Tasty and Mental Enrichment Ideas for Your Dog

You can’t get the whole litter together this year for Thanksgiving, but there’s plenty to be thanking dog for! You’ve had all the time in the world to spend with your #1, and that includes discovering new hobbies together. Add a few more to your list with these tasty and mental enrichment ideas for your dog. You’ll have pup puzzling through the holidays. 

Mental Enrichment: Shell Game + Roll ‘Em Up

Your dog is probably the grifter in the household, out here scammin’ you for snackies all day long. Turn her food motivation into entertainment by pulling some inspo from this classic street game. Start with a single cup with a treat underneath it and reward pup once she identifies the cup. Once she gets the hang of it, add more cups and ask her to wait while you shuffle ‘em. Reward her when she identifies the cup with the treat under it. 

If you don’t wanna channel your inner Kenny Rogers and be the gambler, set up a similar enrichment activity by using several cups and hiding treats under a few of them. Once you’re ready, release doggo and let her use her snoots to sniff out the yummy treats you hid.

Dachshund puppies playing a puzzle game
@pretzel.crumpet.strudel

Rolls are always good–dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, dismantling oppressive gender roles… Incorporate them into your dog’s enrichment with a fun DIY puzzle toy! Roll up some smelly treats in fabric napkins, scraps of fabric, or old t-shirts. Up the difficulty by tucking the rolls into a container (think muffin tin, plastic bag holder, or wine rack). Pup’ll have a ball sniffing out the treats.

Food Enrichment: Thanksgiving Dessert

Making small changes to your dog’s diet keeps pup engaged with his food. After all, it’d be boring if we just ate pizza every single day (well, actually…). Give your dog a Thanksgiving treat to be thankful for with a doggy-friendly pumpkin pie. 

Make the crust by mixing applesauce and oat flour until you get a doughy consistency. Form small dough balls and then press them into a “crust.” Bake the crusts for 8 minutes at 350 degrees or until they start to color. 

While that’s in the oven, make your filling. Mash up a large banana and mix with some unsweetened pumpkin puree. Spoon the filling into your cooled, baked cups and now you’ve got a pup-kin pie! Top it off with a lil whipped cream if your dog wants it (we guarantee you, they want it). 

Featured photo: Charles Deluvio

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, and join us on Facebook and Twitter.

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