Did you see us on WA Weekender again last month? If not check us out at …. You are going to love the tip, where we give you ideas on what to do to exercise and entertain your human friends as the rainy weather sets in. I helped to ensure that the ideas were good ones, and even worked on showing off some of the ideas.
We came up with a heap of great training and toy ideas to keep you occupied, but just in case you missed everything ….
When I can’t get outside for a good run and play I love getting my dinner in one of the treat dispensing products. I have rated them below for you.
I have tried many of the Outward Hound treat dispensing toys and always enjoy the challenge of a new toy, or one that I haven’t used for a while. There are other companies that have similar toys, but I haven’t personally tested them. I love driving my human nuts by figuring out the toy very quickly and then seeing if I can beat my previous time at emptying the toy.
The only treat balls I recommend are the Aussie Dog treat ball (or, if you can’t get one, the Buster Cube). The others I have tried can’t withstand rigorous treat retrieval and break too easily.
We recently made a treat dispenser using wood and plastic bottles. Not only was it fun “supervising” the making of this toy, I can get as carried away as I want bashing the treats out and we can just replace the bottles as needed. And it allowed my human to think she was being sooooo creative and handy.
I have added some pictures of these for you to ensure you can choose the toy that suits you best and get your human in on the action.
We also discussed some training ideas that I want to talk about with you all.
When I was younger, and I used to drive my older brothers crazy, my human and I came up with a game to keep me exercised, improve my ability to focus and listen and I gave my brothers some peace, at least some times. Each night, for around 3 hours, I would deposit a toy on the sofa next to my human and get her to throw it for me. Of course there had to be some rules, not all of them I agreed with, but sometimes you have to make the human think they are in charge so that you can control them easier. Each time I deposited the toy she would say something, sit, drop, speak, something like that; I would follow her direction and she would throw the toy for me. I would then bring it back and we’d begin again. As I was learning new words we would stick to that word until I understood what she wanted, then we would mix it all up again. Quick note for you all to remember though, occasionally I was told to stay while the toy was thrown, when you hear this DON’T MOVE, it’s a trick. If you run after the toy the game ends (at least for a while) and they don’t throw the toy again no matter how cute you act. You must wait until told to “get it” before you run after the toy.
My human sometimes also told me to stay while she walked away with my toy. When she came back in and sat down the toy was gone. After questioning her I was told to “get it” and had to figure out where she had been and what happened to my toy. While this was great fun she did occasionally try to be really tricky and hide my toy behind or on top of something, but I always found her hidey-hole.
The other training we did in the loungeroom was going to my mat on command. I really loved this training for a few reasons
1) My dinnertime was much more exciting
2) My dinner was soooo much tastier on these days
3) My brothers were in their crates while I had the freedom of the loungeroom for my training.
But there is a very big piece of advice I need to give you here, take your time with this training, the slower you are to understand what they are trying to teach you, the longer the tasty treats will be given. We used meat chunks to start with, then when I got further along with my training changed to my dinner biscuits, definitely not as tasty as those meat chunks.
A small side note here, in training, especially when we are working on something new, my human uses the word yes to tell me when I have got it right, or we use a clicker so that I know exactly the moment I get it right. I love the word yes and the sound of the clicker because it means I’m going to be treated very soon. New to my Musings and don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out my last blog where I talk about markers.
To start with the meat was thrown onto my mat so I would move onto it, when I was doing this easily the meat was thrown as my human said “mat” and I got the treat.
As I got better I had to go to the mat on command, then I was given the food for being on the mat instead of following it there.
From there I learnt to not only go to my mat, but when I get there I need to lie down (at this stage I heard mat and drop to help me along) and yes only came when I was lying down
Once I perfected hearing “mat” means moving to the mat and lying down, I had to stay on my mat until I was released and then I could run back for my treat.
From there the mat was moved further away from our starting point so I had to move further away from the food each time.
To make life more interesting, and so that I can go on my mat anywhere, we also worked on my mat getting smaller and smaller until it could easily be carried in a pocket.
Why not try some of these fun training and dinner ideas with your humans this rainy season. Not only will they spend more quality time with you inside, but you can show them just how clever you are, and you may even find some new favourite toys like I did.
Until next time, high paws to you all, enjoy autumn