Outdoor Boredom Turned into Fun

by: Jennifer Oldfield

FinnySpring is here and if your dog is anything like mine, they are ready and eager to help with the yard work!

However digging holes isn’t always what you have in mind so what can you do to stop your dog from digging?  LOTS!  Dogs generally dig for a small handful of reasons:

  • boredom
  • to bury or find something previously buried
  • searching for little critters

Many dogs also bark or are destructive when they are bored – because they figure, what else is there to do?

Some great ideas can be found on the internet and Pinterest to create a fun play area for your dog to keep them busy.  Providing them with their own “sand box” where they are allowed to dig can be helpful in preventing them from digging where you don’t want.  It will be important to teach them that this is their area to dig.  When you find them digging in the wrong location, simply tell them no and take them over to their new digging area and encourage them and praise them for digging there.  If your dog is one that likes to bury and “find” their toys, hide one part way into the sand and encourage them to “get it”.  Always provide lots of praise and encouragement when they are digging in the area that is designed for them, especially initially until they understand this is where they should go for this behaviour.

Provide activities for your dogs – areas where they can get up or go under, run across or around.  Recycling objects can be helpful in creating a great play area without too much expense.  The images below are taken from an assortment of places on the internet.

Old tires can be used for:

  • creating stacks to climb on
  • creating tunnels to run through or lay under
  • creating a sand pit

It is a good idea if you are using tires to paint them.  Also if you have a dog that is likely to want to chew on them, this may not be the best material for you to use.

Old pallets can be used to:

  • create play areas to climb or jump up and down from
    • create a mini “dogwalk” or mini “A-frame”
  • use the wood to create a boxed in area for a sand pit

There are also other ways to keep your dog from becoming bored.  Provide them with stuffed kongs that can be kept in the freezer and are ready to give when your dog is going to be hanging out and in need of something to do.  You can freeze blocks of water with treats or toys hidden inside for them to work at getting to.  Keep in mind with the size of the block of ice, your dogs typical behaviour, you don’t want a giant block if your dog is likely to try and ingest many giant pieces of ice all at once.  You also don’t want to put non-edible items inside if your dog is likely to try and ingest them.   A great start to this is to take a few pieces of watermelon, put them in a shallow dish add enough water to mostly cover them and freeze.

You can also make your own treat puzzles to keep your dogs busy.  A simple idea is to use a bit of wood and empty 2 liter bottles.  Find the instructions here for the one in the image below.  “Hide” toys, treats, and stuffed kongs in your dog’s play area to find.  A few items to discover can keep them busy for a long time

treat toy

Have fun creating an area for your dog and providing entertainment but don’t lose sight of the fact that providing your dog with a good walk or run every day is also important for not only their physical health but their mental health as well!

Additional resources:

Summer Care Tips

Stuffed kong recipes



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