Written by Amy Shephard our Enrichment Coordinator
Fido following you around while you’re trying to work from home? Is Whiskers the cat lying on your computer while you’re trying to type? We’ve got some fun enrichment ideas to keep your pets entertained with everyday household items. During the TP crisis of 2020, getting every last use out of the roll is essential. Don’t throw the empty cardboard tube away. Instead, try folding the ends of the tube in and then place some of your pet favorite treats inside. This puzzle is great for both our canine and feline friends.
A similar, but slightly more difficult puzzle would be to use an old Tupperware container. Punch a few holes into the top so your pet can smell the treats inside and then leave it to Fido to figure out how to release the goodies. If this is too challenging for your dog or you would like to modify the puzzle for a cat, cut larger openings into the top of the Tupperware just big enough for their favorite treats to fit through the openings. When your pet knocks the bin around the treats will be dispensed on to the floor.
Since we all have more time at home with our pets during the “Safer at Home” order, a great game to play with your dog is the “Solo Shell game.” The Solo Shell game is likely the easiest in terms of preparation. Just grab Fido’s favorite treat and three solo cups. Start out by showing Fido which cup the treat is held under and let him tip the cup to reach the treat. Once Fido has figured out that the treats are hidden under the cup you can up the ante and distract Fido by throwing a treat away from you and then hiding a treat under a cup. This will encourage Fido to use his nose and his brain to find the hidden treat.
As Easter approaches, another fun activity could be setting up an Easter egg hunt for your dog. Poke a small hole in the bottom of the egg and use a strong-smelling treat to fill the egg. Confine your dog to one room and hide the eggs around the rest of the house. Release Fido once all the Easter eggs are hidden and stand back to enjoy the show. Even though Fido may not be exerting a large amount of physical energy to complete these games, you will be amazed at how mentally stated he will be. The Easter egg hunt and its easier version of “Find It” (hiding just treats around the house) satisfies your pets’ internal need to forage for food.