Alina

My dogs love playing find it.

We even play outside in the backyard too. I hide treats under leaves, in trees, on tables and chairs, on/in plant containers, in her toys, it's all fair game. I'm amazed at what she can find, and it's fun watching stop and turn around when she gets a whiff.

Dogs are so much fun.

Here are some of the others we enjoy:

  1. "hand me that" where you put several objects on the ground and then teach him to hand you the one you point at.
  2. big box -- get a big box and get him to interact with it. have him go into it for treats, jump over it ( thats another fun trick to teach), climb on top of it and sit/stay. This works outside with new surfaces too -- benches, rocks, big grates or cement structures in cities.
  3. "where is so and so?" Teach your dog the names of your friends and family, then have one of them hide and ask him to go find them.
  4. "which one?" put a treat in one hand and show him both closed fists. Teach him to pick the correct hand before getting the treat.
  5. sniff. Bring him novel objects to sniff. Its not a trick, but it is fun to do when you have to wait. Waiting for the vet the other day I entertained my dog by letting him sniff each of the objects in my purse.
  6. find by smell. Put spices in socks and get him to find them. Work up to letting him smell a specific spice and asking him to find just that one and ignore the others.
Alina

Anything with fluff or some kind of stuffing... doesn't matter if the material is indestructible, she will get it out.

This has led us to the theory that they don't test with dogs like ours.

I've just accepted that any fluffy toy is going to be shredded. Tuffy's toys have been really good though.

Anything else that is supposedly built tough, no chance.

It's almost like she thinks the fluff/stuffing is trapped and she must free it. Take any old jeans you'll never wear again, cut the legs and tie them in knots.

Then wash them in hot water, and shrink in the dryer. The knots are really difficult to untie. You can put a rope in between the knots ahead of time so it becomes more fun to play with too. Or you can take something and stuff it with old cut up denim strips for the dog to pull out.

We tie old socks around it, stuff medium sized bones in it(this is easier after your dog has stretched the plastic out a little). Pretty much just fill it with any toys that will fit inside it, tie socks or fabric onto it and let the dog have it. She loves trying to get everything apart!

Alina

I would look for things made with rope and leather or heavy canvas. Most stuffed toys are gonna shred easy and have that pillow type stuffing.

I found a few slightly smaller than a cat toys at Tractor Supply that are tough, so far they are standing up to our teething great dane. One actually used rope inside a burlap type fabric with a few leather patches sewn on, he loves that one.

With our youngest dog I have tried everything and rope is about the only options that works consistently. We had to pretty much abandon all stuffed toys because I cannot find anything vaguely stuffed that he can't destroy.

I've tried everything that has claimed to be chew-resistant and for heavy chewers and he's had them torn to shreds in an hour. I wouldn't mind too much, except that he eats the stuffing and that could cause a GI blockage, so the house is now stuffed-toy free much to the dismay of the other dogs.

If your dog is somewhat less of a maniac, you could try the things it took my dog a little longer to destroy: things made by Kong that were labeled for heavy chewers or out of firehose type material.

I found this one ball that has a squeaker but it is a hard ball and only when it rolls does the noise happen. Had the ball for some time now and he loves it. It is battered and bruised but is still going strong. The problem is that it is hard.

The only soft toy that hasn’t been completely destroyed is the Kong ballistic ring but it does have a small hole in it.

Also has squeakers.

Alina

Curb your dog means to pick up the dog's droppings. Clean Up Right Behind = C U R B. Clean up right behind your dog.

As a person who takes great pride in his lawn, I never see this as a problem. A dog will not cause permanent damage. Foot traffic on the lawn by a person is only needed if they need to collect the poo.

If they were getting people taking shortcuts through their lawn. That is a whole different topic and they totally deserve to be angry.

You're always going to get that anti-pet owner who doesn't understand the need to walk their dogs.

In short a lot of neighborhoods don't have sidewalks here. Try to keep your dog from walking to the middle of the yard (mine try to every time) and if they poop pick it up, CURB them. As long as you're picking the poo up, you should be good since most people I have dealt with don't mind. I have even made a couple of "poo friends" on my route.

Alina

Exercise is breed dependent, but every breed needs some form of physical exercise.

In my personal opinion, I think every dog needs at least one walk a day.

Why?

It exposes them to things outside their home - sights, smells, experiences. It is healthy for them, and helps them handle new environments better. I wouldn't get a dog if I couldn't do two walks a day, it just isn't fair for the breeds I get.

I think it's a boring life to sit around for 24 or more hours in the same space with no new stimulus.

A good amount of training and play may be just as good as a walk, and some dogs energy level wise may not cause trouble or get fat without much exercise, but most people will find a wall to be the easiest way to have some for of daily enrichment for their dogs.

A perfect day for a dog has both physical activity and mental activity.

For some low-energy breeds, a nice neighborhood walk would cover both bases...walking for the body, sniffing for the mind. Fetch is a little mindless and monotonous...could you add some trick training, food puzzles, or nose games?

Alina

I play the "muffin tin game" basically a muffin tin with tennis balls and you hide kibble under some of the balls. It does require interaction.

Some are easier than others. I like the tug-a-jug, the kong wobbler, the buster cube, stuffed kongs.

I know for a lot of people that have hunting dogs, they create games for them. "Hunting games" like hide various things in places to where he has to figure out how to get them. Treats, toys ect. Always mix it up, so he has a new thing to do all the time.

Teach tricks.

Any tricks, even stupid stuff like putting all four feet in a box.

Nosework/scent games are a huge thing for dogs.

Create things to be destroyed.

One of my dogs likes a big cardboard box filled with torn up newspaper, paper tubes/rolls, smaller boxes, etc. and then kibble in the the smaller boxes. he has to work hard to find it all.

Another one that I don't think people use enough is teaching your dog to just chill out.

To put it simply.

When I'm giving my dogs attention that's what I expect back. They give me attention and drive and energy because when I'm paying attention to them usually it means we are working. Either through play or trick training or whatever.

When i'm not giving my dogs attention I expect them to be calm.

I allow chew toys, mild play together, and mild toy stuff. Nothing high energy though. I taught this basically be spending a very very large amount of my daily training sessions on reinforcing calm behavior. 50% of all daily food went towards treating for calm downs, sits, laying in the bed, laying on the couch, etc.

One short session a night will not cut it with a poodle. My dogs get 100% of their daily food from training. Which usually means 2 longer sessions (breakfast dinner) and shorter sessions throughout the day (treats etc). I don't feed from a bowl at all.