How to Keep Your Dog Entertained

Boredom is a leading cause for misbehavior in dogs. While your residence is well equipped for entertainment (having a TV, DVD player, computer, etc.) your dog is unlikely to kick back and watch “Air Bud.” Instead he needs a full day of dog entertainment mapped out. Interactive toys are the answer.


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    Gather up interactive treats, dog food, and toy stuffing (such as peanut butter or Kong stuffing, small dog biscuits or milk bones).
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    Make an honest assessment of your dog’s smarts, creativity, and stubbornness. Interactive food toys can be stuffed in a way that makes it easy or hard to get the rewards out. As a general rule, the smarter the dog, the more challenging you can make it. If it’s too hard, then the dog’s motivation disappears.
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    Fill up the interactive toy with a mixture of dog food, dog treats, and additional flavor (peanut butter, Kong stuffing).
    • Optional – place the toy in the freezer. This makes it take longer to get the insides out but is not necessary. You can use frozen goods, such as Frosty Paws dog ice cream, if you are going to freeze the toy.
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    Test run. At a scheduled mealtime, call your dog and tell him to “sit.” Offer him the toy and tell him to “take it.”
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    Supervise him while he works on getting the goods out of the toy. Note whether he moves around a lot or settles in on one spot. Some toys require movement – such as the Buster Ball – so make sure that whatever falls out is safe for your floor and furniture (Frosty Paws ice cream, for example, is not the perfect add on to your new suede sofa.)
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    When he has finished with the toy, pick it up and check to see if he got everything. If he did, then you can try to make it even more challenging next time. If he did not, check to see what the problem was. Milk bones can cross at the gap and prevent items from falling out, stuffing can stick, and other random things can happen. Adjust accordingly by placing fewer or smaller milk bones in the toy, only having the stuffing at the edges, etc.
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    Arrange a series of toys stuffed with food and treats throughout his living area. Space them apart so that he does not settle in first thing and get them all right away. For example, you may want to place the Kong toy in the kitchen and a Buster Ball in a back bedroom (if he is free to roam in the house). If he stays in a crate, provide a couple of toys that don’t require a lot of movement to get the treats out. Make it as hard as he can handle to get the treats so that it takes time.
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    Alternate the toys and treats that are given to him so that each day brings a challenge.


  • Get your dog plenty of exercise to keep him healthy and calm.
  • Keep a mellow, even attitude when coming and going from home. Being too sad in the morning and too excited in the evening can throw the wrong vibe to your dog, making him think that being left at home is terrible. Keep it cool so he’ll know to chill.
  • Make sure that his overall caloric intake is at a healthy level. For each treat given, give less kibble. But make sure he gets the right amount of kibble to meet his nutritional needs.
  • Do a test run and supervise your dog with each new toy. Check to see how much he moves with it (to protect carpet and furniture) and to ensure he uses it properly.
  • Make meal-time work-time. Place your dog’s food in an interactive toy so that he has to work for it. Not only does this give him a job to do that will keep him busy, but it is also helpful for digestion as it slows down his eating pace.


  • Make it a habit to trade with your dog. When he has a stuffed toy, offer him an even better single treat in exchange for dropping the Kong. Reward with the good treat and then give him the Kong back. Because the stuffed toy has good stuff in it, there is a chance he will become protective of it. Prevent this problem by making it normal for him to be rewarded for giving it back to you.
  • When mixing rewards with the dog food, there’s a chance they’ll end up on your carpet or furniture. If your dog likes to move around with his toy, make sure nothing valuable is at risk.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog mat (blanket or towel)
  • Dog food
  • Peanut Butter
  • Interactive toys

Article Info

Categories: Dog Obedience