5.18.2011

Rain Rain Go Away!

Urgh - what a terrible week for going outside with the pups! How on earth do you keep your sanity and get your dog(s) exercised when it's been raining for a week?


Food Dispensing Toys
There is NO rule that a dog needs to eat out of a food dish. In our house, Sadie eats every meal out of a food dispensing toy. Zeppelin doesn't need the same amount of mental activity, so he eats out of a raised dish. A few examples of food dispensing toys are listed below!

Kibble Nibble by Premier
One of the toys suggested by every dog trainer is the Kibble Nibble. It's an "easy" dispensing toy. You put an allotted amount of food/treats in the toy. The dog has to roll the treat ball around, and the food dispenses out of a tiny hole on one end of the toy.
Kong Extreme for heavy chewers
Kong toys are another must-have in every household with a dog. They come in a variety of sizes and chew strength. You can put fat free yogurt, peanut butter, soft dog food, cheese, meat, anything that your dog loves, into this fantastic interactive toy! For a longer lasting experience, you can put the Kong with the stuffing of your choosing, into the freezer!


Premier Linkables - my favorite toy of last season!
The Linkables have been a LIFE-SAVER in our household. The dense rubber is difficult to chew, but soft enough that when Sadie tosses the toy around, it's not disruptive for our landlords who live on the floor below us. The brilliance of this toy is you can make it as easy or difficult for your dog as needed! You buy each piece separately, and configure the toy in a variety of ways to keep your dog interested and busy at meal times. I mix up the food dispensing toys at each meal, but at least once a day, she gets her Linkables set to the most difficult setting for 30 minutes of mental activity without adding extra calories.

Long Lasting Chews
Bully Sticks: A tendon of a bull, and not a cow....


First and foremost, I have to suggest the Bully Stick.  Yes, they can be a bit expensive, but they are really worth it. I have one friend that calls them "Sanity Sticks" and for good reason! They are a dense tendon that keeps even the most persistent chewer busy longer than most other chew sticks.




Marrow Bones are no longer recommended by veterinarians due to higher incidents of fractured teeth on the indigestible bone. Similarly, antlers, horns, and other bones-of-former-animals are not advised.

Interactive Toys & Games:
Tail Teaser: I was a bit uncomfortable google searching for this.

If you have a higher energy dog, especially one that loves to jump and chase, there is the Tail Teaser from Kyjen. It's a wonderful interactive toy that allows you to play with your dog (which is what they really want!). It's also a great way to teach "Take It", "Drop It", and other useful commands. It also is an aerobic activity which will help burn off all the energy your dog isn't able to get out otherwise.

Tennis Ball: Tried and True
Not exactly a novel try, but an old favorite. Play fetch with your dog using a tennis ball in the house! Easy peasy! If you have a stair case in the home, sit at the top of the stairs, drop the ball to the bottom, and have the dog fetch. With all the running up and down the stairs, you'll get more energy burned in a shorter amount of time!


Tug of War: I wrote an entire article on Tug of War. Tug can be a great way to teach great skills (drop it and take it) and  still burn energy. Check that posting if this is something you're interested in!

New Toys
We all love our dogs, so why not get them a new toy? I'm including a link instead of a photo because this is my favorite toy of this year. It's another Premier toy, but is a great toy for shredders. They are not filled with stuffing, so they don't get fluff everywhere. Instead, they have a rubber mesh ball on the inside with a squeak inside, so when they shred the exterior, they still have a functional toy on the inside. BRILLIANT!

Training and Tricks
Play "find it" games, which engages a dogs mind and keeps boredom at bay. Put your dog in a "stay", hide a treat, and have the dog "find it". It works on impulse control, engages their mind, and is an interactive game between owner and dog. Win, Win, Win!

Teach your dog a new trick! "Spin", "Roll Over", "High Five", "Shake" or any number of party tricks.

One Last Tip: 
 Many people leave dog toys out all the time. Instead, invest in a doggy toy box. If that seems absurd to you, get a hanging fabric shoe rack, put a couple of your dogs toys in each shoe slot, and rotate toys daily! This will keep the clutter down, and keep your dog interested in the toys!
A nice way to keep your shoes cleaned up AND your dog toys cleaned up!


Best of luck this very rainy week. It's been a tough one. Hopefully these tips can help you out until the sun comes out again!