ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dog Tips: Play with your dog. Harder!

Updated on May 30, 2014

Zoos use enrichment programs

Are you (and your dog) stuck in a rut?

Every once in a while the local news features a story about the local zoo animals getting a special treat: ginormous pumpkins for the elephants; an huge ice block filled with treats for the polar bears; pine cones smeared with peanut butter for the primates.

These goodies are part of "enrichment programs" that modern zoo and animal facilities implement to enhance the lives of the animals in their care. Enrichment programs keep the animals engaged, interested, and happy.

What can you do to enhance your dog's life? Without a break in your normal routine, your dog can become lethargic, uninterested, and bored. Chances are if you're stuck in a daily routine, your dog is, too.

Enrichment doesn't have to take long, cost much, or require any special equipment. And it's fun for both of you. When was the last time you saw that doggy smile - that happy gleam in your dog's eyes?

Source

Shake up the routine

Does your dog like apples? Do you even know?

Next time you're getting ready to wash the kitchen floor, play "fetch" with your dog with an apple before you do. You don't have to worry about making a mess - you were going to wash the floor anyway.

Catch the look on your dog's face when she grabs her new "ball" and crunches into the fruit! Is she confused, happy, excited? Does she love it, hate it, doesn't know what to make of it?

If your dog's on a special diet or shouldn't eat apples - how about playing "hockey" with an ice cube across the floor?

These games take just a couple of minutes, no special equipment, and will make your dog's day - giving her the one thing she craves more than any other - your time and attention.

How about playing "The Shell Game"

Everybody wins with the "Shell Game"

All you need to play is three cups and a good, small treat. Hide the treat under one of the cups and let your dog find it. Then you can start mixing it up - vary the number of treats, the placement of the treats, the room where you play.


Use what you find

A quick trip to the dollar store turned up these finds.

A back-scrubber, with or without a little bit of peanut butter rubbed on it, can be a great chase and tug toy. And if the dog destroys it after a single session - it was only $1.

Coasters can be used as training "targets." A treat placed on the coaster will teach your dog to touch the "target" after just a few tries. Which can lead to tricks like bow, or pray, or "think about it."

Small containers with lids, like this inexpensive soap-holder, can also hold treats. Your dog can have fun finding the container, fetching it, and getting the rewards inside.

Or you can use containers from the deli or carry-out restaurant for either treats or small toys.

You can be creative with treats as well - baby carrots, banana chips, or many other fruits and vegetables are fine for dogs. One of my dogs even enjoyed "tugging" with stalks of celery.

Are you having fun with your dog?

How much time do you spend enriching your dog's life?

See results
Teddy has a great selection of toys to enrich his life - but he doesn't get them all at once.
Teddy has a great selection of toys to enrich his life - but he doesn't get them all at once. | Source

Little changes can enliven your dog

Most dogs have lots of toys.

As part of your enrichment program - take them away!

"Hide" most of your dog's toys, only letting him have two or three available at any time. It gives you a chance to get all the others cleaned up and "refreshed." An old toy that's just come out of the dryer or dishwasher is a brand-new toy to your dog. It smells new, so it is new.

Dogs live in the moment - they're always present in the "now." He won't be devastated if the toy he loved last week disappears for a short time - he'll play with the exciting almost-new toy you just pulled out of his toy bucket/chest/box.

Around our house our dogs love their interactive plush toys, like the Zippy Burrows. Even these can get old if we don't think of new ways to use them. So we put surprises inside once in a while - a carrot, a ball, something our dogs know doesn't "belong" there.


© 2014 HopeS

How do you vary your dog's routine?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Many evenings I will take my dogs for long "smellathons" instead of their regular walk. It is boring for me, so I usually take my MP3, but the dogs take a long time stopping and smelling every branch and tree that has been marked by other dogs. They must love it.

      We played the shell game a lot when my Pitbull was a puppy but I am going to try it again with chunks of raw food, since they smell so strong.

      Great article, as there is always a lot more for us to do.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)