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5 Great DIY Enrichment Toys for Dogs

An enriched dog is a happy dog. Here are a few fun DIY ideas to keep your pup entertained and mentally stimulated.

Most of these ideas are biodegradable as well, so you don’t have to worry if the toy gets lost in your backyard!

1) Snuffle Mat

A snuffle mat is basically a whole heap of fabrics sewn together.

Foraging in a snuffle mat is a way to feed your dog in an engaging way. Foraging requires open nostrils and for the dog to focus on the sensory experience of smell to locate their food.

Rather than throwing down a bowl of food on the floor that your dog chows down as fast as it can, you can make it a more challenging/rewarding experience by embedding the treats in a snuffle mat so the dog physically works for their food.

This is beneficial to their well-being as it helps release hormones in their body that help promote relaxation. They’re also a great choice for rainy days.

2) Toilet Roll Puzzle

To create a toilet roll puzzle, simply place your dog’s favourite treats inside a toilet roll and fold the ends.

This puzzle is an easy way to dedicate time for an enrichment activity. Most dogs take a few minutes to figure this puzzle out and get the treats inside. Many dogs love to chew the toilet roll after too.

It would be great to target 10 to 15 enrichment minutes every day (the more the merrier). This can take the form of a variety of activities. Whether your dog is spending time opening up the toilet roll puzzle or a different activity, being able to change up their enrichment routine is a sound way to help create a happier dog.

3) Peanut Butter Popsicle

A peanut butter popsicle can be made by freezing peanut butter and optional treats, meat or greek yogurt in an ice tray or rubber dog toy.

You can also then cap the toy with frozen peanut butter so that the dog takes time licking through the peanut butter ice before reaching the treat mix inside. Typically, the dogs will take their popsicle to a safe location and figure out how to balance it properly while they eat it.

Most dogs can spend around 20 to 30 minutes working through the task, which is a really great way to keep them occupied and tucker them out. These are also great to use when leaving the house for a little while, as the dog will feel very engaged with their imperative task of eating the popsicle while you’re away.

4) Rolled-up Towel

For this toy, simply add a few treats to a rolled-up towel, or try folding it in a way that your dog will have to spend some time working through to unravel it.

The towel acts as a form of enrichment for sniffing around and searching for a reward for food. During this task, dogs are leading with their nose in a natural foraging state to locate the treats.

It is important to note, that people may consider this DIY enrichment to reinforce destructive behaviour, however, this is not the case, the greyhound is leading with their nose to locate food, not using their teeth.

5) Bobbing for Treats

Transform the party game of bobbing for apples into something your dog can play too!

You’ll just need a plastic tub/clamshell pool filled with water and a few treats that can float on the surface. This is an especially fun activity in the summertime when dogs love to splash around in the water to cool off whilst maneuvering for a nice snack.

If you notice that your dog is a little cautious with the pool and the water, try starting with either no water in the pool or with very shallow water so that you're enabling them to obtain the reward easily at the beginning. You can then advance the puzzle over time by adding more water to the pool.

PS, if you’re heading out to buy a pool and have little dogs, choose a size that can double as a hydrotherapy bath for them.

Contact GAP NSW to Adopt or Foster a Greyhound 

To start looking for your new best mate, please use our dogs for adoption page and feel free to make an application.

During the application process, we’ll ask questions about your preferred activities and how much time you expect to devote to a greyhound. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to let us know your preferences and meet potential greyhounds.

We understand families may have different preferences for the amount of activity they expect to devote to their dog each day.  We offer a 14-day foster experience and provide ongoing support from our behaviourists to help your greyhound remain happy at home.