When I talk about doggie self control, I emphasize the importance of both mental and physical exercise. The weather's been nice the past few days, but we're supposed to get lots of rain this weekend. My dogs need their exercise and don't care what the weather is. When the weather's awful outside, and I don't want to go out and get wet, I've found myself making a makeshift toy to keep the dogs from using the living room as a race track. Here are a couple ideas you might be able to use for your own dogs:
Clean an empty 1 liter plastic bottle, take the lid off and put some pieces of your dog's food or tasty treats inside. The food will come out if they learn how manipulate the bottle. It takes some time for the dogs to figure out exactly how to use their paws, nose, and mouth to get to the goodies. (Often, just an empty bottle does the trick — Nemo and Tango like to kick the bottle with their feet and then chase it [or each other] around the room.)
Save the empty paper towel cardboard rolls. Twist one end closed and put 5 or 6 pieces of kibble in. Then twist the roll closed there, add more kibble, twist closed and repeat until you've got three or four "pockets" of food in the paper towel roll. My dogs go crazy for this and really enjoy ripping the paper towel roll open to get to the goodies inside. There's a bit of paper to pick up when they're done, but they get some mental exercise and keep themselves busy while they're having fun.
Do you have make great homemade toys for your dogs? I'd love to hear about what you make for your dogs!