Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Puppies are Green Entertainment

© all photos copyright Carrie Boyko

Oliver Enjoys Playing with his
Ball in a Tube Toy

Isn't it amazing how relaxing it can be to watch a child or a puppy playing peacefully with a toy? As I captured the photos above I was marveling at what a relaxing episode he was having. The pure enjoyment of mouthing the soft, chewy tube and trying to retrieve the ball from within it had captivated him for quite a while. Me too. I lost myself in his play until a sudden interruption brought us both back to reality. I guess we were both in FLOW, that concept of total engrossment in an activity that completely disallows any other thoughts from entering your mind. Have you read the book? Check it out:

It occurred to me then, what a green form of entertainment that had been. No gas, no cost, no electric, no water consumption, just the pure enjoyment of trying to solve a problem--how to get that ball out of the tube. Oliver has not yet solved that problem, even in ensuing playtimes with the same toy. His big brother, Tanner, has easily managed to outsmart his Ball in a Tube toy (much larger sized for a Golden Retriever) with his exceptional jaw strength. He was easily able to squeeze the ball out, much as we would with toothpaste. Oliver simply doesn't have the chopper strenth that Tanner has, but he certainly is determined. That's what makes this such a good toy. It is challenging fun, a problem to solve.

Mental challenges are good for dogs, especially on a rainy day when he can't go out to play. Dog games, obstacle challenges and even obedience training are all forms of mental challenges that will help to establish you as the leader, while giving your dog something to focus on and learn from. These types of challenges are fatiguing mentally, which will result in better naps, too. What's good for pup is good for the owner.

While my dog's mental challenges usually revolve around Agility training, obedience training and following household rules, sometimes a challenging toy like this one can also give my dog a mental workout. These are the best kinds of toys to choose for them--the ones that make them work toward a goal for satisfaction. Enjoy your pup's journey.

For all you pup lovers out there, check out my other blog, All Things Dog Blog, where I yammer on about everything you can imagine, as long as it has something to do with dogs. I guess I just needed another outlet for my blabbering about dogs. Today's topic is our "cousin" Jacque, Oliver's Papillon relative who was recently adopted by my mother.

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