We hear a lot of talk about “enrichment” toys these days, but what does that actually mean?
Do your pets really need “enriching”?
We first came across the term many years ago, where it was used in connection with zoo animals. Animals confined to a cage or kept in an environment that is not natural need something stimulating to help prevent boredom and enrich their lives. To emulate activities and behaviours that they would encounter naturally.
Cats, dogs and horses are smart animals and need stimulation and enrichment too.
How many pets develop unwanted behaviours that could be down to boredom?
There are hundreds of enrichment toys available these days, but the key is finding the ones that your dog or cat or horse enjoys.
Most dogs are food motivated – but not all. Cats – and horses too. Treats can be a big part of enrichment games, but then so can toys. What about the dogs that are crazy about squeaky toys or tennis balls?
Choose your product wisely
Before you choose your enrichment “product”, take some time to discover what motivates your pet.
All of our dogs are food motivated, so any treat toy would work for them. Tilly adores squeaky toys, but they terrify Toby, so we have to be very careful.
Tilly loves the Petsafe Ricochet
Most of our dogs have tried and tested various toys and games as puppies, so they are familiar with the concepts. There have been some games that they’ve taken to and others that have frustrated them and they’ve quickly lost interest.
When choosing your game or toy, ensure that it is not too difficult for your pet to “win” the prize.
Daisy found the Dog Box frustrating but fully engaged with the Poker Box
You may think your pet is a genius, but start simple
Start with something simple, and once your pet has mastered it, you can move on to something more challenging.
The Caterpillar was Toby’s first enrichment toy
The majority of these enrichment toys/games are designed to be interactive. This means that you, as the owner, should be involved too – either teaching, encouraging or removing the game once it is done. They can have small pieces that you wouldn’t want your pet to chew or swallow.
Fun for the whole family
Make your own enrichment toys with treats, a muffin that’s interesting and tennis balls
Once you have the key to what stimulates your pet, you can incorporate it into your day-to-day life. Get the whole family involved. It needn’t take hours of your time or cost a fortune – just a simple routine that gets your pet engaged, relieves stress and boredom and makes them happy! Watching your pet play and figure things out can be fascinating.
Cat Activity Fun Circle is one of Tuesday’s favourite games
Share your own DIY enrichment toys and win a prize!
First and foremost, what is a licking mat? A licking mat is a plastic or silicone mat that can be smeared with a variety of different treats. These can include wet food, pastes, peanut butter or plain yoghurt – anything really that is spreadable and enjoyed by your pet. They come in a wide assortment of shapes and sizes but all of them have patterns of cavities and grooves to hold the treats.
Why would you want a licking mat?
Both dogs and cats find the act of repetitive licking soothing which can calm an anxious pet, so by participating in an activity that causes them to lick, they are releasing cortisol into their body – a hormone responsible for relaxation. Licking mats are a great way to help promote calm behaviour.
If you have pets that eat too quickly, you can extend their feeding time with a licking mat making them eat more slowly, produce more saliva and aid digestion. This also aids dental health helping fight off bacteria in the mouth.
And of course the big buzzword at the moment “enrichment”. The licking mat can provide mental stimulation which promotes mental health. A mentally stimulated pet is a healthy pet.
Licking mats can also be frozen thereby extending the game longer by presenting a greater challenge or maybe provide some much-needed refreshment in the hotter months.
When should you use a licking mat?
As a distraction. Maybe you’re still working from home and need time to make that Zoom call in peace.
How about bath time, nail trimming, grooming? You can get licking mats that stick on the wall, and on windows when out on a car journey.
Perhaps on Bonfire night? Something to soothe an anxious pet and take their mind off their fears.
If your pet is confined to a crate due to illness or an operation, and they need a low-impact boredom buster.
Trixie Junior Licking Plate
To distract and entertain your new puppy or kitten.
As a slow feeder, and of course, as a reward. At the end of a great training session, for example.
Just because you love them!
A useful addition to your toolkit
Aquapaw Feeding Mat Licking Toy
In summary, you may already have a whole stash of puzzle toys to keep your pet entertained but we believe it’s worthwhile adding this simple yet effective soothing slow feeder to your toolkit.
Bear in mind that these mats can be a chewing hazard so should only be used when supervised.
Our range of Licking Toys:
Licking Toys range from left to right: iQuites Lick Treat Mat, Trixie Lick n Snack Ball, Junior Licking Plate from Trixie, Trixie Lick n Snack Platter, Aquapaw Feeding Mat Licking Toy
Calm Dog Games is a beautifully presented pack of cards, wonderfully illustrated with different dog breeds. It contains 52 individual challenges for dogs, along with a guide booklet to help you on your way.
