If you are like me, you have hundreds of dollars invested in a wide variety of toys and enrichment for your best buddy. Sometimes, your pet seems bored anyway. Instead of spending money, take a look inside your recycling bin. There you are likely to find a free and fun enrichment activity to do with your pet.
Today in my recycling bin, I had a shoe box, and tons of empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls begging to be reborn. First, I cut the paper towel rolls the same size as the toilet paper rolls. Next, I stuffed the rolls into the shoe box, end side up so it looked like a honey comb when filled. I then sprinkled some treats into the empty paper rolls and put the lid on the shoe box.
All three of my dogs went into a Sit/Stay as I placed a shoe box in front of each of them. After practicing impulse control for a minute, I gave them the Ok to get the puzzle. It took them a millisecond to take the lid off, as I do a lot of puzzle work with my dogs. But because it was novel, each of my dogs found the treats in a different way, effectively keeping them busy for a few moments of enrichment.
Months later, I can still use these as my dogs have not destroyed any of the cardboard. I do pick the shoe boxes up when they are done which means the game remains novel. If I had a puppy, or a chow hound, I’d watch closely to make sure they were not eating the cardboard.
This can be modified to work with all sorts of pets from dogs and cats, to ferrets, rats, and birds. If I were doing this with a flat faced dog, cat, or smaller animals, I would likely cut the rolls in half, along with the sides of the shoe box to make it easier for them to get to the treats.
***Please note that all pets should be supervised when playing with items from the recycling bin.