When we first adopted Bear, we lived in a small apartment in Cupecoy, Sint Marteen. By small I mean 2 rooms, with 1 bath. I always could tell that Bear didn’t enjoy being confined to our small apartment, and most days we’d aim for 4-6-hour long outings each day. We’d go for our morning walk to the local Beach at Mullet Bay, followed by our morning coffee together at Jules bakery. While in the evenings we’d either end up at the field where most of his dog friends played, to walking him along the golf course of Mullet Bay, either evading Golf course security, or befriending them so we could walk in peace, and Bear could enjoy tearing up a few of the sand traps on the course that would trigger his “puppy crazies”.
Living in the Caribbean sometimes meant you’d have to become creative and crafty at times. When we made our way home for Christmas to British Columbia, we ordered items from Amazon to have shipped to my parent’s home. One item was a flirt pole! Well, on returning to Sint Marteen, the flirt pole could not fit in my luggage, so I took it upon myself to use an old Swiffer sweeper handle, tying a rope to it and attaching a toy on the end – and there we had our own homemade flirt pole to take to the field with us for Bear to play with. That is just one example for combatting Bear’s boredom. Along the way I have picked up a few more tips that keep bear busy if I’m too busy to play with him, or it’s a rainy day and our walks are cut short and he’s full of energy.
1). Bully sticks! Bully sticks happen to be one of Bears favourite treat to gnaw away at, and Bully sticks come in various sizes and styles, so depending on that you can keep them busy for a good hour at best.
2). Playing Find it, this is a game I love to incorporate in Bears day if I feel bad for needing to wash dishes and he has no one to play with him. Now Find it is a game I’ve been trying to perfect to make it challenging. I often like to save cereal boxes, to empty paper towel rolls to throw treats within, in addition to using a stuffed Kong, while hiding bits of food throughout the house for Bear to sniff out. My personal best at keeping Bear busy this way was a solid hour. Find it is also amazing because it offers your pet mental stimulation as well!
3). Now this tip is for when you have the time, but the outdoor weather conditions aren’t ideal- a game of tug can wear down your fur-ball of energy. Sometimes in Bear’s game of tug I also try to trick him by having his toy hide behind something and try to fool him of the direction it’s about to go to. He often loves to pounce, jump, or run so fast that this helps wear him down, while offering him the fun he craves!
4). Re-vamping an old toy! This is essentially the same as the flirt pole concept, but instead you can take a rope and tie it onto one of you dogs’ toys, making it move will bring out their prey drive, and once again offer them a lot of fun.
5). Playing a good game of Fetch and/or Catch, everyone knows this is a great way for our dogs to burn off that excess energy… but I’m including it here because Bear is a fan of playing Fetch.
6). Training/ and practicing new commands, this offers your dog needed mental stimulation.
7). Set up Dog play dates! This is something we’d always resort to on the island if we didn’t have the energy to entertain our dogs ourselves!/ Or go to the local dog park for them to make new doggie pals!
8). Creating an activity box! This requires saving up boxes that are easy to shred, and putting treats within them. Sometimes if we want to watch a movie and Bear is in the mood to play, I’ll make him an activity box full of treats and a chew to keep him occupied for a while!
9). Going on hikes! As well as taking them to new places to sniff and explore.
10). Invest in a backpack for your dog! If you have a dog who is high energy/ part of the working breed group, backpacks can offer a challenge to your dog! Of course, you need to make sure to research which pack is the best for your dog, or how much weight they can carry. Bear has a backpack and if you want to know more tips/ info about how he does with his backpack you can check out the link on Bear’s review of the Fosinz Outdoor Backpack.
I hope you found these tips and tricks helpful!
M & Bear