5 Ways An Old Cardboard Box Can Make Your Dog Happy
I recently ordered some dog blankets and yesterday they arrived. I had ordered nine and was surprised they came in a box. On opening it, I realised they came in individual boxes too which seemed pointless when we live on a struggling planet. However, they did give me an enrichment idea – every cloud has a silver lining.
So, here’s 5 free and easy enrichment ideas for you and your dog.
A Box of Kongs
Kongs can be stuffed to the brim or just have one treat in them. Often we stuff them and hand them over, but an open box with a few Kongs and other activity treat toys is a great variation in that theme. Remember when you were a child and had a full Christmas stocking, a box of toys with less treats in each will give your dog that happy feeling too.
A Box of Towel
Drop some treats in the bottom of your box then in an open towel. Wrap the towel up and stuff it into the box on top of the original treats, sprinkle a couple more and hand that box over. It will keep your friend busy for ages.
A Box of Choices
I first saw the cardboard box game on the Karen Pryor website. It’s an excellent way to build your dog’s confidence to try new things. You can pop the empty box in front of your dog and start rewarding them each time they try something new with it. Ideally carried out with a clicker, marking every little choice and rewarding, this game can also be played by just tossing a treat towards your dog every time he acknowledges the box. See if you can get him to nose nudge it, paw it, push it and if it’s safe to do so maybe even get in it. Remember to encourage your dog to try new things but don’t lure him – the idea is to build initiative by rewarding the act of trying new things, even the smallest ones.
Ripping the Box
Put something scrummy in the box and seal it. Let your dog rip it open to get the treats inside. Facilitating a way that your dog can do dog things is wonderful.
Hide and Seek
Pop something your dog loves in the box then show your dog you’re leaving the room with it. Hide it somewhere in the next room or even the garden – start easy if your dog isn’t an experienced finder, then let them into the area to find the box and their treasure within it.
All the above ideas will need to be catered to your dog’s confidence and competence level. Dogs with low confidence tend to walk away if they don’t believe they can achieve something, so start easy to ensure they succeed. You can make things more challenging as you go – but always keep your activities about setting your dog up to succeed, especially when they have to use a bit of extra brainpower to do so.