If you’re like me, you like to recycle your junk. Why throw something away if it can have a second life? Right now during coronavirus lockdown you might be looking for ways to entertain your dog indoors, but can’t go to the pet store to buy something. Don’t despair, there’s a whole host of toys and games you can make from the trash you have in your rubbish bin. You can whip up almost all of these DIY dog toys in minutes!
Toilet Roll Tube Stack
It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Put those loo roll tubes that you’ve been collecting up to good use. If you have an old shoe box too, perfect. Stack the toilet roll tubes up on their ends in the shoe box and then drop treats in to the bottom. Watch as your pup goes nuts trying to get to the treats.
If your beastie is anything like mine, he may simply tip the box over and empty out the contents onto the floor. Clever dog!
This has lots of other names too – it’s also called a forage box, enrichment box, busy box… Call it what you like, your dog will love it.
Loosely fill a box with items such as empty plastic bottles, toilet roll tubes, scrunched up fabric. It’s good if the items can have different textures and make different noises when moved around in the box.
Throw some treats into the box so that they are hidden amongst the items. Invite your dog to find the treats. I prefer to use a plastic box for this game as it is reusable. A small cardboard box works just fine though.
For some dogs, the noise of the items moving can be unnerving. This game is good for gently encouraging greater confidence in nervous dogs. If your pet is very nervous, remove certain items from the box so there are fewer things to sniff through. Allow your dog to gradually build up courage to explore the box and its contents. You can always put more items in again once your dog is comfortable with the game.
Bottle Treats Dispenser
An old plastic bottle can very cheaply be turned into a great toy for your dog. Remove the label on the bottle so your pooch doesn’t end up eating it. Give the bottle a rinse and you’re ready to make some holes.
I used a small drill bit as I find it easier to make the initial holes like this than with scissors – if you do the same, just be careful not to drill your floor, or even worse, your hands. Bottles are pretty slippy things… I make a small hole big enough to get the scissors into then cut the hole to the size I want – too big and the treats will come out too fast, too small and they will never come out.
Also, the number of holes determines how fast the bottle will empty. I generally put 4 holes in, evenly spaced (ish) around the bottle. Make sure there are no sharp edges on the holes – if there are, snip them back or use sandpaper.
Like almost all recycled DIY toys, they are not meant to last. Most likely, your dog will pounce on the bottle and squish it. Whilst it may not fulfil its role of rolling along, spewing out treats as it goes, your dog is sure to have fun in the challenge. Either way, your pooch will enjoy it.
Make sure you throw the bottle away when it becomes damaged, otherwise the broken plastic could cut your dog’s mouth.
Grab an old towel, or even a mat if it is flexible enough to roll it up. Lay out the towel and place some treats along one edge. Roll the towel over the treats and place more treats on the towel. Continue to roll the towel over, then place more treats, until the towel is all rolled up with treats in it.
Then give it to your beastie and watch the magic happen… Some dogs are incapable of unrolling the towel to get to the treats. They may just toss the towel around. That’s OK too – it’s all entertainment and fun for your pup!
You can easily better make a snuffle mat for your dog. It will give them hours of cheap entertainment and valuable mental stimulation. See how to make one in this step-by-step article. Then sprinkle some treats into the folds of fabric and your dog will do what he does best – sniff!
Of course, you may prefer to just buy a snuffle mat or enrichment toy, and there are plenty to choose from. Some snuffle mats are incorporated with other elements to make beautiful nosework activity mats:
You might want to make some dog treats to use with all these fantastic toys – if so, check out some of our dog treat recipes: