How to keep dogs entertained during lockdown – using cardboard boxes and toilet roll tubes

11 April 2020, 16:23

Entertain your dog with a cardboard box and toilet roll tubes.
Entertain your dog with a cardboard box and toilet roll tubes. Picture: Dogs Trust / Getty

Struggling to keep your dog entertained during lockdown? Dogs Trust has shared eight awesome games that will occupy your hyperactive hound.

A UK animal charity has revealed some easy playtime activities to keep dogs entertained during lockdown – using everyday objects including cardboard boxes and toilet roll tubes.

Dogs Trust has reached out to pet owners who are struggling to occupy their pooches now that self-isolation means people can only walk their four-legged friends once a day.

Using a mixture of household items and treats, the rehoming foundation explained exactly how dog lovers can kickstart the fun indoors – and why it's so important that puppies and adult dogs remain stimulated during the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more: Can my dog get coronavirus and can they spread COVID-19?

Pet experts have shared their tips and tricks online.
Pet experts have shared their tips and tricks online. Picture: Dogs Trust

Jenna Kiddie, Head of Canine Behaviour at Dogs Trust, said: "We understand that owners may be looking for ways to keep their dogs occupied, especially when the current advice is to go outside just once a day for exercise with your four-legged friend.

"Whilst physical exercise is important for your dog, mental stimulation is also essential to help keep them happy. You can make it fun for them, and because they’re using their brains, it’s just as tiring as physical exercise.

"It’s really easy for you keep your dog’s brain busy from the comfort of your own home using simple household items. From activities involving their favourite treats, to games using things you may have left over from online deliveries, there are many ways you can keep your dog active, without stepping outside your front door."

Read more: Coronavirus: What to do if your pet falls ill during lockdown, vet surgery policies and opening times

Dogs Trust has outlined eight games to help dog owners keep their hounds happy during National Pet Month.

Read on for a list of fun games, then share your pictures and videos with @DogsTrust using the hashtag #MyDogIsForLife on Twitter and Instagram.

Read more: 15 pictures of pets working from home with their owners to brighten your day

The paw-fect figure 8

Get two boxes and set them out a little distance apart. Hold your dog’s treats or a favourite toy in one hand and slowly start to move them in a figure of eight around the two items, swapping the reward into your other hand at the centre point. One arm will guide your dog around the item to the left and the other arm will guide your dog around the item to your right. Repeat several times until you’ve got the movement smooth and well-rehearsed.

Digging deep

Shred or scrunch up newspaper or any paper items and pop them in an empty box. Drop in some treats or toys, and watch your dog dig away.

Dogs Trust explained how toilet roll tubes can be great fun.
Dogs Trust explained how toilet roll tubes can be great fun. . Picture: Getty


Can you get them to put their front feet on the box? Their back feet? Can you get them to run round to the left, to the right? Can smaller dogs sit in the box? Think outside of the box and we’re sure you won’t be able to contain yourself with all this fun.

Bowling balls

Create a 10-pin bowling alley with spare kitchen roll tubes. Have a competition and see how many pins you can knock down vs. your dog.

Tunn-els of fun

Cut the sides of a few boxes and line them up to make your very own DIY tunnel. Encourage your dog to go through with the promise of treats or their favourite toy at the end of the tunnel.

Read more: How to send a postcard to a lonely OAP quarantined in a care home during coronavirus crisis

How to teach your dog the figure eight | Dogs Trust

Jog your dog’s memory

Lay out multiple boxes in a semi-circle and pop a treat in one of them, making sure your dog is watching. Hold up a sheet to block your furry friend’s vision, drop and then see if they remember which box the treat was in! Repeat the game and change the box with the treat in, see how many times they get it right.

Snoot challenge

Remember the original snoot challenge where you had to make a circular shape with your hands and wait for your pooch to run up and put their nose through the hole? Building from this, cut a hole out in your box and see if you can get your dog to poke their nose through it.

Teach your dog to read

For starters write different words (e.g. sit, down, paw) on different boxes that you want your dog to learn. Say the word that’s on the specific box in front of them, and ask them to do what the word says. When your dog does as you’ve asked, reward them with a tasty treat and repeat several times until your dog has associated the new word, with the specific box.

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