If you currently have, or have had a German Shepherd before, you know that a bored German Shepherd is trouble waiting to happen! Everyone knows the basics to avoid boredom. Long walks, exercise, training etc. But what can you do between these activities to keep particularly high-octane dogs occupied? In this article we'll dive into some out of the box ideas and even a few gadgets and toys that can make life easier for you, and more enjoyable for your pooch.
Ice Blocks: Dogs love to crunch on ice cubes. But they're gone in a matter of seconds. A good solution is to fill an ice cream container or something similar with water. Throw in a few toys, treats, or even a meal and your dog will be occupied for hours.
Kongs And Similar Hollow Toys: Toys of this type are designed to be stuffed with treats or peanut butter. But if you've used these before, you know that it doesn't take long before a dog cleans them out. But did you know that these toys can be used 4 different kinds of ways?
1: The Plain Jane Method: Dogs with lots of drive may play with a completely empty hollow toy for hours on end, never getting bored. But for dogs with lower prey drive, or dogs who simply don't find such toys interesting, keep reading!
2: The Stuffed Method: Filling these toys with peanut butter or treats (or both) will attract the attention of dogs who aren't even interested in toys. But again, the problem with this is that it doesn't take long before they're emptied out. For a longer lasting solution, see #3!
3: The Frozen Tundra: You can stuff your hollow toy with peanut butter alone, or with peanut butter and treats and end up with a longer lasting solution by popping it into the freezer for a couple of hours. Freezing makes the peanut butter harder to get out and will last many times longer. But if that's not good enough, see #4.
4: The Antarctica: What's better than a frozen, stuffed, hollow toy? A frozen, stuffed, hollow toy that is frozen in a block of ice! Stuff the toy as usual, place the toy in your ice cream tub of water and freeze. Now your dog has to get through the ice to get to the toy to get to the frozen contents! Go crazy with it if you want. Add other treats and toys. Use a slice of melon to sit the stuffed hollow toy on top of so that it freezes in the center. Put a couple of cut up hot dogs inside. Make it a meal if you want. Your dog will be entertained for hours.
Robots: Robots? What? Yes, you read correctly! It's 2019 as this article is being written. And technology has come a long way. Robots like the Varram Pet Fitness Robot move and dispense treats automatically. It has such features as treat tossing, the capability to schedule automatic drives around the house or room, a manual play via app mode where you can control the robot from your phone by connecting to blue tooth, and even activity tracking to keep you informed. They come with a protective case to increase durability, but they're not designed to be chewed on, so be careful. Another con is that they are pretty pricey at around $150. But if you like cool gadgets, have a few extra pennies in your piggy bank and want to keep your dog entertained, this is a great option.
Puzzle Toys: There are a lot of high-quality puzzle toys on the market these days. Toys that your dog has to interact with to get treats or food from inside. I personally used Bob-A-Lot toys. They're hollow, plastic balls that can be filled with treats or kibble and must be knocked around to get the food to fall out of a spill hole. The best part is that the spill hole has an adjustable door for different sized treats. The door also can be used to control how many treats fall out when the toy is unsettled enough to dispense the goodies inside. But you don't have to settle for technology that I used a decade ago. There are many new products on the market that are just as good or better.
Search & Destroy: What's more fun than a game of hide and seek? A game of Search & Destroy! Instead of you hiding and letting your dog find you, put your dog somewhere he or she can't see you and hide treats. Make your German Shepherd move around and use its greatest gift: it's aircraft-carrier-long snout! This is a game that all dogs will enjoy and allows you to not feel so bad about giving them snacks because they'll have to work for it.
Pro Tip: Use a pencil and paper to write down the locations where you hide treats to make sure you don't find a random piece of kibble or a biscuit under your couch cushion 3 years from now.
A Professional Pro's Tip: Use your cell phone to take photos of the locations and delete them after the game has ended so that you don't waste storage space on your phone.