As a friend and I walked around the dog park yesterday, she shared her experience with “nose work.” She and her dog, Ellie, are into their second set of classes and Ellie is absolutely loving it. So much so that she can’t wait to get out and do it again as soon as she is done!
Like many dogs these days, Ellie has already done and experienced so much. She has already been through basic and advanced dog obedience and has her therapy dog certification. She has gone on camping trips and loves going with her mom on her kayak adventures. She is an active dog with a mom who loves to do things with her.
It got me to thinking about how much has changed in our world when it comes to dogs. Sixty or seventy years ago, a dog would have been great entertainment for the kids, might have been taken on walks in the neighborhood, and sometimes went hunting in the spring and fall. But, that’s about it. They did not have the enriched lives that many of them experience today. Activities rarely centered around them and their fun.
There are so many more choices for us and our dogs. We can do almost anything with them these days, including:
- nose work
- geo caching
- going to the dog park
- fly ball
- freestyle musical dance
- sheep and goat herding
- trick training
- circus dog training
- search and rescue
- dock diving
- frisbee competitions
- doggie puzzles
These are only some of the things one can do with their dog. The list really is endless.
Realizing how many choices we have these days made me wonder, what changed? When did our dogs not only become so much of our lives, but also become a focus of the activities we do in our lives? Why do we do so many things with our dogs these days?
I’ll admit that I am no different. Jasper has gone experienced sheep herding many times. Daisy and Jasper and Cupcake have all gone hiking in the woods, and we play with doggie puzzles.. I like doing things with my dogs. I like that they get me outdoors and doing things I might not normally do. But, I also know that I could be doing other things. I could be traveling or crafting or attending classes. Instead, I choose to do activities that include my dogs. The question I am pondering today is, why? What motivates me to include them in all I do?
Do you do one of the above activities with your dog? What motivates to want to do so? What keeps you doing it? Why do you think we do so much with our dogs these days?
It’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.
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.