As has been proven, mental stimulation can be just as engaging and demanding as physical exercise for the active canine. In situations such as our current lockdown or maybe for disabled dogs, or dogs recovering from surgery, or even just bad weather, these cards are the perfect solution.
The five categories
The cards are divided into 5 different categories; Puzzle, Bond, Focus, Calm and Play, so you can quickly select an appropriate activity for your mood or desired aim. The categories are a mixture of scent games, stealth training, brain games, enrichment activities and bonding exercises to strengthen your relationship.
Whether you are training a pup, settling in a new rescue, or just spending time with your four-legged bestie, these games are great to help you bond, train and have fun together. Add joy, stimulation and enrichment to their day while developing positive behaviours such as calmness, confidence and connection with you.
How to play
PICK A CARD – Select from a category or choose from the whole deck.
FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS – Play the game for 60 seconds to 5 minutes max.
PLAY AGAIN OR CHILL – 3-5 games over the course of the day is sufficient.
(Some games require additional equipment)
From the creator
Calm Dog Games is, first and foremost, for the love of dogs. Inspired by my own spaniel, Cam, my desire was to give him an interesting and enriching life.
Dogs really are the best of us, and they deserve to be listened to and heard. I believe many behavioural issues can be remedied through clear communication, gentle understanding and positive reinforcement. In essence, a calm default.
My aim is to help empower other people who have a dog in their life with the tools and strategies to communicate and connect with their dog, develop calmness and build upon that all-important bond.
Calmness isn’t just for dogs, it’s for us too.
What people are saying about Calm Dog Games
“Great for any dog lover. Lovely cards with some great games on them. Simple ideas well thought out. Glad I bought them. I feel I have an ace up my sleeve with these.”
“A handy resource for enrichment and training. These cards are a great way to find games that will help you boost the behaviours you want from your dog. Being able to pick a card at random is an easy way to make sure you include variety in your play.
They’re great for rainy days and handy for holidays, and they include lots of ideas that would work for dogs who are on restricted exercise.
I especially like the little book that explains the thinking behind the games and how to take them to the next level as your dog becomes an expert.
On top of that, they’re very pretty and easy to wrap, so I am working out who I can buy them for as a gift.”
These are great little fun games to help focus, calm bond and play with my dog, and I love the fact that it has a little book that has higher levels of you can train further. It’s compact to carry around and to just whip one out, I really enjoy doing the focus games with my pup while out walking!”
The theory is that your dog is motivated by an instinctual drive and the squeaky noise is not unlike the sound of prey that’s frightened or injured. When the squeak stops, your dog has successfully killed its prey.
Or maybe there’s another explanation; dogs get an immediate reward from the sound that’s emitted from the toy. The feedback tells them that their bite is effective, thus spurring them on to continue, unlike with a silent toy which doesn’t provide the same gratification.
We all know what it’s like when a dog is obsessed with a squeaky toy and it can drive us nuts, until, in the end, we take it away, much to the disappointment of the dog.
Not all Dogs love a Squeak
With our dogs, we have to be very careful. Tilly absolutely loves a squeaky toy. Archie and Jack aren’t bothered one way or the other, but Toby dislikes them intensely. More than that, they actually upset him.
He is not particularly sound sensitive. He loves the sound of a clicker! Thunder or fireworks don’t bother him in the slightest, but anything that squeaks or beeps will have him running for cover.
We once took him to agility classes and at first, he did well until another dog in his class came along with a squeaky toy. That was the end of it for Toby. He couldn’t concentrate and he spent the whole time cowering behind our legs.
When Tilly was confined to her crate after her surgeries, we gave her a fluffy lamb to keep her company, but first, it had to be operated on to remove the squeaker. We couldn’t risk traumatising Toby.
When new toys arrive in the warehouse, we are very wary about testing the squeak and usually wait until Toby is out of earshot otherwise he’ll be upset and fearful for hours.
It’s not that he doesn’t like toys, he loves the treat dispensers, especially Starmark and of course, KONG. Then there’s his all-time favourite, the Puller, but anything that makes a noise is a no-no for him.
It’s a good idea to take the time to find out what toys your dog likes and dislikes and what stimulates or comforts them. A squeaky toy can be a great motivator and grab your dog’s attention, thereby making an excellent training tool but beware it doesn’t have the opposite effect.
