Do you know what’s a great activity to relieve our dog from boredom? It’s Scatter Hunts.
We all know that bored dogs get into trouble.
They just can’t help themselves.
Most dogs have not been bred to be a pet dog.
They struggle to just relax all day without a thing to do.
In the wild, they face puzzles every day, but in our homes, they’re expected to just chill all day.
Chilling all day is nice until it gets boring.
So what happens next, is that your dog will start to keep himself busy.
Your dog will come up with random activities that we humans typically don’t agree with.
This could be excessive barking, digging holes in the backyard, or chewing on household items.
The list is endless. Bored dogs can get surprisingly creative.
So, what can you do? How can you stop your dog from exercising unwanted behaviours?
In this article, I’m going to show you a simple game that will exercise your dog’s mind: the scatter hunt.
The best part?
Mind games can be a lot more effective in getting your dog tired than a long walk.
We all know that a tired dog is a good dog, but you don’t have to spend hours walking your dog to get him tired.
In short: if you want to get your dog tired quicker with mind games, you’ll love this article.
Increase both your own and your dog’s quality of life.
Let’s get started.
What is a Scatter Hunt?
A scatter hunt is a quick and easy game to engage your dog’s brain.
The idea is simple.
Rather than giving your dog his food in a bowl, you make him work for it.
The best part is that there’s science to prove it too.
Studies have shown that working for food enriches your dog’s life and breaks the boredom¹.
How do you make a Scatter Hunt?
In short: you make a scatter hunt by literally scattering your dog’s food.
Think of it this way: food in a dish only takes a few seconds to eat.
But if you scatter your dog’s food inside your home or in your backyard, it will take your dog longer to eat. Plus he will need to use his nose to find it, which also exercises his brain.
Another benefit is that every time your dog finds food in a new area, endorphins are released in his brain. This builds your dog’s confidence and can have a positive effect on anxious dogs.
The first Scatter Hunt for your dog
You want to start out in a small area. Enrichment activities should be enjoyable for your dog, not frustrating, so make it easy.
If you feed kibble, scatter your dogs’ food in a small area in the backyard.
Once your dog has got the hang of it, scatter it in a wider area.
You can also hide high value treats in more difficult places. Use treats with a strong smell to make this easy for your dog.
If you feed your dog a fresh food diet, divide his meal into small portions and put them in separate bowls.
Use as many as you like, and hide those bowels in different places for your dog to find.
Benefits of the Scatter Hunt
It’s easy, isn’t it?
I admit that it will take a bit more time than feeding your dog out of a bowl, but the benefits far outweigh the time commitment.
If you have an anxious dog this can greatly improve your dog’s confidence.
If you have a dog who displays destructive behaviour due to boredom, this is a great way to engage your dog’s mind and help him relax throughout the day.
If you have a dog that can’t go outside due to medical problems, scatter feeding is a good way to make your dog’s day more interesting.
In short: stop giving your dog free food if he would rather work for it. Learn more about enrichment feeding here.
1: Psychology Today – Working for Food Enriches Dogs’ Lives and Breaks the Boredom
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I enjoy coming up with creative enrichment ideas for my dogs. DIY & Crafting has always been a big part of my life since I was a child.