How to keep your dog occupied

How to keep your dog occupied

Is your dog scratching you with their paw, trying to lift your arm, or lying down on you? It’s clear that your dog is asking for your attention. In this article, we list several activities that your dog can do with or without you to help keep your dog occupied when they are bored.

Activities that you can do with your dog

There are a variety of activities that you can do with your dog. The best part is that these special moments allow you and your pet to grow a strong bond. No matter what breed you have, dogs need to stay active in order to be happy and healthy.

Training your dog

It’s never to late to start training your dog. Of course, it may require more kindness and patience to teach an older dog, but it is not impossible! Keep in mind that the more that you train your dog, the more their intelligence will develop. Moreover, training your dog is tiring for them. If you spend a few minutes teaching your dog, you’ll have more time for yourself afterwards.

Exercise sessions

While it certainly depends on your dog’s personality and energy level, we recommend that you plan between 10 and 20 minutes of exercise per day. For example, you can train your dog to sit, lie down, give their paw, bring their leash, or fetch. Vary the difficulty every day, but never set your dog up for failure. If you see that your dog is struggling to do an exercise, always finish with something that they have already learned. It’s important not to reprimand your dog. If you feel that you or your dog is losing patience, it is better to stop the training session and resume it later. Most importantly, if your dog is able to do an exercise, reward them to encourage his behavior.

If your dog has mastered many of these exercises, you can set up an agility course for them at home. You can find some buckets and boards for your dog to jump on and go under obstacles. If you guide them with a treat, it will be a breeze!

Dog training positive reinforcement
Training a dog with positive reinforcement

Teaching an energetic dog to stay calm

If you’re having struggling to keep your energetic dog calm, it’s probably best to teach your dog to stay still. Have your dog sit, then stand a few inches in front of them, pointing with your hand out as if you were making a stop sign. With a treat in your other hand, try to back away from your dog to increase the distance between the both of you. While doing this, repeat the words “sit” or “don’t move” until your dog decides to move. When you feel your dog wants to leave, you can say “go” and reward them.

You can also start by doing activities that are tiring for your companion. For example, you can go for a run with your dog or take them on a long walk. If you do this, your dog will be calmer and more willing to listen.

Keeping your dog occupied with toys

In the previous section, we talked about exercises that could be done without toys. Another way to keep your dog occupied is by using toys.

You can play fetch or catch with you dog by throwing a toy and training your dog to catch it in their mouth and then bring it back to you.

Another great activity to play with your dog is hide-and-seek. You can teach your dog to look for something that you have hidden in your home. This could be a toy or a treat, for example. This is a great activity for them because it encourages their curiousity and tests their sense of smell.

How do I teach my dog to keep themselves occupied alone?

There are times when it’s difficult to give your dog attention. For instance, when you have people over, when you’re working, or when you’re busy doing something else.

Fox Terrier pulling ropes
A Fox Terrier playing with a rope

Brain games for your dog

When you are busy or aren’t at home, it’s important to have provide your dog with games or toys that can keep them occupied. Brain games are perfect for this! There are many DIY games on the internet but you can also buy toys or games for them in pet shops or even at the supermarket. The games usually require your dog to look for something, typically a treat. Depending on the level of difficulty of the game, it will keep your dog busy for a while.

Here are some examples of activities that your dog can do to stay occupied on their own:

  • Take a piece of cloth that you don’t particularly care for and wrap a treat around it. You can then leave it out for your dog so that they can have fun trying to get the treat out.
  • Use a roll of toilet paper or paper towels, hide a treat inside and roll the two ends up. Your dog will have to figure out how to open it to get the treat.
  • Place a reward on the ground and hide it with a cup or other object. Your dog will have to knock the object over to reach it.
  • Place a some kibble or a treat in an empty plastic bottle. Your dog will have to figure out how to tip the bottle to get the reward out.

Plan ahead

As you probably know, when a dog is distracted by playing, walking or training, they eventually get tired. When dogs sniff, they are spending a lot of time analyzing all the information they are gathering and this is a very tiring activity for him.

If you know you’ll be busy during the day, plan ahead. Try to provide your dog with different toys and games and try to find the time to spend time with your by training them.