Regular Checking of Toys is a Must
Supervision with a squeaky toy is advised especially with dogs that get overstimulated easily. Squeaky play should be confined to short sessions and ask your dog to do something like sit or down before rewarding them with the toy.
Squeaky toys can be fun but inspect them regularly to make sure they are not damaged and that your dog doesn’t have access to the squeaking mechanism, which could become a choking hazard.
If you discover their favourite squeaky toy is damaged, then repair it or replace it with a new one.
The Ultimate Squeak
If you have a squeaky-obsessed dog, The Petsafe Ricochet is an excellent choice. These paired toys will have your dog going back and forth chasing the squeak. Tilly was enthralled with them but sadly cannot play with them in our home!
Petsafe Ricochet: The ultimate squeak
The Thrill of the Chase or Food Fun
For those, like us that have a dog who is upset by a squeak, here are Toby’s Top Tips for squeaky-free fun:
Back in 2002, we were the confused owners of five German Shepherds. Their behaviour was appalling and we were losing control. Every morning we would take them to the nearby army ranges for their morning walk. We found ourselves going earlier and earlier in the hope that we wouldn’t meet other dog walkers because if we did, it would turn into utter chaos.
We realised we needed to do something about the situation and we consulted dog behaviour expert, Angela Stockdale of The Dog Partnership. Her advice was ‘they need a curfew‘. We were even more confused if we didn’t take them out, how would they get the exercise they needed? They would become even worse, surely.
We decided to put our scepticism aside and follow her advice. For three months we didn’t take them out for walks. Their stress levels that had been escalating day on day during the walk, began to come down.
Life without walkies
But you can’t just stop walking your dog and leave it at that. The morning walk had to be replaced with some other activity. For us it was clicker training and to say it was a life-saver is not an exaggeration. We scheduled short five-minute sessions several times a day, individually for each dog. It enabled us to get to know each one of them far better, learn their strengths and weaknesses, what motivated them and what bored them.
In no time at all, they weren’t rushing to the front door at 5 am, barking and waking the whole neighbourhood. They were more relaxed. When it came to training sessions, we did various different things with each of them. We had a lot of glass doors and when one was doing their training session, the others would watch.
Molly (left) does the tango with Fin
Molly, who was a timid girl, learned to dance and her confidence grew. Fin, who was our newest rescue, learned some manners and how to behave around ladies!
Amy on her skateboard
Amy who was frankly a bit of a thug diverted her attention to skateboarding.
Amy (left) and Sophie at the top of the stairs
Sophie was a master of the KONG. She would empty it of every last crumb by taking it to the top of the stairs and dropping it down.
Blitz with his beloved Jolly Ball
Blitz, our first rescue boy who was a real gentleman, loved the Jolly Ball and would spend ages playing with it on his own. Both him and Fin mastered the peek-a-boo trick (see our What Makes You Click Training Cards for this trick) and many others.
Did it work?
So, what was the result of our three-month curfew? We had calmer, better-behaved dogs that we knew as individuals. They could entertain us and show off their tricks which they really enjoyed. Who doesn’t enjoy praise for a job done well? It was time well spent and we were able to gradually reintroduce them to the outside world.
You will need lots of tasty Training Treats which we have in abundance, or why not make your own. Most people have a tin of tuna, flour and eggs in the house. This recipe will get you up and running in no time: Tillies Tuna Cake Recipe.
Tillies Tuna Cake Recipe
Snuffle Mats are becoming an increasingly popular game for dogs and cats. If you fancy a challenge how about making your own Snuffle Mat to keep them entertained when you’re flagging. An old doormat and some t-shirts should suffice to complete this excellent tutorial from the Dogs Trust.
Make your own Snuffle Mat
Learn to love the curfew
Your dogs may not be badly-behaved and in need of a curfew, but it has been forced on us all and we have an opportunity to really make the best of it by embracing it and spending quality time with our furry friends. You never know, both dog and owner could learn something new.
What do you do when you’ve got a sick or injured pet? What if they’re on cage rest? What if they are doomed to wear the cone of shame? We have been faced with this problem for weeks now.
But it’s not only that, what if they’re home alone or the weather is bad? How do you entertain a bored pet?
Exercise their brain!
For a dog on cage rest as our Tilly was after her elbow arthroscopy, wearing a cone to protect her stitches, life was very miserable and we feared for her mental wellbeing. Not only that but two weeks into her confinement, her spay scar became infected, so she was double coned and confined for a further two weeks.
