Kalmpets top brain exercise ideas are below (***note: all toys have the potential to become a hazard if ingested, always monitor your dog to ensure they are not ingesting non-food items***)
Recycle your recyclables:
- Milk bottles and cartons: put kibble/biscuits and a few extra tasty treats inside a finished milk carton or bottle. Note: remove the lid and ring off milk bottles.
- Cardboard boxes: put kibble/biscuits/treats in the box and seal. Dogs love to use their super sense of smell to locate food inside. Increase the level of difficulty by layering food/treats around boxes of various sizes that are stacked within each other.
- The humble toilet roll: smear cream cheese/peanut butter/vegemite/honey inside the toilet roll add a few solid treats, squash the ends of the toilet roll and deliver for a simple enrichment.
- Google DIY dog toys for more ideas.
- Pushed for time in the mornings? Try scattering your dog’s dry food around your yard.
- Smell strengthening: create scent trails using a tin of tuna or sardines. Drizzle tinned liquid/oil in a continuous stream around your yard. Place a few ‘jackpots’ of tuna/sardines at intervals on the trail to give your dog a little motivator to continue the good work.
Dog Slurpie: fill empty ice-cream or yoghurt containers with dilute chicken or beef stock, add a few treats and/or toys then freeze. Deliver the frozen block from the container and let the slurping begin!
- Kong: Kong has many forms, each offering a different challenge for your dog. Don’t let past poor performances with Kong put you of; this toy has endless possibilities. Ask Kalmpets for Kongs 50 ways with Kong handout or search online for limitless ideas.
- Hanging toys: aussiedog.com.au has a wonderful durable range of toys designed hang from patios. Some have a treat delivery option which produces a treat when pulled vigorously.
- Puzzle feeder: investigate the possibility of puzzle feeders online. Every toy requires a different problem solving strategy to keep your dog’s mind in peak health.
Let your dog follow their nose
A good belt-out run or aerobic activity helps to maintain physical health however the more you walk/run your dog the fitter they become and the more you have to walk/run your dog…… Daily exercise is important but Kalmpets challenges you to focus on content rather than distance when walking your dog. Dogs are ‘one big nose on four legs’ and they enjoy nothing better than a good sniffing session. Sniffing is energetically expensive leaving your dog both satisfied and exhausted.
Sniffing session tips:
- Slow it down. Give your dog time to get all the information they need before moving on.
- Vary location regularly and focus on local parks and bushland.
- Include simple behaviours such as jumping up and off benches, weaving through bollards and coming when called.
- Down-time. Take time to sit on the grass together and let your dog roll around and relax.
- Bring the outside in by collecting leaves/branches/feathers on your walk to use for enrichment at home.
- Add pet friendly herbs or pet grass to your garden. Planting in pots on castors allows you to rotate the garden adding variety to your dog’s day.
- Use boxes, PVC pipes and sheets to make obstacle courses of jumps and tunnels.
- Choose plants that naturally grow to provide a den like undergrowth e.g. Australian Myrtle.
- Outdoor tables and children’s cubby houses can be transformed to provide viewing platforms for dogs that like a view.
- Sand pits are an ideal way to support a healthy digging habit without sacrificing the garden. Burying treats and toys in the sandpit will reward digging behaviour in this location and reduce the likelihood of digging elsewhere.