Affordable Creative Tricks to Entertain Your Dog

Is trying to entertain your dog on a budget a never-ending activity? While it is a good idea to not let your dog get bored as that’s when disaster can strike. 

Moreover, a bored dog is often when your budget can take a major hit in the form of a pricey vet bill or replacement of destroyed items. Additionally keeping your dog active is critical for your dog’s overall health. 

However, there’s no need to worry. You don’t need to break your budget to have an entertained pup. Today, let’s dig in and discover simple and affordable ways to keep your dog from becoming bored. 

*Update: March 13, 2024

disclaimer note
Budget tip:

Keeping your dog entertained doesn’t have to bust your budget. It can be a simple and free activity or even involve a little DIY. Any way you choose to entertain your dog, it will pay off big when your dog doesn’t get bored and destroy everything in sight. 

Additionally, an engaged dog is a mentally happier and physically healthier dog. That’s all a huge win-win for you and your dog!

It’s important to realize how much entertainment your dog needs. Some dog breeds are naturally high-energy or very smart and require more mental stimulation type activities. A few dog breeds that fit into one of these categories are Huskies and Border Collies. 

However, your puppy or rescue dog may very well need extra attention to avoid boredom. You’ll need to assess your dog’s needs. 

For instance, my dog, Henry loves being entertained with a game of chasemassage, or even mealtime brain game activity. Although, he also needs his downtime or independence time. 

While, Henry isn’t a super high-energy dog, he is smart and will pick up on new commands rather easily.  Thus, keeping him entertained is always on my to-do list.

Again, you’ll need to access your dog and his/her needs and likes. For instance, if your dog is food-driven, then a food-based option will be best. Here are some great ideas you may want to consider as you aim to keep your dog entertained.

You can easily stay within a tight budget and keep your dog entertained with DIY dog toys. Plus, a good DIY toy is much cheaper than store-bought. 

Additionally, DIY dog toys are perfect to use with your dog indoors. Thus, if your stuck indoors for whatever reason, a DIY dog toy could be a great solution.

Of course, recognize your dog’s health before giving him/her a frozen or hard toy. For example, even if Henry liked dog toys, I wouldn’t give him a hard or frozen one because he’s already broken a tooth. Not sure how that happened, but I don’t want him breaking any more teeth. 

Some dogs need something to chew to be occupied. Thus, a chew toy is great for dogs who love to chew on anything and everything. These types of toys are also very helpful for untrained and teething puppies. 

Henry would LOVE this idea of a frozen carrot. But I would monitor him and I definitely wouldn’t freeze the carrot for very long. In fact, he’d most likely lick the carrot and then attempt to chew it with his underbite. 

These types of tug dog toys are great for dogs who love to play rough and tend to be more energetic. Yes, a simple rope toy can engage your dog and keep boredom away. 

Hiding treats in rolled-up socks can keep your dog entertained. This type of toy will engage his/her mind more as it is a challenge to get to the treats. Also, try hiding the socks for an extra challenge.

Additionally, you can simply create a dog toy with a pair of socks. This is a great tutorial by RSPCA. 

Often a brain game or puzzle toy can engage your dog and thwart boredom. Henry loves mealtime brain games. But you can also make a dog brain game toy using a muffin tin and tennis balls. 

Moreover, you can create a puzzle toys that is also a treat dispensing toy. This is perfect for the food-driven dogs.

Thus, it’s an affordable way to make your own interactive dog toys.

NOTE: If your dog has a smaller or can’t hold a tennis, there are smaller balls you can buy affordable. Then simply use a mini muffin tin, which you should be able to find at The Dollar Store or even Walmart. 

Want to learn more about mealtime brain games? This article details various games you can play with your dog at mealtime. They are all Henry approved as well. 

Another great boredom chaser for your dog could be found in freezing a Kong toy or even a favorite toy. Thus, playtime becomes more challenging. As such, your dog should be entertained much longer. 

Want more ways to keep your dog from being bored? In this article, I share even more affordable ideas.

By setting up a sniff game you engage your dog’s brain and keep him/her entertained. Henry loves to sniff for any hidden treat. But when that treasure is a yummy treat, it’s even more exciting. 

Another bonus is to make your own tasty treat for your furry friend. In this article, I share how wiping up your own homemade dog treats can save you money. 

A snuffle ball or mat can keep a dog engaged and keep boredom at bay. It’s even easy to make. 

Moreover, even if your dog doesn’t like dog toys, like Henry, he/she may still love a sniffing game or snuffle ball. Don’t give up on entertaining your dog!

Want more ways to play with your dog when your pup hates dog toys? In this article, I share some fun, easy, and free ways to play with your dog. 

You will probably know the best way to wear out your dog. Henry has a few activities that can wear him out.

Going on a hike with your dog can engage his body and mind. Make sure to let your dog explore and sniff. I know Henry loves all the various sniff on our hikes.

Worried about going on a hike and hurting your back? Here’s how to do it without pain. 

Maybe you get tired of your dog coming home from a hike with sap in his paws. These are my easy sap solutions. 

Henry’s best doggie friend always wears him out! Well, she gets worn out too during their playdates. It’s good for both pups and for their hu-moms. 

Henry and his best puppy mate on a playdate.

Exploring new areas, with different smells, will help to engage your dog’s brain and keep him/her entertained. 

Additionally, this activity can help tire out your dog as well, which can be an added bonus. I know Henry is more tired after exploring a new area.

Do you know that a simple walk can help cut your dog’s expenses? In this article, I share how. 

Henry loves doggie daycare. It’s like Disneyland for him. 

This article, helps you select a great doggie daycare. You’ll learn what to look for and what to ask. 