Tricks and Tips
How did we cope? Well, we had two large dog crates which were situated in the main parts of the house so that wherever we were, she could be nearby. She had a soft toy with her at all times, but that had to be operated on to remove the squeakers. Toby hates squeakers and she was driving him crazy!
A well-stuffed KONG always proves popular!
Due to the amount of space available, we decided to use smaller treat toys to entertain her. She couldn’t have coped with the puzzle toys in such a restricted environment. Our go-to toy for most occasions is the KONG. Stuffed to the gills with tasty treats, what dog could resist? And you can always freeze it for longer-lasting play. You simply can’t go wrong with a KONG!
At first, Tilly found this difficult and it lay untouched in her crate, but by removing a treat and letting her get a taste of it, she was motivated to try for herself and eventually got the hang of it. Now it’s one of her favourite evening challenges.
Thirdly was an old favourite, the Lotus Ball. This is a very simple toy and probably better suited to retrieving, but for Tilly, it contained another little treat for her to extract and keep her mind active. To make it more appealing, we boosted it up with a jackpot treat, Davies Puffed Jerky. Our dogs go wild for it.
Lotus Ball and Puffed Jerky
If your dog is not restricted space-wise, there are numerous puzzle toys to keep them entertained. If you haven’t tried one before it’s best to start with something straightforward as you will find they are easily discouraged if they can’t get the hang of it. A great starter toy is the Nina Ottosson Dog Smart.
Nina Ottosson Dog Smart
Another simple toy is the Lick n Snack Platter which gives them an instant win, plus licking can have a calming effect on your dog. Great as a feeding bowl, too.
There are games to suit all levels: from top left, K9 Pursuits Interactive IQ Game Watson, Trixie Lick n Snack Platter, middle, K9 Pursuits Multi Maze Slow Feeder, bottom left, Dogit Mind Games Interactive Dog Toy and the Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Interactive Toy
Or your dog may prefer soft toys, so why not make these interactive too? If they’re not treat motivated but love a squeak, what about the Puzzle Plush Hide A Squirrel. Three furry gremlins to remove from their tree trunk nest.
Alternatively, there is the Sniffing Blanket Strategy Game, which has multiple hiding places for treats and small toys. Excellent for the keen forager.
Some dogs prefer soft toys like the Puzzle Plush Hide a Squirrel or the Sniffing Blanket Strategy Game
You may find something above that you think is suitable for your dog but if not we have plenty more to choose from in our Interactive Play section or even our Treat-Dispensing Toys. And don’t forget the all-important Dog Treats to accompany your strategy games.
Keeping Cats Occupied
If your cat is confined to a crate for any reason here are some tips and tricks:
Keep the crate super clean, changing water and blankets regularly.
Ensure the crate is in an area in the house where the family spends most of their time to prevent loneliness and boredom.
Keep some toys in the crate, perhaps infused with catnip, or dangling through the bars for entertainment. Swap the toys from time to time to give your cat something new to play with.
Have a regular routine so your cat knows what to expect and when. At night half cover the outside of the crate with a blanket.
Talk to your cat or play music or the TV so there is some background noise.
A cat pheromone spray may also help to calm and de-stress anxious cats.
From left to right Snack Mouse Treat Dispensing Toy for Cats, FroliCat CHEESE Automatic Cat Teaser, Cat Activity Fun Board Interactive Toy
There are a wide variety of enrichment toys available to keep your feline active and prevent boredom. There are self-play toys such as the FroliCat CHEESE Automatic Cat Teaser. Useful when they are home alone.
Then there are interactive toys that are designed to strengthen the bond between you and your cat. The Cat Activity Fun Circle Interactive Toy is a game you can enjoy together, which is also suitable for older or sick pets and provides different activities on two different sides.
Take a look at our full range of Cat Strategy Games to find something to keep your kitty fully engaged.
So, do you know if your cat is bored? Take a look at this excellent article, Is Your Cat Bored? 10 Ways to Prevent Boredom, which explains how you can tell and provides some interesting ideas for enriching your cat’s environment.
Horses Need Enrichment Too!
The Likit Boredom Breaker for Horses with Likit Refills in 4 delicious flavours
In a 24-hour period, a lot of equines will only have a few hours of mental and physical human engagement so boredom vices can set in. Enrichment toys can provide welcome relief for them and hung in the stable, the Likit Boredom Buster will do just that. Developed to provide environmental enrichment, this challenging stable toy is designed to get horses to work for their reward and there are four scrumptious Likit Treat flavours to choose from (available separately).
