enjoys it.

8. Frozen Treats

Add water to treats or kibble and freeze it. You can use ice trays and pop the frozen treats out, or try leaving them in the tray to make a modified homemade lick mat.

9. Muffin Tin Guessing Game

Put a couple treats in a muffin tin and the cover all the spots with tennis balls so they have to find the treats hiding underneath.

10. Frozen Fun

Freeze a wet washcloth, rag or an old sock tied into a knot: great for chewing and playing. You can also lay out food in a wet rag and roll it up and freeze it for an additional food enrichment game.

11. Homemade Agility Course

Make an obstacle course with items from around the house. Use a broom across two chairs or across stacks of books to make a jump, and sheets draped over chairs to make a tunnel: whatever you can find around the house like hula hoops and pool noodles can be made into some kind of obstacle. This can be done inside or outside depending on your space and what you have lying around.

12. Flirt Pole

Imagine a giant cat toy made for dogs – see photo of Amazon store bought example as guidance. Find something around the house that you can use as a pole, anywhere from 3-6 feet long. If you can’t find something at home you can buy a PVC pipe, or a cheap horse lunge whip makes a very easy flirt pole. Attach a rope to your pole, (depending on the size of your dog and how long you want the rope to be – typically around 4-8 feet long), and tie a toy to the end of the rope. Drag the toy on the ground so they can chase and tug on it. This will definitely help alleviate some of that excess energy while also giving you a chance to practice some basic commands like leave it, sit, wait, drop it, etc.

We hope this provided you with some new ideas!

Please Note: it’s always best to have your pet try new toys under supervision to minimize the risk of them ingesting things they shouldn’t be eating!

Which of these games is your favorite?

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© 2020 Morgan Rand

Other ideas? Comment with your favorite DIY toy or game!

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