Dogs happy if they can sink teeth into the task
BEING busy is better than being bored. Most of us are happier doing than not doing and having a good reason to be busy helps maintain an upbeat state of mind.
For dogs too, being forced into long hours of idleness waiting for some action is a real downer. They enjoy having something to do.
Given a choice, most dogs want to be active – sniffing, digging, chewing and racing around being curious.
They have energy to burn, originally bred to do specific jobs like guarding, herding or hunting where physical stamina and mental concentration are the name of the game. Long stretches of idleness are not.
Food challenges are one way to enrich your dog’s world.
Several studies have found that if given a choice between free food and food that requires work, (such as searching or manipulating an object), many animals prefer to work for their food.
There are more interesting ways for dogs to eat than having their food dished up in a bowl.
Dry food tossed into the back yard has dogs happily snuffling around in the grass to find it. Food hidden inside dog kong toys bring great delight to dogs who like to keep busy.
Snuffle mats are a new favourite for dogs too, because they get to sniff out hidden treats.
Made from a rubber mat base with strips of fleecy material knotted densely through the holes in the matting, treats are pushed down between the strips for dogs to hunt out.
If your dog’s a chewer and ripper, just keep an eye out to make sure fleecy strips aren’t getting chewed and devoured in all the excitement.
You can make your own mat, buy online or purchase at the Hobart Dogs Home.
INQUISITVE: Mac tracks down a treat in his snuffle mat.