Everything you need to know about occupation games for dogs

Boredom is inevitable. Just like us, our four-legged friends can get bored, and can cause a lot of problems. Occupation toys might be the solution for you to prevent destruction or anxiety issue. Why should we entertain your dog and which toys should we favor?

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Why should I entertain my dog?

« A busy dog, is a happy dog ».

Our furry friends need to be kept busy on a regular basis, inside and out your home.Why, and what are the benefits for your four-legged friend behind entertainment?


- Playing with your companion will keep him in a good physical and emotional shape. A busy dog ​​is a happy dog. Entertaining him help reducing stress and anxiety of loneliness.

- Entertaining him on a daily basis reduce or may even avoid behavioral problems. The most classic ones are repeated destruction, excessive barking, excessive demands for attention or poor management of loneliness.

- Distracting doggie may also prevent physical problems. The most common is unwanted licks. Nobody likes it! This type of behavior is called "surrogate activity" because it allows your pet to release his anxiety and boredom, and create a ritual to get your attention.

- Intellectually awakens the dog and can improve his dexterity.

- Games including treats encourage a slower eating habit, especially for fast eaters. This "anti-gluttonous" effect distract him for a longer period of time, and also provide him a better transit, and thus a better health condition.



First of all, teach him to be alone


As we have seen, entertaining your dog has many benefits. But be careful not to skip any step. Do not go to work and leave him alone all day in your flat on his day two. Whether it is with or without occupation toys, that would be a big and risky mistake to make. You can't teach someone to swim by throwing in him the middle of the ocean without any buoy!

Before leaving your dog alone for several hours, the first step is to teach him to be alone. As anything to be learned, it should be done smoothly and gradually for quicker and better results. Knowing how to be alone cannot be improvised, and it is necessary to do it serenely by steps, to establish good habits from the very start.


>> For more information, see my article to teach him loneliness "8 real tips to teach doggie to be alone"


Best Of occupation tous for dogs

Pet toys market is flooded with innovative brands and ideas. There is a wide range of occupation games, so beware of scams and bad initiatives. Before reading my selection, pay attention to the quality of the toys and be consistent with your dog's profile:


  • Please pay attention to quality and safety of games and brands. Look at the components list and prefer non-toxic materials. Some toys should only be used only while you are around. Pay extra attention to small loose parts which could be swallow or hurt you dog. Toys should be inspected regularly to make sure they are not damaged. In case of damage, discard it systematically and automatically.

  • Purchase toy according to the profile of your dog: his age, breed or size. For a puppy, older or small dog, prefer smaller sizes and softer materials. For a big dog with a strong jaw, prefer larger and more robust toys.

Hereby, a non-exhaustive selection of the best occupation toys:


Snuffle Mat

Made of several rows in which you may hide treats or food. It will then take to your dog several long minutes to eat everything, instead of devouring very quickly. You can buy it or make it yourself.

TIP: Recommended for non-destructive dogs. Otherwise you rmay have a non pleasant surprise on your return.



Kong

You have probably seen it before, as it is by far the most popular game! Come from the Brand Kong itself, however you may find other brands just as good, and sometimes cheaper. The goal is to slip some croquettes into a round container. It will force your companion to chew it and turn it upside down to get his precious sesame inside.

TIP: Place food in a compact way inside. Leave it in the fridge or the freezer, and give it to your dog at the last minute before you leave. It will increase the difficulty and therefore time spent getting the food.


Pipolino

This bone-shaped treat dispenser is designed to encourage the dog to play with it to get treats out. Although pipolino was originally created for fun and to reduce the stress of loneliness, it can also replace an anti-glutton dog bowl.

TIP: to introduce your dog to the game, place the toy next to a wall (preferably where the bowl is) and place one or two kibbles between the wall and the pipolino. Your doggie will have to push it away to retrieve the kibble.

Strategy game

Strategy games are designed to keep your dog's brain active. It includes several hatches to slide, elements to move or release to obtain kibble. It encourage your dog to think for satisfaction, and stimulates him intellectually.

TIP: Be careful to choose the right one accodring to the degree of difficulty and the profile of your dog. Start with an easy one (especially for puppy), then over time you may increase the difficulty, and even creat your own one.


Gyro

With its shape of Saturn planet, the Gyro is a mix between Kong and Pipolino. Made of one central ball where treats are inserted, and one resistant disc that spins around the ball. Your dog as to move and turn the ball to get the treats. Designed to be used alone, you can give it during your firsts absences.

TIP: Place food in a compact way inside. Leave it in the fridge or the freezer, and give it to your dog at the last minute before you leave. It will increase the difficulty and therefore time spent getting the food.



Snoop

Awarded several times in the United States for its innovation. The Snoop is a transparent and flexible ball in which you can insert treats of different sizes. It is also bouncy which adds fun and difficulty for your dog.

The snoop floats, and can be used in the water for more fun.

TIP: Insert another Planet ball or Orbee-Tuff ball in the initial one for more difficulty.






Le cache cache

Yes, a hide-and-seek as in your childhood in the playgrounds! We are not going to "look for your dog" but rather to "make your dog look for" something. Whether it's his favorite toys or treats, hide them in your home, under a sofa or behind a door, for your dog to play Sherlock Holmes.

You can play this game with him, for example in the house when the weather is despicable, but also while you are away to entertain him.

TIP: Do not give hin access to too large space (such as several rooms) at the begining. It will increase the risk of mischief. Start with a easy room as the kitchen. Alternate treats and toys, while favroing toys that are not too old, such as a teddy bear, to avoid suffocation if it breaks.



You are now an expert! All you have to do is choose the right game for your friend. Vary games and activities, and remember that nothing can replace a good walk to spend his energy outside and socialize him.


Share your experiences and advice in the comments! If you have any other game that works well, please share them with us, Raymond will be happy to have new toys.

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When we welcomed Raymond, our first dog, we quickly felt alone and by our own. We wanted to create this blog to share our tips and help all dog lovers. 

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