Boredom busters – keeping your dog busy while you are away

When you have to leave your young dog or puppy alone while you go out, they are sure to get bored. If you don’t give them a job to do, they will find one themselves. Chewing helps exercise jaw muscles and is a soothing exercise that passes the time. But puppies don’t know that there is a difference between chewing on a chew toy made for dogs or chewing on your household items or furniture.

To help prevent chewing on your precious items, keep them out of reach of your puppy when you can’t supervise. Give your puppy its own safe space to be while you are out where there isn’t anything he or she can destroy. The next step is to give the pup a job to do.

There are hundreds of interactive puzzle toys available for dogs. One famous puzzle toy is the Kong. These can be filled with treats that the dog has to work out of the rubber. The rubber itself can then be chewed and is pretty tough stuff. You can buy super tough Kongs for super strong chewers if they manage to get through a standard Kong. A popular way to stuff a Kong is to use peanut butter with treats through it. The peanut butter makes it last longer as it is sticky and the dog has to lick through it and work the sticky treats out as well. Another great way to stuff a Kong is to freeze it. I make up chicken or beef stock, plug the end of the Kong with blu-tac and wrap it in a freezer bag, fill it with the stock and then freeze it. I also put some treats in as well which freeze into the stock and add an extra job. Once frozen, simply remove the blu-tac stopper and give it to your dog. This is also great for hot days too.

SAFETY: If you have ever wondered why Kongs have a small hole in the small end, it is so that the dog’s tongue can’t get stuck inside the Kong by suction. This is painful and can result in tongue amputation. Never use a cheap imitation product that doesn’t have this hole. Also, make sure you have selected the appropriate sized Kong for your dog so that they can’t get it stuck in their throat and choke on it.

Another freeze toy which I have used myself and my dogs love, is the Dogzilla Deep Freeze. It’s half rubber and half ice-block! You join it together and fill it through the holes and freeze it. I use stock and treats in these too. There are hundreds more interactive toys you can try. Here’s another one that I have used by Premier. It’s called the Busy Buddy Tug-a-jug. The dog has to figure out to pull the rope so that it knocks the treats out. My Border Collie Chester has a ball with this one.

Although some of these can be expensive, I believe you get what you pay for. Cheap products don’t last as well and are often dangerous. Always keep safety in mind when selecting a toy for your dog.

Important TIP: No matter how many toys you have for your dog, rotate them. This means don’t leave all the toys out with the dog all the time, they will just get boring like part of the scenery. Mix it up from time to time. Change the toys around every couple of days. Also mix up the different treats that you put inside them