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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 5 year old heading dog that is my husband's mainstay, he's used to being out all day herding sheep and cattle. He injured his leg a few weeks ago and we're supposed to be keeping him as calm and still as possible for 2 months. He's going out of his tree with boredom though, he just howls and howls. I've made a tube with some treats in it that he has to roll around and figure out how to get them out. That kept him occupied for a bit, but he's bored of that now. He doesn't really know how to play, he just wants to work or be patted constantly. Does anyone have any ideas for how to entertain him and keep his mind occupied while he can't be running around working?
 

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Try a Kong filled with various things but freeze it first so it takes longer, also try other puzzle toys, there are a lot you can make. A simple muffin tin, place a treat in one cup and put tennis balls over and he has to move em in order to get the treats.

I also never tried em but they have the tug toys, flirt poles I think they are called.

Good luck, must be driving everyone nuts haha
 

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I definitely would not do flirt pole with a dog that needs to rest and heal. It's super high impact.

A combination of training for calm, food toys and hiding food around the house (basically, having him forage as much as possible), and low key trick training can help. Use his daily rations for these activities instead of feeding him out of a bowl.

You could also talk to your vet, but I've also heard of folks using mild sedatives to take the edge off their dogs during the healing process. Again, that would be a vet discussion.
 

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We have had a few dogs on rest that are very high drive.. and by rest I am talking CRATE rest for 6 weeks or more.. and only hand walking with a gradual come back to work. Sedatives are used as is keeping the crate in a very quiet part of the house. Raw bones. Less food. Low calorie and energy food. Kong stuffed with low fat plain yogurt and frozen.

NO tugs
NO flirt pole
NO active engaging or energetic games.

It is painful to go through but it is not forever...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Try a Kong filled with various things but freeze it first so it takes longer, also try other puzzle toys, there are a lot you can make. A simple muffin tin, place a treat in one cup and put tennis balls over and he has to move em in order to get the treats.
I went to the vets today and bought a kong, so I'll try that out and see if he likes it. Puzzle toys sound like a great idea, I'll see what I can find!

A combination of training for calm, food toys and hiding food around the house (basically, having him forage as much as possible), and low key trick training can help. Use his daily rations for these activities instead of feeding him out of a bowl.

You could also talk to your vet, but I've also heard of folks using mild sedatives to take the edge off their dogs during the healing process. Again, that would be a vet discussion.
Thanks, yeah I should try a bit of trick training with him and see if that helps. Our dogs are all outside dogs (we have 5, all working dogs, my husband is very much not an inside animal person but I am, so we compromised and the cat lives inside ?) but I could try hiding some food around our yard and see if that keeps him busy.

We have had a few dogs on rest that are very high drive.. and by rest I am talking CRATE rest for 6 weeks or more.. and only hand walking with a gradual come back to work. Sedatives are used as is keeping the crate in a very quiet part of the house. Raw bones. Less food. Low calorie and energy food. Kong stuffed with low fat plain yogurt and frozen.

NO tugs
NO flirt pole
NO active engaging or energetic games.

It is painful to go through but it is not forever...
I'll try the Kong with frozen yoghurt and see how he goes with it. Yeah tugs or flirt poles definitely wouldn't work at the moment, vet isn't 100% sure what he's done, but probably hurt a ligament in his back leg so definitely want to keep it as low impact as possible.
 

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They have lots of different puzzle toys on Amazon that require various levels of activity. Some the dog has to roll them around to get the food out, some the dog has to lift flaps or slide sliders to find the food.

Perhaps try some shaping exercises where you teach the dog to put his paws in a box, hold a thing, something generally useless but kind of cool, haha. You can google shaping or look it up on this forum. Just pick a thing that doesn't require too much work with the legs! Those type of things seem to satisfy most dogs and make them calm down for a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
They have lots of different puzzle toys on Amazon that require various levels of activity. Some the dog has to roll them around to get the food out, some the dog has to lift flaps or slide sliders to find the food.

Perhaps try some shaping exercises where you teach the dog to put his paws in a box, hold a thing, something generally useless but kind of cool, haha. You can google shaping or look it up on this forum. Just pick a thing that doesn't require too much work with the legs! Those type of things seem to satisfy most dogs and make them calm down for a bit.
I used a clicker on Tuff for the first time yesterday, I was trying to figure out what to teach him and then realised I need to teach him to sit first! He has a sit when he's out mustering sheep, but not really when he's not working, so I'm starting with that before I can teach him to shake hands haha! This morning when he saw me he sat straight down so he's picking it up I think...
 

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That's a cool idea. I'm not 100% sure our dogs wouldn't just chew the bottles open haha but if they didn't it would be great!
Yeah I'm sure my dogs would just knock it over and chew the bottles, haha!
 

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How about nosework or tracking? Nosework, in particular, can be done in a small space so there isn't a lot of walking around.
 
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