A tired dog is a happy dog, as I like to say. And “A tired dog is a happy owner,” I like to say even more.
Moxie, our HugABull foster dog, is a clever girl and loves to be active. Me, not so much. I mean I’m clever and I do get out. I’m a dog walker, after all. I just don’t feel the need to then add an extra couple of hours of exercise to my already busy days.
Thankfully, there’s more than one way to tire a dog. Physical exercise has its place, absolutely. Dogs are very physical creatures and they innately need to move. It helps them feel good and keeps them in good mental spirits when they can explore and use their noses as nature intended. Plus, it gives me a job. All good.
But. There is another, highly overlooked way to tire out your dog and keep him happy without having to break a sweat while you do it. Oh yeah!
They are called food puzzles. Not only does your hound burn brain power figuring out how to make them work, she also feeds her biological need to hunt and scavenge.
(Yes, dogs are scavengers by nature, so you can’t get too mad when they counter surf and snag what you have so kindly left out. More on that another day….)
DIY Dog Food Puzzles
You know how cats like the boxes toys come in, better than the toys? It turns out items around the house have proved to be just as rewarding toys as some of the purchased items I’ve offered pit bull Moxie Sox since she came to stay. (Note: I make up a variety of pet names for the dogs in my care, bear with me.)
In the next couple of blogs I’ll cover some of the food puzzle toys I’ve made to feed Miss Moxie’s mind and instincts. Note: All of these puzzle games contain Moxie’s regular kibble with the odd bonus prize treat, especially when she starts getting bored with a particular toy. She gets approximately 30% of her meals this way with the remainder split between her bowl and more interactive training/learning games.
Paper Food Puzzles
For some reason paper towel rolls with the ends taped up really excite Wonder Dawg Moxie. The first time I gave her one I had her take it out into the yard, which she did with great enthusiasm. This method also works for toilet paper rolls, which more frequently come available.
Some people may, but I don’t recommend crumpled up paper as an option, as dogs don’t necessarily distinguish between what is paper to play with and paper that actually matters to us humans, i.e. that signed contract you haven’t yet gotten around to filing. Oops. (That didn’t actually happen. But it could.)
If you don’t have any concerns, by all means grab some scrap paper and crumple it around a handful of kibble. Please be sure that the paper doesn’t have a lot of ink or dyes on it that the dog may ingest, and immediately dispose of the paper when the game is over so Freida/Fido doesn’t start chewing and eating the paper because it smells so good.
Even with the most minimal budget you can give your dog the added joys of food puzzle games, all it takes is a little creativity and, of course, duct tape.