If you’re a regular here then you already know how much I love interactive dog puzzles and enrichment toys that mentally stimulate our pups. When our dogs play with an interactive toy, it:
- Fires up their minds
- Activates and heightens all of their senses
- Busts boredom (yes, dogs can get bored too)
- Improves mood
- Tires them out
- Helps to prevent certain behavior problems.
If you don’t have any store-bought dog puzzles or just want some more variety then you’ve gotta make a busy box!
What Is a Busy Box?
Also called an enrichment box, foraging box, or destruction box, a busy box is a super simple DIY interactive puzzle. You start with a basic cardboard box and then fill it with dog toys and random stuff lying around your home (particularly things you can hide treats in)!
Before we take a closer look at busy box stuffing ideas, I want to say a big thank you to my friend Tori, founder of WearWagRepeat. We recently did an Instagram Live together where she introduced me to this genius idea. I’ve since seen these DIY dog puzzles features on the ASPCA website and several dog shelter websites.
What You’ll Need
- Cardboard Box – I used an old Amazon box, but any cardboard box will do. You can use an old soda can box, LaCroix box, cereal box, etc.
- Your Dog’s Favorite Plush Toy – Pick a few toys that your dog plays with a lot and LOVES. It can be a squeaky toy or a crinkle toy. Anything that has your dog’s scent on it and he’ll want to play with!
- Balls – If your dog loves tennis balls or Hol-ee balls then add that to the box too!
- Treat-filled KONG – Stuff the KONG with a few loose treats, a schmear of peanut butter, or a more robust bite (I share ideas in THIS post)!
- Treat-Filled Towel – Grab a clean washcloth or dish towel and roll treats inside.
- Toilet Paper Roll – Fill a toilet paper roll with dog treats and fold the edges down so they don’t fall out. *If your dog is super destructive and will eat the cardboard as he attempts to break the treats inside free then this may not be a great idea for you! It’s all about knowing your dog’s personality!
- Loose Treats – To sprinkle in the box!
Let’s Get Busy: How To Assemble
- Using a sharp knife, poke one or two thin holes on each side of the cardboard box. *This step is optional, but it helps your dog get a better whiff of what’s inside.
- Stuff the box with goodies. Use the list of ideas I mentioned above and get creative with your own!
- Sprinkle a few loose treats into the box.
- Lightly close the top of the box.
- Give it to your dog to rip open, forage through, and play with!