Enrichment provides a way to stimulate a horse’s natural instincts and is crucial to their overall wellbeing. By engaging these instincts, they can become healthier, happier equines.
Stock up and be prepared
In summary, ensure that your pets have a well-stocked chest with a wide variety of toys and games for both physical and mental stimulation. You can’t make every minute of your pet’s life exciting, but you can go a long way to keep their boredom at bay!
Happy Cat Month is a time to celebrate our feline companions by showing them extra love and attention. Using this time as an excuse to focus on positive reinforcement for our cats is a great way to promote their happiness and show appreciation for their company. In honour of Happy Cat Month, we’ve teamed up with Sainsbury’s Bank and listed a few tips for pampering your pet that you can find below.
A great gift for the playful cat is cat agility weave poles. These fun toys are simple to use as you can set up them up as an obstacle course for your cats to manoeuvre around.
Train your cat to weave
Gifting your feline friend with new toys is not only fun for them but stimulates their minds. A catch the mouse game is perfect for the cat who loves to mess around.
A game of cat and mouse
Rewarding them with homemade goodies for when they are on their best behaviour is another thoughtful gift idea. Consider making them a yummy personal cat cake filled with chicken. We’ve included the recipe below!
Gifts for pets:
Finding that perfect gift is never easy but here are some ideas that may put you on the scent to finding something to satisfy even the most discerning feline or pampered pup!
For more tips on how to show appreciation for your furry friends, check out Sainsbury’s Bank guide that’s full of unique pet gift ideas.
When the new Ricochet Electronic Dog Toy landed on our doorstep, we couldn’t wait to give it a try. It is, in fact, two toys. As your dog plays with one of the interactive paired toys, a fun and exciting squeak sound is heard from the other toy. When your dog rushes to investigate the second toy, the sound bounces back to the first toy, hence the name. It will keep your dog entertained ping-ponging between the two units trying to capture that illusive squeak!
The Ricochet is made of hard plastic with rubber top
Tilly is a keen tester
We chose Tilly to be the chief tester because she loves squeaky toys. We took her out to the field where we could hide the toys in the grass.
She was a little confused at first and couldn’t quite grasp what was going on, but after a few minutes, she got the hang of the game and was dashing back and forth between one and the other and attempting to round them up!
You can see how she got on with our video of her first encounter.
While not a chew toy, the Ricochet is durable enough for intense play. Change up the game by hiding one of the toys behind furniture or in a nearby room. The toys have a range of up to 30 feet. When your dog is done for the day, it will automatically turn off after 60 minutes of non-interaction to conserve the battery life.
Hide and Squeak – The PetSafe® Ricochet Electronic Dog Toy features 2 paired toys that will have your dog bouncing back and forth as he tries to catch a “moving” squeak sound
Surprise Sound – The PetSafe® Ricochet is perfect for single-dog households; when your dog interacts with one of the toys, the other toy makes a squeak sound from up to 30 ft. away
Automatic Exercise – Dogs will love to chase the squeak between the toys, and you will love knowing your dog is staying active
Mental Stimulation – The moving squeak provides a fun puzzle for your dog, as the sound is never where he expects it
Free from Stuffing – The PetSafe® Ricochet has no stuffing or fabric to tear, making it a no-mess toy
Long-Lasting Play – Playtime with the Ricochet lasts up to a month of daily use; both toys turns off after 60 minutes of no activity to save battery life
One-Year Warranty – The PetSafe® Ricochet is backed by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
When we first came across KONG Dog Toys, which must be twenty years ago now, they didn’t look like the most exciting dog toy we had ever seen. In fact, probably like a lot of people, we saw them as a tough chew toy with an erratic bounce. Our dogs just weren’t that interested.
How wrong can you be?
The secret to the Classic, Puppy, Senior, Extreme, and indeed the Kitty KONG, is that it’s a hollow rubber receptacle for all sorts of doggy, or feline delights. It has holes at both ends, one large and one small. The key KONG ingredient is the stuffing. That’s what makes it so special and so very useful.
The inside of a KONG
Let your dog, or cat, in on the secret
Firstly, you need to get your dog or cat interested in it. Once they understand what it’s all about they will not only want it but love it. To begin with, you just need to fill it with a couple of their favourite treats. Something they really enjoy, that they can smell, and that will easily slip out of the large opening. Try this for a few days. Don’t hand them their favourite treat, put it in a KONG and let them get it out themselves.
As soon as they understand that this ‘toy’ is the bearer of delicious snacks, they will start to get excited as soon as they see it.
