The humble egg box can be a great source of enrichment for your dog. Instead of tossing your egg cartons straight into the recycling or your compost heap let your dog have some fun and games first.
Egg carton games suit all breeds to provide mental stimulation whilst giving your dog an outlet to burn off some excess energy. These simple toys and games are easy to create with leftover egg trays and boxes and your dog’s toys and treats.
Why are egg boxes such a good choice for enrichment games?
Egg boxes work so well for these games, not just because of their availability but because of their ease of use and safety. These soft boxes are easy to tear into, light enough to pick up, and won’t do any damage to your pet.
The segmented shapes are perfect for hiding treats and lets dogs get their muzzles deep into the hiding places. Egg cartons can be sealed them up, stacked, hidden and thrown around, making them a versatile resource.
Can you use any egg boxes?
These ideas are based on using the traditional cardboard egg boxes and trays (the stackable ones that have 30 compartments) because of their soft materials and weight.
Plastic egg boxes are not recommended. Not only is this a step backwards regarding the use of environmentally-friendly materials, but it also runs the risk of sharp plastic breaking off and becoming a health hazard. Dogs could choke on pieces or cut themselves.
Do egg box games promote destructive behaviour?
There is a concern from some dog owners that this sort of game will send the wrong message to dogs that can get destructive at home. However, these enrichment sessions actually allow the dog to channel their pent-up energy into something fun.
Your dog will learn that this is an appropriate activity and be less inclined to rip up other things. Plus, a lot of destruction stems from boredom. Games like this can prevent boredom and lessen the risk of those destructive tendencies.
7 ways to use egg boxes for canine enrichment
Easy Egg Box Game
Start by using an open egg box and pop a couple of treats into the box, push the lid over, but do not close it. Give it to your dog to flip the lip open and retrieve their reward. Do this a couple of times so they get the hang of it.
Destruction Egg Box Game
Making it harder. If your box is pretty intact, it should have a tab on the side that will hold the lid closed. You can use this to make things a little more difficult for your pet. They can figure out how to get the egg carton open to get their tasty treat inside. Show them that you are putting treats inside and then shake it to get their attention. Let them enjoy crushing and tearing the box apart. Pretty messy, but easy to sweep up and so much fun! This is a great game for burning off some pent up energy.
Egg Box Treat Dispenser
Alternatively, you might decide to turn the box into a treat dispenser, rather than getting your dog to tear into the carton. Make 3 holes in the lid big enough for the treats you are using to fall through. Pop some treats in the box and seal the box. You may need to put some washi tape on the box to hold it shut. Smart pups will soon learn that small treats will fall out of the holes by shaking the box.
Find It Egg Carton Game
You can also use egg boxes for scent-based games. It is the perfect game of hide and seek to get their brain working. Use a really tasty, smelly ( what we call ‘high value’) treat for this activity. Let your dog sniff the treat before you tuck it into the box, close the lid and then make your dog stay whilst you go and hide the egg carton somewhere in your home. You even take the box out into the garden on a dry day.
Giant Egg Box Digging Pit
An alternative option is to use the egg boxes to hide items within a bigger box. The lightweight structure is ideal for creating a pile of cardboard where you can easily tuck little toys and treats. The bigger the cardboard box and the more egg cartons you have, the more fun for your dog. Let them dive in and dig around. Breeds with a love of digging will love this.
Egg Tray Slow Feeder
Egg trays make great slow feeders. You can split meals into smaller portions of food throughout the day to spread out the activity for your dog. Spreading out meals and making it hard to scoff in one go can help dogs that may be prone to gulping down food too fast and giving themselves hiccups.
Egg Box Cover Up Game
You can use a box or tray for this game. Put the treats into the compartments and cover each compartment with a scrunched up piece of paper before giving it to your dog. You can use ping pong balls, small tennis balls or other toys to cover up the compartments too to keep the game interesting.
Try some egg carton canine enrichment games for your dog.
As you can see, it is really easy to create some fun games for your dog from egg cartons. These options require hardly any effort at all to create. So save your boxes and you can make as many of these as you want to provide instant enrichment for your dog. Get creative and have fun with it!