Being stuck in a confined space for long periods of time can make any living being feel restless and antsy.
Us humans would probably whine and gripe about how bored we are and then proceed to make TikTok videos or experiment on a new recipe. All these new found hobbies serve as mental stimulation in order for us to maintain our sanity.
Similarly, pets who are bored and under stimulated may start to develop destructive behaviors to entertain themselves. Typical signs of a bored dog include:
- Excessive barking
- Destructive chewing or digging
- Hyper zoomies
- Attempts to escape the house
Therefore in order to keep our furkids sane and not have them comically interrupt our work calls at home with melodious howlings, here are 6 ways to physically and mentally stimulate them.
1. Finding treats
Our pets have an innate and natural response to get excited by and sniff out interesting scents. Why else do you think your dog gets extra excited when you’re carrying a pack of food from the door to the table?
The benefits of getting your dogs to sniff around for treats include:
- It’s a fun way to give them extra mental and physical stimulation
- It gives them something exciting and rewarding to do
- It’s an easy way to bond with your furkid (plus cute Instagram stories for you!)
Some places to hide treats could be:
- In a blanket or a large cloth and watch them scramble around to find the treat
- On a muffin tray which requires them to push around the treats and access them from different angles
- Around the house to create a “treat scavenger hunt”
- In an old tennis ball which sorta acts as a DIY Kong toy.
2. Tug of War
This game is a great form of exercise that could help you tire out your furkid thus minimising the occurrence of destructive behaviors.
If you don’t have a durable toy that allows you to play this game with, you can cut up an old shirt and weave it together. Plus, it doubles as a DIY Kong too when you stuff some treats between the weaves.
Some important things to remember when playing tug of war with your furkid include:
- Adjusting your strength to the weight and size of your dog
- Always tug left or right and never up or down as it could lead to spinal injury
However, you might want to refrain from playing this game with dogs that have arthritis, dental concerns or a history of aggression. Read more about it here.
3. Which Hand Game
This is a really simple game which only requires you to have treats small enough to hide in your clenched fists. All you’ll have to do is:
- Have some treats ready and your dog in a sitting position
- Let your dog watch you place a treat in one of your hands
- Close your hands into a downward facing fist
- Extend your closed fists out and ask your dog, “Which hand?”
- Praise and give them the treat when they touch or signal the correct hand
4. Teach Them New Tricks
Dogs performing tricks are a relatively common thing but this video shows that it’s possible to teach cats to ring a bell for treats too.
Besides being a really cool thing to show off to your friends and family, teaching your pets tricks could improve their overall obedience and manners.
However like humans, different pets would pick up on new tricks at different paces. The key to training them is to be firm and patient in consistently repeating and reinforcing the desired behavior.
And of course, a good variation of treats that your pet enjoys.
PS: Here’s a list of 52 tricks to teach your dog and wow your friends.
5. Help Out Around The House
Now that your furkid has gained the skills to stay still and hold on to something, perhaps they could be an extra set of paws at home.
Of course rewarded with a lot of praise and treats as we do not condone animal cruelty.
6. Give Them A Massage
Now that they’ve helped around the house and worked for their treats, perhaps our furkids deserve more than the standard behind the ear scratchies or belly rubs! Here’s a guide to give your cat or dog the best massage of their lives.
Some benefits of massaging your pet includes lowering stress and anxiety, improving blood and fluid circulation as well as promoting overall wellness.
7. Jump On The Pet Challenges Hype Train
A win-win for both pets and their owners, these challenges are cute for us humans and entertaining for our pets.
Here’s a suggestion of challenges that may be fun for you and your furkid:
- Jumping over stacks of toilet paper rolls
- Holding an egg in their mouth
- Reacting to invisible food
- Getting through an obstacle of random things
- Disappearing with a blanket drop
Who knows, you could turn them into petfluencers on TikTok.