Going on a date, such as a walking tour, and including your dog can be fun for all involved. Additionally, it doesn’t even have to be costly to be fun. Even if you go on a date with just your dog, it can be entertaining for both of you. 

Would you like to go on a doggie date, but think it would bust your budget? In this article, I reveal 25 great affordable doggie date ideas. 

A lick pad be very entertaining for some dogs to try to get all the yummy bits out of the pad. Moreover, if your dog is a wiggle butt during bath time, you may even want to try a lick pad for a distraction. 

These are affordable lick pads very similar to the ones Henry loves. I’ll bet dog will love them too!

While your dog needs to be monitored on any agility course, it can be very engaging for your pup. However, you will need to teach your dog how to maneuver the course correctly, which involves a bit of training and learning. 

Thus, a bonus of an agility course and keeping your dog from being bored.

Moreover, you can either set up your own DIY agility course in your backyard, or you can purchase an affordable course. 

Additionally, if you don’t want to build your own DIY agility course, this is an affordable one you can purchase.  

If your dog loves to chase butterflies or just about anything, then try blowing bubbles and let your dog chase them. When they pop, your pup will be excited for more bubbles. 

NOTE: Moreover, if you don’t have the lung capacity or energy to keep up with the need for more bubbles, you can even buy an automatic bubble blower affordably like this one with non-toxic bacon-flavored bubbles.

Learning a new behavior or a new trick can help keep your dog entertained. Henry loves dog training and then nap afterward. 

Want to engage your pup in dog training? Maybe teach your dog obedience training or maybe a trick or two, but don’t think you have the time or money? In this article, I share how you can train your dog on your schedule and for free. 

If you don’t have the time to properly exercise your dog, it can lead to a bored dog and more importantly impact your dog’s health. 

Thus, hiring a dog walker could be a terrific idea!

Want to learn the keys to hiring a dog walker? In this article, I reveal everything you need to know. 

Of course, how you keep your dog entertained or to what extent, will depend on your dog’s needs.

But one thing that is for certain is that a bored dog (even Henry when he’s bored) can get into trouble. That means higher expenses for dog parents. Consider the following expenses for a moment. 

Vet bill for ingested objects$2,000 – 5,000
Emergency vet visit for injuries$800 – $2,500
Broken or destroyed items$40 40,000+
Eviction if your dog destroys a rented propertyMind-blowing expensive!

Entertaining your dog doesn’t have to break your bank. With a bit of resourcefulness and creativity, you can easily provide your dog with ample entertainment. 

Moreover, it can be fun and inexpensive for you as well. 

As for me, I know it doesn’t cost me anything to keep Henry entertained and more expensive bills at bay. Additionally, I love knowing that Henry’s cognitive skills are being engaged as well. He’s happy and healthy and it’s been easy and free. What more can I ask for? 

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

6 thoughts on “Affordable Creative Tricks to Entertain Your Dog”

  1. THIS would make such a good eBook. I am sat here going “Oh I never thought of old t-shirts making toys!” What a great idea but I admit laughed at the long hike because it would wear ME out too!!!

    • Awe, thanks Marjorie! You’re right, some times I’m more worn out than Henry after a long walk or hike. It really is amazing what you can DIY for your furry friends and save a ton! Creativity can be a big money saver. Plus, it’s great to work with your hands and be creative. You know, one of these days I’ll have to make an e-book. You keep encouraging me and you never know what will happen! Thank you for your continued support!

  2. This is pawesome! I totally agree with Marjorie, what a great Ebook this would be! So many wonderful suggestions and instructions for DIYs! The frozen carrot is one I never tried! (What a beautiful dog, too)! I also love Sugar’s Golden Woofs (been followers for a long time) and that is such a great idea with muffin tins! Wow. Why didn’t I ever think of that one?!! So easy to do too as muffin tins (for us humans) and tennis balls (for the FiveSibes) were a staple in my house! I did do a lot of brain games with Harley, Gibson, Wolfie, Chloe, and Bandit. They were very food driven and loved games (that had snacks as part of them). I still have a few of their puzzles (sniff-sniff). Oh, how they loved them. I also did buy Wolfie a lick mat when he was having an anxiety flare. PB and a mat or PB and Kong frozen…those were his faves. The braided toy I did actually make a few of these way back in the early days when my Sibes were all youngins! I made them ones in Halloween and Christmas colors, and even gave some away as gifts for a contest I ran. Those were fun to make. Now I purchased material, but using T-shirts is so clever! I love all the ideas here and creating them on our own! And just look at that budget break down…it is always amazing to me to see that. As always – a brilliant article, Terri, with so many helpful tips and tricks to benefit our dogs! Sharing with my readers, of course! PS – Henry and his mate are just adorable!

    • You know, I thought immediately that you were probably already aware of Sugar’s Golden Woofs. They had such a great and budget-friendly idea, I just had to share it! I knew your Harley, Gibson, Wolfie, Chloe, and Bandit would have loved these ideas. Such wonderful pups! Oh yes, t-shirts or even old towels or sheets can work great for a DIY tug-of-war toy. Super affordable that way too!

      I really appreciate your kind words and continued support! And I can’t disagree with you about Henry and his playmate, Ellie Mae. They are pretty stinking cute together. 🙂

  3. This is such a fantastic post which so many ideas to suit a persons dog. Layla since blind has become a snuffle toy addict LOL but as long as she is active and happy that is all that counts. I loved the DIY video which was really interesting as watching it makes you realize how easy it is to make one. Thanks for the great post as always

    • Oh, I thought you’d like that DIY snuffle ball video. Gosh, Layla could have one for each month. Such a sweet pup! Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement! I greatly appreciate it!


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