How To Keep Your Dog Busy

How To Keep Your Dog


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Dogs need physical stimulus to be happy and healthy. Staying outside, going for long walks, and playing are great ways to activate your dog, but your dog also needs other stimuli.


Occasionally it might not be possible to go outside to release your dog’s energy, so you must be doing something engaging indoors instead. It might be difficult to come up with ways to keep your dog mentally stimulated since it does require a lot of imagination. 



Luckily I am here to give you ways to give your dog stimulus and make him the happiest dog he can be!



But keep in mind that indoor activities don’t replace the need for outdoor activities.

Mental stimulus is a major part of a dog’s health. It is just as important as everyday physical exercise. When it is not possible to take your dog out for a walk, for example, due to an injury or after surgery, mental stimulation is needed to avoid boredom and keep him occupied.



A dog who doesn’t get enough physical or mental stimulation often ends up releasing his built-up energy in a way it is not desired. He may, for example, chew or destroy their owner’s belongings or furniture. This is one of the most crucial reasons why it is valuable to give your dog plenty of stimulation.



When your dog sniffs scents on a walk, focuses hard on a task, such as obedience training or playing with a puzzle toy, or tries to find treats around the house, it leads to a tired but happy dog.

So, how do you keep your dog busy?

1. Nosework

Nosework is an activity that lets your dog be in his natural state, which is the desire to hunt. 


Nosework is an easy and fun way to keep your furry friend’s mind occupied and give him mental stimuli. This can be done indoors. 


There are multiple ways your dog can do nose work.

Hide treats around the house

One way to do nosework is to hide treats around the house and let your dog find them. You can add a command ‘seek’ when you want him to start searching.

Start by telling your dog to stay.

Hide a delicious treat in a way that he sees where you place it.

Then release him and use the command ’seek’.

After he has learned the command, you can make the task more difficult by hiding the treat from his sight. This way he can learn to start to seek treats from around the house.

To make the task extra hard you can toss his favorite treats into your yard if possible. It is harder for him to find the treats since there will be so many other sents.

'Which hand'

Another way to do nosework with your dog is to hide treats into your hands. This is the most effortless ways to do nosework.

The way to do this is that you both sit in front of each other.

Place a treat into your hand while he is watching.

Then ask him ’which one’ , without opening your hands.

When he touches one of your hands you open the hand and if the treat is there you reward him with it. 

If the treat isn’t there, you show your empty hand to him and close it . Repeat ’which hand’ until he finds the treat.

You can make the task more difficult by not showing him which hand you put the treat to. You place one treat into your hands and put both of your hands behind your back. Move the treat from hand to hand.

 This way the sent of the treat is on both of your hands. 

Then you put your hands in front of your dog and ask him ’which one’. 

Nosework classes

If you are a bit lost and need guidance with starting the nosework, you can also attend a nosework class with your dog. The classes are guided and made just for people like you. 


Find a nosework class nearby.

2. Train your dog everyday

Whether it’s doing obedience training or learning a new trick, it is good to train your dog every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes per day. Training your dog every day keeps him mentally stimulated.

This also creates a deep and strong bond between the two of you. Your dog learns to listen to you, behave and obey.

A great way to train your dog is to teach him a new trick or a command. By teaching him a new trick your dog gets new stimuli. This new stimulus exhausts him differently than by doing the tricks he already knows how to do.

If your dog already knows all the basic commands like ’sit’ and ’lay’, you can try to teach him more advanced tricks such as ’spin’ or ’paw’.

3. Create a place for him to see the world

Put up a place for your dog to see what happens outside. 

This is what I have for my dogs at home:

My dog’s like to watch what happens outside and also they like to wait here when I’m not at home. Every time I arrive home, they are looking out the window.

They can watch dogs walk by with their owners and see cars drive by. 

Sometimes they spend a lot of time there.

Puzzle toys require a lot of focus from dogs and in the end, they get rewarded for their hard work.

You can hide treats into a snuffle mat where he can search for them.
After a while and after your dog has learned to use a puzzle toy, you can try freezing a stuffed toy. This way getting the food out of the toy becomes harder and takes more of his time and energy.

You can also make a puzzle toy at home.

5. Buy him new toys or modify the old

You can make the new toy special by giving it to him but after the playing session, you take it away from him. When it is time to give him mental stimuli again, give him that toy again. This way he won’t get bored with the toy too quickly.

You can also make his old toys even better by combining them and hiding treats in the middle.

6. Give your dog a bone to nibble on

Give your dog a bone. Make sure the bone doesn’t have small parts in it and it is decent sized so he won’t choke on it.


Don’t leave your dog alone with the bone.

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