Keeping your dog busy when you live in an apartment is absolutely vital to both his and your sanity. I was once told that a happy dog is a sleepy dog and holy crap I couldn’t agree with that more! In addition to keeping you both happy, It also keeps you on good terms with the neighbors.
You might recall the recent post on the best large dogs for apartments I did. That post featured the best large breed dogs for apartment living. All of them had one thing in common – they had low energy levels.
However, a dog with a low energy level isn’t a dog that never wants to move. You’ll still need to give your dog both physical and mental stimulation. Luckily, keeping your dog busy is fairly easy, especially if you have a dog with lower energy levels.
Easy Ways for Keeping Your Dog Busy
From a nice walk to some simple toys, keeping your dog busy is actually a lot easier than you might think. Dogs are simple creatures. They want food, love, and something to keep them occupied. You’re already giving them the first two – and probably the third, as well – but if you’re looking for more ways to keep your dog occupied, there’s bound to be something here that your dog will love.
1. Go For a Walk
This one is good for both you and your dog. Daily walks are already recommended for your dog’s mental and physical health. To ensure that he gets in his daily dose of exercise, make that walk a nice long one. Of course, “long” depends on your dog’s breed and stamina. For example, a long walk for a lap dog might be around the block, while a larger dog will require a bit more distance.
2. Play “Find the Treats”
“Find the treats’ is a game that’s exactly what it sounds like. You hide treats for your dog to find. This game is great because they get some tasty treats and some great mental stimulation. We recommend using carrots for this game, as too many dog treats can quickly pack on the pounds Begin by letting your dog watch you place treats around the room. Then say “find the treats” and let your dog go snap them up. Repeat this until your dog understand what “find the treats” means. That’s when it gets fun. Once your dog understands the command, hide the treats when he’s out of the room in places where he has to sniff them out such as under the edge of an area rug or in between the couch cushions. Say “find the treats”, and watch him go.
3. Play Fetch
Even the laziest dog usually loves to play fetch. Playing fetch is a great way to spend quality time with your pooch and get in plenty of physical and mental stimulation. He’ll get exercise by running for the ball or toy, and he’ll get mental exercise by having to find it whenever it takes a rogue bounce, which is often, as we dog owners know.
4. Get Kong Toys
Kong toys are the gold standard for keeping your dog busy. Stuff the Kong with peanut butter, or any other of his favorite treats, and then let him have at it. He’ll happily chew away, trying to figure out how to get his nom noms out of the Kong and into his belly. Check out Humphrey’s favorites below!
5. Play Tug of War
Contrary to what many people believe, playing tug of war will NOT promote aggressive behavior in your dog. Tug of war is a natural way to play with your dog and help him relieve pent up energy because it’s how dogs naturally play with each other.
The big bonus for people who live in apartments is that it doesn’t require a lot of room, making it the perfect indoor game. Because dogs can get incredibly excited when playing this game, establish some ground rules such as stopping the game if your dog’s teeth touch your hand or he gets too aggressive in his play. Grab Humphrey’s favorite tug toy here!
6. Will Work for Food
Working for his food is an excellent method for keeping your dog busy. Dogs have cushy lives, with everything given to them, however, dogs are natural hunters and scavengers. Making them work for their dinner isn’t mean.
It’s great mental stimulation for them. You can either have them do a few basic tricks like sit and shake before giving them their dinner or you can use a food dispensing toy to make dinner time more interesting.
Training is another tried and true method for keeping your dog busy. Our dogs love to please us and teaching them tricks provides loads of mental stimulation. Start small with the basics that all dogs should know like “sit” and “stay”. From there, you can move on to more fun commands like “shake”, “high five”, “roll over”, and the like.
8. Get a Wide Variety of Dog Toys
Dog toys are excellent for providing both mental and physical simulation. Keep a variety of dog toys in the house for your dog to choose from. Ropes, chew toys, plushies (provided your dog doesn’t gut them), and squeaky toys all work together to keep your pooch occupied and engaged. For extra variety, rotate his toys so that they always seem new and fun to him.
9. Head to the Dog Park
One of the staples of keeping your dog busy should be a trip to the dog park. A trip to the park allows for the physical stimulation of being free to run and play, while also giving him the mental stimulation of meeting new friends. He’ll be in dog heaven meeting new dogs and their owners and playing in between all those introductions.
10. Just Chill Out
Sometimes, keeping your dog busy requires nothing more than you and your couch. This is personally my favorite way to kick it with Humphrey! One of the best ways to keep your dog happy is just to be with him. Is there a movie you’ve been wanting to watch? Do you need to catch up on half a season of your favorite TV show? Your dog will be MORE than happy to be your couch buddy. Humphrey is my tv show binge partner-in-crime!
Keeping Your Dog Busy is Easy
Keeping your dog busy is as easy as just being with him. Take him for a walk, play tug of war, or just watch TV if you’re both zonked. With all the ideas above, you’ll never run out of ways to keep your dog physically, mentally, and emotionally fulfilled.
So get out and play some fetch and then come back in and watch that latest Netflix show you’ve been meaning to see. Your dog will be delighted to do both with you. Shop Humphrey’s leash and favorite toys below!