Playing with your dog is a great way to build your dog’s confidence, provide mental stimulation, and strengthen your bond. While there are many terrific dog toys available, there are also lots of fun and simple games that you can play at home with your dog using everyday household items.
In the book Playtime for Your Dog: Keep Him Busy Throughout the Day, author Christina Sondermann offers fun and creative games that you and your dog can do together. In one exercise, she explains how to recycle plastic water bottles for an entertaining game of spin the bottle – canine-style! All you need is a solid plastic bottle and a stick (a bamboo pole, for example).
Here’s how it works (excerpted from Playtime for Your Dog):
- Carefully drill two holes halfway each side of the plastic bottle. Push the stick through the holes.
- Place some treats in the bottle, hold on to both ends of the stick, and invite your dog to play. Some dogs are creative enough to start to “spin” the bottle immediately. Others may need help with this challenge at first.
- You can make it easy for your dog and arrange for quick success. For instance, you can position the bottle so that even the slightest sniff or little touch from the dog’s nose will make the bottle topple. Be sure to use treats that roll easily and that fall out when the bottle is turned.
If you enjoy the spin the bottle game, try the following variations:
- Adjust the degree of difficulty of your treat machine by changing the position of the holes in the bottle. The further up the bottle holes are placed, the harder it is to make the bottle topple. If you drill several pairs of holes above each other, you can arrange different degrees of difficulty in one bottle.
- Vary the size of the bottle and see how your dog enjoys the game.
- With a little effort and handicraft skills, you can build a bottle machine! Several bottles can be attached to one sturdy frame for your four-legged friend to use to let off some steam.
Have fun discovering the unlimited possibilities of playing!