Dog games eliminate problem behavior and prevent boredom! Research tells us that daily enrichment activity like nosework games and puzzle toys help keep our dogs from digging holes in the backyard! Mental stimulation is so important!
My three hounds need a lot of physical activity and we play these ten games to prevent them from barking and acting out on rainy days when outside playtime is limited.
These ten games all use our dog's nose! Did you know that allowing dogs to sniff helps them think positively? Preventing boredom and making them feel better with dog games throughout the week is a priority in our house!
According to Psychology Today,
"In general, the dog's nose is 100,000 to 1 million times more sensitive than the human's, while the bloodhound has a nose that is 10 to 100 million times more sensitive than ours. The section of a dog's brain related to processing smells is almost seven times larger than ours."
These ten games fall into these enrichment categories: cognitive, physical, sensory and toy enrichment. These are based on a wonderful training resource, "Beyond Squeaky Toys" written by two pioneers of environmental enrichment!
1. PAW5: Wooly Snuffle Mat
These encourage natural foraging skills! More nosework, please! This puts your dog's nose and brain to work by mimicking the hunt for food in nature. Available for $39.95.
2. Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Twister Dog Puzzle Toy Dog Game
This puzzle toy encourages nosework and prevents boredom. Puzzle toys are my doxie's fave toy before bed. This is an advanced dog puzzle toy that trains your dog to learn sequential steps and is recommended for more challenging play. Available for $19.99.
3. Pet Qwerks Doggy Incredibubbles Peanut Butter Flavor
These bubbles are peanut butter flavored! Bubbles are great sensory enrichment for dogs. Available for $9.67.
4. Yaheetech 18ft Pet Dog Agility Obedience Training Tunnel
Our dogs like to tear through these in the yard. This is the ultimate game for dogs when the weather is nicer. And it's DIY agility! Available for $31.70.
5. Step2 Play and Store Sandbox With Cover
Have you ever tried hiding your dog's toys in the sandbox? This is easily done with this type of sandbox and we even hide kongs in there for our Beagle. Another nosework activity that is exhausting for them! Available for $56.99.
6. Trixie Pet Products Flip Board
The flip lids go up when the dog uses his nose to turn the knobs! This is for intermediate canine players and designed especially for small dogs. Available for $8.99.
7. Mad Scientist Products For Dogs
The steps for this are super challenging for dogs:
- Step 1: Place treats in beakers
- Step 2: Leave lids off until flipping and then balancing beakers is mastered
- Step 3: Place lids with patterned holes on beakers
- Step 4: Mix and match lids for an added challenge
They use their nose to get the treats out! Available for $15.56.
8. Agility Gear Training Jump
More agility gear to keep your dogs active! These are 32 inch AKC standard height uprights that are perfect for leading your "baby dog" over the jump - we've taught both doxies to get over the lowest striped bar. Available for $40.95.
9. AGORA Hurdle Cone Set
You can create your own training course in the middle of the living room. This comes with 8 cones and 4 poles. Available for $69.95.
10. Leerburg Nosework Training Scent Kits
All three of our hounds have been taking nosework classes for many years. Reactive dogs can participate and this kit can get you started. It includes the 5 UKC target odors: Birch, Anise, Clove, Vetiver, and Myrrh which will last many nosework sessions. You can get started after reading this article we wrote about why dogs love this and it's super low maintenance. You can set up nosework in your living room in minutes. Available for $73.00.
Enjoy these games with your dogs! Your bond will become a lot stronger.
Enrichment activities and these ten ideas to prevent boredom are all easy and inexpensive. And there are so many dog sports to consider outside of nosework.
Also, a bored dog is a destructive dog so dog owners should always consider interactive toys and dog puzzle toys during quiet time. Even teaching your puppy how to interact with a treat dispenser is productive.
Other cost-effective ideas?
- You can hide treats under balls in a muffin tin or under cups which is known as the cup game
- Have your dog jump through a hula hoop!
- You cannot have enough treat balls in the house either - we have a lot of these for days when I'm busy on calls!
- Hide & Seek is great too! Where are your dog's fave hiding spots for teats?
- The agility gear can be put inside for your dogs too when the weather is rainy - physical exercise can be burned indoors
Are there games you play with your dog to prevent boredom? Which are your fave? Please leave us a comment below!
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