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The demise of Daylight Saving Time and the Dawn of Dog Game Nights

October 28, 2013 14 comments

IMG_8929It’s getting to be that time of year again. The time when darkness pervades our mornings and our nights and Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends. it’s my least favorite time of year because it means the dogs and I will be relegated to walking in the dark or just on weekends.

Cupcake is a pro at Chess

Cupcake is a pro at Chess

If I lived in Arizona or Hawaii or Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, I wouldn’t have to set my clock back at all and the dogs and I could walk in the morning. But since we live in Minnesota, and no one has seen fit to get rid of this archaic and outdated policy, we will be making the best of it by playing dog puzzles and other silly games.

Truthfully, the dogs actually love our dog game nights. They look forward to taking their turn at finding treats in the dog chess game or digging a Kong out of a box and taking it out of a sock. It’s a challenge and something different and interesting for them to do.

Cupcake has gotten especially good at playing dog chess, so I am thinking it may be time to try some new games. Here are just a few I am looking at. Have any of you tried these? I would love your opinion on which ones might be a challenge for my little dog prodigy.

Nina Ottosson Brick Game

Nina Ottosson Brick Interactive Toy

Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado  Interactive Toy

Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado Interactive Toy

Nina Ottosson Dog Turbo Interactive Toy

Nina Ottosson Dog Turbo Interactive Toy

Hagen Dogit Mind Games

Hagen Dogit Mind Games 3-in-1 Interactive Smart Toy for Dogs

Do you have one-on-one time with your dog?

February 20, 2013 21 comments
Daisy playing Chess

Daisy playing Chess

This past weekend my friend Emily posted a picture of her and her dog, Lilly, on a special outing together. It was their girls day out.

It brought back a lot of happy memories of my outings with Daisy. Back when I was a pet sitter, she used to ride with me on some of my pet visits. I would also take her on special outings to get some ice cream (that’s probably how she got to be 75 lbs back then!). I would buy one ice cream cone for me and one for her. Then, we would go sit in a park and watch the world go by as we enjoyed our cones and each others company.

Seeing Emily’s picture reminded me how long it has been since we’ve done something like that. Now that I have three dogs, it can be hard to get that one-on-one time with any one of them. But last night I had the opportunity to enjoy some one-on-one time with each of my dogs and it felt really good, especially with Daisy.

Since it was so cold out, I decided to switch things up a bit and bring out our doggie puzzle from Trixie and let each of the dogs have their own chance to play with it. The game is called Chess and it comes with 4 yellow cups and a board with sliding squares. Under the squares are little holes in which you can place treats. The squares also have holes in them so you can place treats in them and cover them with the cups. It requires a dog to really use their brain to figure out how to get to the treats.

I decided Daisy would be first. I set up a baby gate so Jasper and Cupcake were on one side and Daisy and I on the other. Then, I placed the game (loaded with tiny pieces of pork) on the floor. Daisy was very nervous at first, not having really played with the puzzle much before, but she was also very intrigued by the smells coming from it.  Since she was nervous about what to do, I sat down on the floor near her. I placed the game in front of her, but she still seemed unsure, so I showed her some of the hidden pieces of pork and then covered them up again.

She tentatively reached out with her nose to smell one yellow cup. Then she nudged it a little. The cup started to topple over. She jumped. She went back again and nudged the cup aside and grabbed the piece of meat. It took time, but eventually, with my encouragement and revealing the treats to her from time to time, she eventually started to figure it out. And with each successive find, she became more confident.

It was so rewarding to sit next to her and work the puzzle together. We worked as a team and had so much fun in doing so.

Cupcake is a pro at Chess

Cupcake is a pro at Chess

After each round, we would just sit there and hang out, I would give her belly rubs and kisses, and she would give me nose bumps and pleading looks for more of the same. It was a very special evening. I can’t remember how many times we did this, but I think it was at least five. I think she loved our time together as much as she loved getting the treats

Afterwards, Jasper and Cupcake got their special time alone with me and we did the same thing. They seemed to enjoy it just as much as Daisy.

Having this special time together with each of my dogs makes me think that I need to do this kind of thing more often. Maybe each dog should have their special day.

What do you think? Do you have special days with your dog? If you have more than one dog, do you take time out to spend it with just one dog at a time? I would love to hear what you have to say.

Jasper loves Chess

Jasper loves Chess

Dogs: A Game of Chess Perhaps?

March 26, 2012 8 comments

Strategy Game - Chess

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Pet Expo in downtown Minneapolis. I was really excited to go because I got to hang out with some of my old Minnesota Valley Humane Society volunteer friends, Sue, Mona and Becky. Since the shelter closed last year, it’s been harder and harder to see one another, so this was a great chance to spend some time together and share our love of animals.

Becky’s goal was to Hug a Bulldog and Kiss a Pug (two fundraisers for local dog rescues), Mona and Sue’s was to see everything we could (and we did!), mine was to see what new and exciting pet products were available for pets (more to come!)

One of my most exiting finds isn’t all that new. In fact, I’ve seen variations of this for a long time via Nina Ottosson’s website. This one is from Trixie and is called Chess. I just love these type of dog activity toys. Although this one does not appear to be by Nina Ottosson, I have no doubt that it is modeled after one of her many toys.

I couldn’t wait to bring it home and try it out with Jasper and Lady. What I didn’t expect was how quickly one of them figured it out. Can you guess who?

What is this?

Curious contraption

Hmmmm... I smell food.

A little paw action.

I'm gonna get that treat!

Aha!

Eureka!

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