Enriching Our Dogs… Through Recycling?

Going Green With Your Dog… Through Play

The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash every single day (the global average is 2.6 pounds per day).

Think of your dogs as you find ways to reuse things before they hit the trash. Much like cats love to play with the plastic rings from milk jugs, dogs too love playing with things that you might be quick to dismiss as mere trash.

When you give your dog opportunities to play with new things in new ways, their lives are enriched in the process. Their behavior wellness also improves, and oftentimes, the behaviors that you see your dog exhibit are more desirable because his brain and body is being challenged.

With that in mind, here are four games you can play with everyday household recyclables in ways that will stimulate your dogs and enrich their lives.

1. Paper Cylinder Inserts for Paper Towels and Toilet Paper

Collect 10 paper cylinder inserts for paper towels and toilet paper (they can vary in size and dimensions).

Insert treats in three of them and place them in a row, spaced six inches apart. Let the dog find the ones that have the treats in them. Allow the dog to tear and shred the tubes to get to the food. Some may drag the rolls until the food falls out, others may grab and shake the rolls to dispense the food, while some may use their paws as a tool to tear the cylinder open.

2. Hideable Treat Tubes

Take 10 toilet paper tubes and stand them upright on a sturdy level floor. Hid treats in three of them, and space them apart like in game number 1. Let the tubes act as a funnel, sending the sent of the food to the top of the tubes… let your dog sniff for the ones that actually have the food/treats in them. As soon as they knock them over with their nose, the treats will be uncovered.

3. Milk Jugs = A New Way to Serve Dinner

Clean out a finished milk gallon or juice carton. Let dry, and then fill with your dogs food. If you are using a milk gallon, throw away the lid. If you are using a juice carton, close the carton to conceal the food.

Give your dog its breakfast or dinner this way, letting them work the carton until they get to the food.

4. Fast Food Drink Holder Challenge

The next time you go through to a fast food restaurant, ask them for a drink holder for this challenge. Place food or treats in the four holes for the cups. Take four tennis balls and insert one ball into each cup holder.

Let the games begin! Watch your dog try and figure out how to get to the food. (Egg cartons can work great for this one, too.)

What if my dog eats the cardboard or plastic?

Dogs are very intelligent animals. They know what they can eat and digest and what is not good for their systems… if you provide them with opportunities to learn this information.

If you start your puppy off on these exercises, they will naturally learn that paper and cardboard are not the food… there is no better way of teaching them what to eat and what not to eat.

Still, some of us have dogs that will seemingly ingest anything. If this is your dog, make sure to keep a close watch during playtime.

More games and activities for dogs using recycled materials

And as you can see from the photos we’ve shared today, there’s another great option for reusing common household items: Just let your dog(s) play with them! Doglando dogs have new things introduced into their environments regularly, including recycled “toys”. They always have a blast tossing them around, chewing them, and engaging with these new objects.

For even more enriching games and activities to play with your dog, click here!

Have you ever introduced recycled items into your dog’s play time? Which one of these games will you try first? Let us know in the comments. If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please share away! When we work together to brainstorm ways to enrich our dogs’ lives, everyone wins.