Friday, September 14, 2012

Pleasing small dogs, dachsunds, any dog, with the right toy

                                        (Corey and his best buddy looking out the window)

Small dogs are eager and easy to please, like all others.  The key is finding the safest, most indestructible toys that amuse your best friend.

Corey is our latest family member.  A dachsund/min pin mix.  He is a comic, dubbed court jester Corey. An active smoothie furred, short legged, shark tooth dynamo that loves to play.  Young and courageous, his adventures lead to leaping from tall places and believing he is an eighty pound doberman.  At 9 pounds, it is hard to imagine that one so small can get into a bit of trouble. Yet, if we were that small, there's much to find to get into mischief just six inches off the ground.

In a new experience with a small court jester is that toys become objects of great curiosity.  Most all cloth doggie toys become "shredded wheat" in a short time.  Forget squeaky toys which become the object of intense and wild interest until disabled.  As we have all come to conclude, there is something very fascinating to most all dogs with toys that create noise.  With the exception of a well constructed doggie toy that comes with a price, (there are some out there), toys are clearly our best pals best friends. 

Found a couple of solutions to the destruction.  Create toys that keep Corey entertained, yet withstand the course of destruction and fun.  Enrichment toys pose a challenge as with zoo animals, their forever confinement and need for stimulation.  It is a source of fun to deliver treats in a manner to allow their instincts and thinking to "work" for getting things they want.  Not having any experience in animal behavioral science, decided, what works for children, has gotta work for canines.  Let me qualify this.  Children are given toys to stimulate their growth and learning process, without the task of unleashing the Oreo cookies. 

Have integrated a couple of challenges that enhance Corey's life with fun and lead to less destruction. What dog does not like a toy that can be rolled around, particularly if it rattles. 

Took a margarine container, cut a hole in the top that releases tiny doggie bisquits when rolled around and toppled.  This was the first test of enrichment.  What was learned is that curiosity of noise became paramount. What followed was that the entertainment yielded a reward.   After comparing the $9. treat buddy on the left with the butter container, the entertainment value was greater with the recycled container.  The only difference is that the treat buddy, which is made of great durable rubber is that for a small dog, it's heavy. It unscrews and can be filled with treats, closing it to allow treats to filter out when played with. Although it comes in different sizes, purchased a small one and learned how heavy it was after dropping it on my foot.  Found that it is a tad heavy for a small dog to engage wildly with it for long.  

Had to duct tape the lid after a first try. After that, the container stayed intact.  Tiny bisquits can be inserted in the top. 

The next level was creating a cloth toy that was indestructible.  After trying many types of recyled fabrics, they all ended up in shreds.  Got to thinking about closely woven heavy weave.  Denim fit the bill.  After creating a simple denim bone shaped toy on my sewing machine - and inserting a squeaky over a week ago, the solution was found.  

Corey will also have his own personal doxie toy built from durable denim.  There is still work to finish his own fabric buddy, that should provide the same durable fun as the rest without the shred mess.   Does he mind that all his toys will be denim blue? If he likes the toy and it squeaks, it does not seem to matter to him what color it is. 

No matter how our great companions and buddies are entertained, safety, fun and enrichment should be a goal.  After all as humans, we know what we like and buy.  Our best buddies should have the same.  

"Chow" for now...and literally speaking,..rut roh, it's breakfast time, then a day of play and my 14 hours of sleep. ~ Corey

No comments: