Aug 24th, 2023


How to Make DIY Dog Enrichment Toys Out of Cardboard

August is the best “doggone” month of the year! Not only does it host International Dog Day, but it’s also National Dog Month!

We love dogs, and it’s no surprise that the majority of Team Trinity has four-legged co-woofers at home. And now that we’re back in the office full-time, making sure our furry friends are stimulated and happy is of the utmost importance.

Luckily, one of our other favorite things - cardboard - can do the trick!

In this blog, we’ll reveal the reasons why dogs love cardboard, as well as a simple cardboard box dog toy you can make with items found around your house.

Why Dogs Like Cardboard

So…Dogs Like Cardboard?!

Yes! Felines aren’t the only household pets that derive enjoyment from cardboard. Like cats, dogs can find cardboard fascinating and fun to interact with.

Some reasons why dogs like playing with cardboard include:

  1. Texture: Dogs enjoy the rough and slightly chewy texture of cardboard. It can provide a satisfying surface for them to gnaw on and exercise their jaw muscles.
  2. Sound: Cardboard can make a slight crunching or ripping sound when dogs play with it, which can be intriguing and entertaining for them.
  3. Smell: Cardboard might retain some scents from its manufacturing process or the items packaged in it. Dogs have a keen sense of smell, and these odors can attract their attention.
  4. Mental stimulation: Dogs are curious animals. Exploring and interacting with new objects like cardboard boxes can provide mental stimulation and enrichment.
  5. Playfulness: Cardboard boxes can be a source of fun and play for dogs. They might enjoy jumping in and out of boxes or tearing them apart playfully.
  6. Stress relief: Chewing on cardboard can be a stress reliever for some dogs, especially if they are feeling anxious or bored.

While many dogs enjoy playing with cardboard, it's essential to supervise their interactions to ensure they don't ingest any cardboard pieces, which could be harmful.

What are Dog Enrichment Toys?

Enrichment dog toys are like puzzles designed to offer mental and physical stimulation to your dog. These interactive toys engage a dog's natural instincts and curiosity, promoting mental alertness and preventing boredom.

Whether it's a treat-dispensing ball that requires problem-solving skills to release the treats or a plush toy with hidden squeakers that encourage active play, enrichment toys can keep dogs entertained for hours. The challenges presented by these toys can help reduce anxiety and destructive behaviors, as they provide a healthy outlet for a dog's energy and drive.

Additionally, enrichment toys can strengthen the bond between dogs and their owners, as they can participate in playtime together. By incorporating these engaging toys into a dog's daily routine, owners can ensure their furry companions lead a happy, healthy, and mentally fulfilled life.

Make Your Own Dog Enrichment Toy

How to Make DIY Dog Enrichment Toys

Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune on enrichment toys for dogs. In fact, you can fashion DIY dog toys made from cardboard that your pups will love!

One of our favorite cardboard dog toys to make is a dog busy box.

What is a Busy Box for Dogs?

A dog busy box, also known as a busy board or an enrichment box, is a DIY or store-bought box that contains various objects, puzzles, and challenges to keep a dog mentally engaged and physically active.

A typical dog busy box may include features such as:

  1. Sliding compartments: These compartments can hide treats or toys, and the dog has to figure out how to slide or open them to access the rewards.
  2. Latches and locks: Dogs can learn to manipulate latches, switches, or locks to reveal hidden treats or compartments.
  3. Squeaky or crinkly toys: Including toys with different textures and sounds add to the sensory appeal of dogs.
  4. Puzzle elements: This may include puzzle feeders or treat-dispensing features that challenge the dog to work for their food.
  5. Different textures: Incorporating various materials like fabric, rubber, or wood can add tactile variety.
  6. Chewable elements: Some busy boxes include safe and durable materials for dogs to chew on.
  7. Animal shelters make busy box dog toys for their resident dogs because they are inexpensive and can be made with just about anything you have lying around.

    How to Make a DIY Dog Enrichment Box

    Creating a dog busy box can be a fun and rewarding project. First, you'll need the following materials:

    • Sturdy cardboard box: Choose a box of an appropriate size for your dog. It should be large enough to hold the activities and treats, but not too big that it becomes difficult for your dog to interact with it.
    • Various toys and objects: Collect different items to create interactive elements. Some ideas include:
      • PVC pipes or cardboard tubes
      • Wooden blocks or dowels
      • Small latches or locks (as long as they are dog-safe!)
      • Squeaky toys or crinkly materials
      • Puzzle feeders or treat-dispensing toys
      • Fabric strips or ropes

    • Dog-safe treats: Gather some of your dog's favorite treats to place inside the busy box.
    • Hot glue gun or strong adhesive: To securely attach the elements to the box.

    Once you have all your dog-approved toys and treats, it’s time to assemble your enrichment box!

    1. Step 1: Ensure the cardboard box is clean and free from any hazards or sharp edges that could harm your dog.
    2. Step 2: Arrange the various items inside the box. You can create compartments, hiding spots, and interactive features. Get creative!
    3. Step 3: Use a hot glue gun or a strong adhesive to secure the items to the inside of the box. Make sure they are firmly in place and won't come loose during play.
    4. Step 4: Place some of your dog's favorite treats and toys inside the box to make it more enticing.
    5. Step 5: Introduce the busy box to your dog and encourage them to explore and interact with the busy box. You may need to demonstrate how to use the interactive elements to help them get started.
    6. Step 6: Regularly rotate the treats and toys inside to keep the busy box engaging. You can also add new elements or change the setup to maintain your dog's interest.
    7. Remember, every dog is different, so feel free to customize the busy box based on your dog's preferences and needs. The goal is to provide mental stimulation, entertainment, and a fun way for your dog to spend their time when you're unable to play with them directly.

      Always supervise your dog when they are playing with the busy box, especially during the initial introduction. Ensure the interactive elements are safe and won't be ingested or cause harm to your dog.

      Items You Need for a Dog Busy Box

      What Can I Put in Dog Enrichment Toys?

      One of the benefits of creating your own dog enrichment box is that you can customize it to include your pooch’s favorite things. Some dog-friendly items you can include in your DIY enrichment box include:

      • Rope toys
      • Squeaky balls or tennis balls
      • Plush or fleece toys
      • Empty water bottles
      • Blankets or dish towels
      • Egg cartons
      • Paper shopping bags
      • Used paper towel rolls
      • Loose treats

      Find the 'Paw-fect' Packaging Supplies with Trinity!

      Stock Up on Cardboard Boxes with Trinity

      There are many other great ways to keep your dog entertained using cardboard. Whichever toy or game you decide to play, make sure you have quality boxes on hand.

      At Trinity, we have thousands of cardboard boxes at low prices in stock and ready to ship. Most of our products can be delivered the next day across the country, so you don’t have to “fetch” the boxes yourself!

      Shop our e-commerce catalog today to find the best cardboard boxes for your needs. And if you have a business, contact our packaging experts to learn more about our wholesale opportunities.