Happy New Year to all of my readers! I’ve been a little quiet for the past couple of weeks but I am back and ready to see what animal adventures await in 2017…
I am currently back in Norfolk for the Christmas break and have been catching up on some much needed canine time! This got me thinking about Rusty’s lifestyle and the things we do to keep her stimulated and happy – the next three blog posts will go into detail on some of the activities we do and why they are good for her.
Play is an essential part of a dog’s life. It provides an opportunity to burn excess energy and occupies the dog’s mind, preventing boredom (which could lead to the development of bad habits).
Chase and retrieve
Being a border terrier, Rusty has an incredibly strong chase drive. We can’t let her off the lead on walks because once her ‘switch’ goes, there is no getting through to her. In the garden however she will play fetch until she is exhausted.
Tug of war
This can be a very fun game for dogs – however without proper control it could potentially be dangerous. Rusty was taught the command ‘leave’ when she was a puppy and was rarely allowed to ‘win’ a game of tug. Now that she is older I am much more relaxed about letting her be the victor, although she is never allowed to ignore me telling her to let go of the toy (she will try!) Tug of war is beneficial as it can help to teach a dog to control its excitement.
Hide and seek
This is probably one of my favourites to play with Rusty. We have quite a large garden so I tell her to stay whilst I hide somewhere, and then I call her. She races towards the sound of my voice but often speeds past my hiding place and then has to back-track to find me. This really engages a lot of her natural behaviour that would have been used in situations such as hunting for prey.
We also have an indoor version of this game: I leave her in one room while I conceal a toy in a different room, and then call her through. She knows this game very well now and uses her nose to track down the toy.
Rusty is often left to her own devices, both in the garden and in the house – there are always toys left laying around so she quite happily entertains herself.
Indoor toys of pretty much any kind are usually taken to the rug in our living room, rolled on, tossed up in the air and pushed around by her nose.
Soft toys are usually chewed, shaken and torn to pieces!
She also loves charging around the garden with a tennis ball on a string…
Stay tuned for part two of dog blog, where I will be discussing Rusty’s exercise routine.