Entertaining a broken dog | DIY Mind/Scent games

If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that Amber has recently sprained her ankle. (If not then you can follow us here: @CheshireCanine). This has meant that she has been out of action for the past couple of weeks and it’s safe to say she has not been impressed about it.

Although her primary hobbies include sleeping and snacking on treats, even lazy dogs like Amber get fed up when they’re forced to do this all day every day. She was desperate for a walk, and the fact that she is on anti-inflammatories for a separate health problem didn’t help as although she was limping she didn’t realise her leg was sore. She’s been a nightmare to keep still! The good news is that as of today, Amber is limp free so can start getting back into her normal routine. However, when she was hobbling around the house I needed something to entertain her with so I came us with some easy DIY mind/ scent games for her to play that involved minimal movement.

I thought i’d share these with you all as they’re great fun to play with a fully functional dogs as well as broken ones!

Cake Tin Game

For this game all you need is an old cake tin and some tennis balls – these are items that are usually easy to find in a house that is home to a dog but not for us! Amber has never grasped the concept of playing with a ball – you throw it and she expects you to bring it back to her – so playing this game is probably the most use she’ll ever get out of tennis balls. Luckily they’re not the most expensive of dog toys so I picked up a pack of 6 at Pets At Home for just over £1 then scavenged the house for the very few balls Amber did already own.

Amber loves Lily’s Kitchen treats!

Once you have gathered all of your equipment – which was hopefully easier for you than it was for me – all you have to do is fill the cupcake tin with balls and place treats under a few of them. Most of the time amber finds all of the treats within a couple of minutes so we usually have a few rounds to keep her occupied for a while.

This is also a great way to feed dogs that have a problem with eating too quickly. Amber is quite good when it comes to her food but when she gets the occasional treat of some chicken after Sunday Dinner she inhales it in seconds. I’ve taken to using this method to slow her down and I have to say it works wonders!

Treat In Towel

It helps to use a smelly treat – Guru sausages are great!

This is a great game as you can make it as easy or as challenging as you like. All you need is a towel or blanket and a few treats. Just pop a treat onto the towel and let your dog search for it.


Found it!!

This really is a game for everyone as you can make more challenging as the dog gets used to playing – I started Amber off with a small blanket and only folded it over a couple of times. She has now moved on to a full sized towel with treats in several places and more folds concealing them.

Hide and Seek

We play this game in two different ways – one of which requires a very good stay and the other which you can do without. The first way i’ll share with you is the game I used whist  Amber’s leg needed resting. This involves hiding treats around the room then letting your dog go and look for them. Whilst Amber was recovering I kept it to one small section of the room but if you want to give your dog a real challenge you can build up to using the whole house (If they have free reign of the house that is)! If you don’t want to put treats directly onto your furniture/ the floor you can also use little pots or shoe boxes to hide the teats in, leaving some empty so that you’re not making it too easy for them.

Yes, this is a Christmas decoration!
Getting warm!

The second way I play hide and seek with Amber does require a good stay but if you haven’t quite cracked that prefect stay yet you could always ask someone else to keep hold of your dog until you have hidden. What I do with Amber is sit her in the kitchen and ask her to stay there whilst I go and hide elsewhere in the house. I take a bag of treats with me because she’d have no interest in finding me if I didn’t have food! Once i’ve hidden I simply call her and she’ll come and find me.

These are all very easy buy fun ways to occupy your dog if they’re broken, on a rainy day or juts in general!

Love Ellie & Amber x

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