There are now more pet owners than ever before, with pet ownership rates rising throughout the world. Part of this was the effect of the global pandemic as more people spent the majority of their time working from home. While some people discovered that owning a pet wasn’t for them, a vast majority have turned into full-fledged pet lovers.
For people looking for a pet, a dog is often the first option because of their affection for humans. However, dogs have specific needs if they are going to thrive – exercise, nutrition, and training all have to be addressed. While you can access puppy training online, one of their biggest needs that tends to be overlooked is entertainment and enrichment.
Dogs that get bored can become prone to developing behavioral issues, and many dogs that are given up for adoption or rehoming simply did not receive the crucial mental and physical stimulation that helps keep them calm and well-behaved. Keeping your dog entertained is part of being a responsible pet owner, so let’s look at what you can do to ensure that your dog doesn’t get bored.
Steps To Keep Your Dog Entertained
1. Encourage Interactive Playtime
Interactive playtime with your dog can be one of the best ways to keep them entertained. Teaching them tricks, playing fetch or tug-of-war, or even just having a good old-fashioned game of hide-and-seek are all great ways to get your dog involved in an activity that will keep them interested and engaged.
Before jumping into an intense game with your dog, it’s important to start slow and build up gradually. You don’t want to overwhelm your dog and tire them out by starting out too quickly or playing for too long. Start by introducing a simple game like fetch or tugging on a rope toy before moving on to more complex activities like hide and seek or agility courses.
2. Go For Walks
Going on walks with your dog is one of the simplest and easiest ways to give them mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Exploring new places together will allow your dog to take in all the sights, sounds, smells, and experiences that come along with being outside – it’s like a mini adventure! Make sure you bring along some treats for positive reinforcement so that you can reward your dog when they behave appropriately during these walks.
Always have a plastic bag on hand in case your dog needs to poo, as part of responsible dog ownership entails not leaving a mess behind. You may also want to bring along some water for your dog, depending on how hot it is outdoors.
3. Puzzle Toys
Puzzle toys are also a great way to entertain your dog while also offering mental stimulation. These toys typically involve hiding treats inside compartments that require manipulation by your dog before they can access the treat inside. This encourages problem-solving skills as well as curiosity and engagement from your dog.
Puzzle toys come in all shapes and sizes so you should have no trouble finding one suitable for any size or breed of dog. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on these toys, but make sure that the toy you choose is durable enough that your dog won’t easily break it.
4. Dog Parks
Dog parks are a great way to let your dog socialize with other dogs while getting some physical exercise at the same time. It’s important to make sure the park is suitable for both size and temperament of the dogs present before letting your dog off-leash. Smaller dogs may have a specific area where they can play with other similarly-sized breeds, so if you have a toy breed like a Shih Tzu or a Pomeranian, look into how your local dog park is organized.
Just remember, dog parks are usually on-leash unless they’re specifically meant to be off-leash areas. You have a duty as a responsible dog owner to keep both your dog and other dogs safe, not to mention any humans that may be in the dog park. Even if the dog park is an off-leash zone, make sure that your dog responds well to recall commands before letting them run free.
5. Water Games
If you have access to a pool or lake near your home, water games are another great way to keep your dog entertained while getting some much-needed exercise in! You can teach them how to retrieve items from shallow depths, swim laps around buoys, or even play catch in shallow water — just make sure their safety is always a top priority.
Some dog breeds do not swim well due to their physiology – for example, French Bulldogs tend to sink headfirst. If you have a breed like this, make sure you have a life vest for your dog and never leave them unattended around deep water.
Keeping your dog entertained doesn’t have to be complicated—most of these activities require minimal effort but offer maximum enjoyment (for both you and your pooch). Just remember that every dog is different so try out different activities until you find something that works best for both of you!