How bored is your dog?
Just imagine staying home alone, 5 days a week for 8-10 hours at a time, without the ability to do anything to entertain yourself. No thumbs or fingers to work the remote control, can't get yourself a snack out of the fridge, you can't even read a book to keep yourself busy! For the dogs that are in kennels all day, it would have to be even worse, you can't even go look out the window to bird watch. I would go crazy, wouldn't you?
There are so many things that you can do for your dogs to keep them busy while you are gone during the day, or even to keep them occupied while you make dinner. Anything that makes them search for a food source will help keep them entertained and out of trouble.
Snuffle Mats, Pick Pockets, stuffed Kongs that have been frozen with kibble and peanut butter inside, muffin tins with treats underneath tennis balls in different holes, and the list goes on and on. If you are worried about your dog gaining weight, just use their allocated kibble amount and split it up into different things that they need to do to find it. Use multiple Kongs that have been frozen the night before with damp kibble and use peanut butter, cream cheese or applesauce to seal the large hole. For dogs that are not kenneled, hide them around the house for them to search for. For kenneled dogs, go ahead and put the Kongs in the kennel with them when you leave for work.
Snuffle Mats are a great way to slow your dog down if they like to inhale their food. I timed my dog Chewie a few days ago, I gave him half of his food in his slow food bowl (designed to slow them down) and the other half on a snuffle mat. He finished every piece of food in the bowl in less than 40 seconds, and then it took him 7 minutes to finish his food that I put on his snuffle mat. Pretty big difference! This is a video of my dogs doing the Pick a Pocket Game. I just hid a handful of kibble in there, but it could be used to feed them their meals also.
The next video is of my client Mary Belle using her Snuffle Mat for the first time. She is going to be having all of her meals on her mat, using that nose to seek out every piece is great for a Bloodhound!
If you have any questions about any of the above enrichment activities, feel free to comment or send me a message on my website! Thanks and go play some games with your dogs! Claire