Tuesday Topics 9 - Share Your Dog Do!


On the way to work, I pass by a dog park that is completely fenced. I always look to see if there are any dogs romping around there, and 90% of the time, there's no one there. So yesterday, I decided to check it out with Cabana. Guide dog puppies are not allowed to go to dog parks, but I figured there was no harm if no other dogs are there. (Right?)

The photo above is of Cabana at the dog park. Boring picture. Even more boring dog park! I just didn't know what to DO there with Cabana. I tried romping around with her--but then she thinks I'm another dog and tries to jump and nip at me. After getting and giving corrections a bunch of times, that activity goes sour. We practiced recall a few times...Cabana sniffed around for a while...but it was definitely a dull outing.

Even when we're at home, I often feel like I don't know what to do with Cabana. Several times a day, usually while I'm working (I often work from home), she comes up to me and seems to want me to do SOMETHING for her. But what? She's not barking or whining--she's just sitting there, looking up at me. I usually stop what I'm doing and pet her for a few minutes, but this doesn't seem to be what she's asking for. Sometimes, I try giving her a different toy or taking her outside for a potty break and a breath of fresh air. But I don't want to feel like I've got to entertain my dog all the time--and I don't know, maybe that's not even what she's asking me for.

Believe me, I'm not one of those over-scheduling moms. My kids enjoy their free time, and I don't make them go to umpteen different lessons and clubs every week. So why can't I be more relaxed about Cabana? When Cabana is sleepy or tired and content to lay on her dog bed, I leave well enough alone. But when she seems to be asking me for something, I just don't have enough ideas. We've already taken our walks by now. You can only play so much tug of war, and puppy sit-ups and training exercises don't take much time, either.

So what do you DO with your dogs? Do your dogs come and look at you expectantly? Am I just imagining that I have to be DOING something for Cabana? Is it a mom/guilt thing? Psychoanalysis aside, I'd love to get a few activity ideas!

Poppy The Puppy  – (April 28, 2009 at 10:06 AM)  

That drives me crazy! If they are on tie down, I expect them to entertain themselves with bones or naps. Attention seeking behavior gets nothing from me. If you were working in another environment, it probably would get in the way of your normal work day. She needs to be patient and adapt to whatever you are doing.

That said, they do need to have fun. One of games I like to play Is hide-n-seek. It works on stays and comes. I put the dog in a sit stay and go hide. How far I go depends on the dog's reliability. I then give them come command and she comes to find me. Some are better at the finding than others, but Cabana is a smarty pants and should do well with it.

I have some other ideas we can chat about tonight at class.

Martha G  – (April 28, 2009 at 4:38 PM)  

I only know tug and hide and seek, but I think having a dog share your day-to-day activity is active enough. Ardella stays in my office when I'm working and lately has been able to lie quietly on her bed. If she disturbs me by barking or waiting for me to pay attention to her, she goes to her crate in my bedroom for a nap. We take walks around the block on my 15-minute breaks and at lunch, and usually that is enough for her to come back to the room with me and be quiet again.

Please do share those ideas you talk about tonight. I've often been worried that Ardella leads a boring life.

Lisa and Ellie  – (April 28, 2009 at 6:31 PM)  

I play hide and go seek with Ellie. This helps her with also holding commands while I'm out of the room until I release her. It also helps teach her to identify objects.

Massages and grooming also seem to wear her out.

Putting all her toys in the middle of the room and asking her to get a specific toy and bring it to me. Another object identification game.

Ellie used to be shy about loud noises. So, I'd intentionally drop plastic containers on the tile floor then make a game of it. She now gets giddy when i drop things and make a fool of myself.

At work, when she's leashed - I will bounce around, not always only walking in a straight line and make a game of her following my erratic movements all while on a loose lead.

That's our most common "rainy day" games.

Cabana's Puppy Raiser  – (April 29, 2009 at 10:26 AM)  

Hide & Seek and the toy identification game are great ideas! I'm looking forward to trying those out on Cabana.

Martha, Poppy's raiser and I didn't have a chance last night to talk about other ideas. Too much other stuff going on with the CRFs. But I will post it when I get that info. I totally agree with your comment, that our dogs get enough activity just by being around us all day. I like your strategy of putting Ardella in the other room if she is disturbing you while working. I'm going to give that a try as well.

Becky  – (April 29, 2009 at 9:50 PM)  

I have to say being aware of Cricket needing some time to play and 'Do' something helps my work schedule be more balanced - She reminds me to take time to play!

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