We clean, we throw away old stockings with holes, we donate outdated clothes, we prepare a garage sale for our old kitchen items. You know too well that your old stuff can make others happy! But have you thought about the fact that these same items could make your dog happy?
You don’t always have to invest large amounts to keep Fido busy. Although many interactive games or toys will only be found at the local pet store and depending on what breed your dog is big like German shepherd or small like the bouledogue francais, there are plenty of items hidden in your cupboards that can be used to create new activities for your pets!
Getting your dog to reflect is an essential need for his psychological well-being.
If some of these ideas appeal to you, but you sadly find that you are running out of materials, virtually everything described here can be found in “dollar” stores. These places full of various low-quality items will do the job well for improvising new activities! Here are some suggestions for homemade toys for your dogs!
Not being toys suitable for consumption; remember to keep an eye on your dog as he plays with these toys. Swallowing a tiny portion of it shouldn’t affect your dog’s health. But if it tends to shred THEN swallow whatever comes in its mouth, you might be better off not deviating from strong and safe commercial toys.
Dog games with treats
In addition to simply hiding candy in the house or in the yard, certain everyday items can be used to improvise more or less complex puzzles in order to keep the pooch occupied for a long time.
Remember that it is not necessary to give the dog candy only. Here, every other morning, my dogs simply get their standard kibble breakfast in an interactive toy. Even my less greedy dog eats better and with more pleasure! To try!
Muffin and tennis ball mold
You will need …
- Tennis balls
- A muffin pan
- Sweets / croquettes
While this game seemed unbelievably simple to me… My 11 year old Border Collie stood idly by pushing the muffin pan into the kitchen with his nose. I also tried more than one kind of ball; interesting result! The method of catching some balls (smaller or rubber) turns out to be different from tennis balls, making the challenge repeatable and different! So you could try to hide the candy with …
- Tennis balls
- Rubber balls
- Put a small soft toy on top of the candy
Don’t hesitate to get out of the box and vary the type of items that will block access to the candy. So from one day to the next the challenge will be renewed. Doggie’s memory and tenacity will be put to the test!
For the first interaction with this game, I left an obstacle-free cavity in order to make Theo understand that there are many rewards inside. Do not hesitate to leave everything easier for the first sessions, especially if you know your canine buddy is impatient. He will gain confidence and persist with more pleasure if the game has paid off in the past.
You will need …
- Empty toilet paper rolls
- Cardboard box or plastic dish (high around like rolls)
A simple idea, but so effective! Collect as many empty toilet paper rolls as possible. Once you have enough of them, cut some of them so that they have varying lengths.
Insert your rolls into the cardboard box, vertically, to make it look like a beehive. Scatter your dog’s meal or treats in each roll.
The goal is for your dog to remove the rolls with his mouth in order to create space for himself to get the candy at the bottom. This is why it is important that the rolls are of various sizes; so he can have a grip with his mouth. Over time you might slightly increase the challenge by decreasing the length difference between the rollers!
Collect reusable rollers for the future. Those too worn after a few sessions will be easily replaced! Beautiful, good, not expensive!
Popsicles for dogs
Take an old jar of ice cream, fill it with water, croquettes, a dash of yogurt, a few bits of carrots or bananas and chicken broth, and put it all in the freezer! Treat yourself to this treat on hot summer days outside or in your dog’s crate to avoid damage. And There you go !
For the pros
Your dog is insatiable, and finds the solution to all the problems? Do you want to tinker around a bit? This type of interactive toy could keep Fido busy for hours!
Tug (or tug of war)
You will need …
- Old sweaters / T-shirt of similar length (the longer the better)
- A rule if you are as rotten as me to estimate 3 inches to the eye
Commercial or artisan type tying ropes are often of (almost) all-round strength. Thus a large majority of masters only take them out during training in order to limit wear and increase their value. But sometimes it’s nice to let your canine friend just tear his toy to pieces.
Why not make it yourself to leave a rope accessible to doggie for the game? Small polar blankets for dogs and babies can be found for less than $ 3. Even better: do you accumulate old T-shirts in your drawers? Why not just braid them!
- Gather old sweaters.
You could do it with just one sweater without any problems. But if you are hoping for a colorful braiding, you could use more than one to look for different patterns or colors.
- Cut your old sweater (s) into strips
No need to be precise here, nothing will appear in the end. All the straps need to be is the same length. Depending on the width / resistance you hope for in your tug, you will need to vary the number of straps to use. For a first try I suggest a total of 9 straps (3 per “branch” / sweater / color)
- Tie your nine ropes together using the strongest knot possible
Having very few thong lengths, it was impossible for me to simply tie a knot with my nine thongs at a time. I personally used one of the longer straps, completed a round encompassing all the other straps with this one, then pulled it under itself before tightening. Repeat with two other long straps for a minimum of strength.
Keep in mind that the primary quality of this toy isn’t that it’s foolproof anyway.
- Braid your thongs
Divide your strips into 3 bundles (normally you would like to keep those of the same color together), braid.
- Finish it off with another knot!
And There you go! You can vary the colors and fabrics! Some craftsmen even use leather in their tug! If you have access to a wide variety of textures and smells, let your imagination run wild!
Plastic bottles have a bite response sound and feel that is very unique and interesting. Thus, some toys found in stores are simple hairy or textured packaging in which we hide a bottle. My big disappointment? The durability of these toys is very low since the dog seems to be actively trying to smash it to pieces, stimulated by the bottle it contains. This time, let’s get rid of our old stockings!
You will need…
- A stocking
- An empty plastic bottle (a size that can fit in and be crushed by your dog’s mouth)
It couldn’t be simpler: slip the empty bottle without a stopper into a stocking. Tie a strong knot at the open end. Tada! If you intend to throw the toy in the pool or a waterhole, just leave the cap on the bottle before inserting it into the bottom!
And There you go! Pitou has never been so happy with your spring cleaning!
Do you also have your own DIY toy ideas? Leave us your ideas in comments, send us by email the photos of your creations and we will be happy to add your discoveries to this article!