Working to eat
How to keep your dog occupied, entertained, and tired
Make it your goal to have your dog work for at least half of their food through training, puzzles, or interactive play. You'll have a calmer, quieter, and better-behaved dog who will thank you for it!
Ditch the food bowl
There is no law that says you have to feed you dog out of a bowl. You can use your dog's daily food rations to practice training, to reward desired behaviors, and to give them mental enrichment and physical exercise. Making your dog's world a more engaging and rewarding place keeps them happy and entertained while reducing stress. It also gives your dog an appropriate outlet for doggy-urges like scavenging, problem-solving, and tearing things up!
Stock the freezer
If you don't already own a few Kongs® or empty marrow bones, run-- don't walk-- to the nearest pet store and get some! These make perfect food bowl replacements and "pacifiers." Stuff the Kongs® with whatever dog-friendly food you have on hand. This can be simple, such as canned food or soaked kibble, or you can creative with leftovers and yummy fillings. Check out the video below or this blog for recipes and ideas. Once you have your Kongs® and bones stuffed, put them in the freezer until they're solid.
Give them something to do
With a stock of frozen Kongs® and bones on hand, you can pull one out whenever you need it. Say your holiday party guests are arriving, and your dog is getting antsy in their crate. Give them a frozen Kong® to occupy them, and everyone gets to enjoy a quiet and pleasant dinner. Maybe your dog didn't get their usual amount of exercise on a day you were running around getting ready for the holidays. Give your dog a Kong® for dinner and let them exhaust themselves mentally to earn their meal.
Working to eat doesn't end with frozen Kongs®! You can give your dog their dinner in a food-dispensing toy like the Wobbler® or Buster Cube®. You can even make your own food-dispensing toys with leftover egg cartons or yogurt containers. Watch the video below for instructions on DIY toys.
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