You can work on this, gradually stuffing the KONG with other delights and making it a tad more difficult for the dog to get out. Make them work for it. Plug the small hole at the bottom with peanut butter (check it’s Xylitol free) or cream cheese and then fill with a variety of treats. Leave a longish chew sticking out to get them started.
A fully loaded KONG
Eventually, you could dispense with your food bowl and feed them their meals in the KONG. You can also freeze the filled KONG which is great for hot sunny days; a KONG Popsicle, or to make them longer lasting.
It can take your dog a couple of hours to fully empty the KONG and lick the peanut butter or maybe liver pâté from the bottom so they are perfect to extend play-time and can help distract them if they suffer from separation anxiety.
Problem behaviours can be helped with a KONG
Feed their minds
An excellent enrichment toy. They are perfect boredom busters if they are confined to a crate, hopefully, cut down on chewing and stimulate them mentally at the same time. We had one dog, Sophie, who was KONG mad. She had developed a foolproof method of getting every last grain from her KONG toy. She would take it to the top of the stairs and drop it. As it bounced down the steps the treats would come tumbling out and she would snaffle them up!
It’s important to get the correct size for your dog so do check out the detailed KONG size chart before purchasing. And take another look at this seemingly simple KONG toy, now that you know how to unlock its secrets.
It’s important to get the right size for your dog. If in doubt, size up.
You may also like our short video on how to stuff a KONG, and you can find plenty of inventive KONG stuffing recipes at BARKTHINK, or maybe your cat may be partial to a Kitty KONG stuffed with bacon and eggs?
Sit back and be amazed at how your much your dog loves its KONG. And the good news for us humans is that when they’ve emptied it, we can stick it in the dishwasher.
But of course, your cat can benefit from a KONG in the same way your dog does. Cats go absolutely crazy over the Kitty KONG once they learn to use it; it’s an excellent way to keep your cat occupied and challenged.
The original and the best KONG
The KONG range
Since their original and we think best ever invention, the KONG Company have branched out and now do a wide range of enrichment toys for dogs and cats. See our full range of exciting and innovative KONG products here.
We have a wide range of KONG products, both new and old favourites
As the clock struck midnight on the New Year, instead of knocking back champers, we were wrapped up in bed with a Lemsip! We had succumbed to the virus that seemed to be sweeping the nation and it made life with a lively puppy just that bit tougher.
Toby was, of course, adorable but on top of that he was hard work. We have had many puppies in the past but as they grow, you quickly forget the bad bits!
Lack of sleep, they like to wake early, taking them outside (in bad weather) every half an hour, trying to stop them chewing, especially electric cables that you never noticed before and keeping those needle sharp teeth out of your flesh! Not to mention the feeding four times a day! It’s a full-time job and not for the faint hearted.
We are very lucky in that we work from home so we could be with him 24/7. Heaven knows how people cope when they have to go out to work.
A dog crate was an essential piece of kit, especially for those much needed moments of respite and invaluable overnight. Clicker training helped to calm him down and focus his mind for short periods, often leaving him needing a nap and us with some breathing space. We tried out plenty of toys and he loved most of them, but not for long enough. His attention soon returned to chewing rugs, furniture or shoes, that someone had foolishly left lying around.
Two other problems we encountered were sheep poo, and Jack our Border Collie. The field we walk them in has recently been vacated by our pregnant ewes and there was plenty to interest him. We couldn’t get his nose off the ground and quickly taught him a “leave” command, which works about 30% of the time. Jack was a bigger challenge – whereas both Archie and Daisy have welcomed new pups before, this is Jack’s first one. He didn’t react very well and although the 2 shepherds would tolerate Toby, Jack was very snappy.
We tried to work this through by taking them out to one of our large sheds and training them together. Jack realised that being with Toby meant positive things rather than negative.
To a certain extent this has calmed the problem and Jack’s snapping seems to be much more ‘warning’ than intent. Toby does heed those messages when he isn’t hyper-excited, and more often than not, Jack prefers to move away rather than getting involved. We still have work to do, but we are happy with the progress so far.
Despite all of the above, Toby has been an absolute joy. He is so bold, intelligent, quick to learn and entertaining and he’s certainly taught us a thing or two. Last week he started his clicker class and we were very proud of him. He behaved beautifully. But we won’t be resting on our laurels, there is homework to be completed and we are well aware that once he gets comfortable in the new training environment, he may not be quite so polite and well mannered.
Pictured below are the items we found most useful for Toby:
Toby loves the Everlasting Treat Ball
The treat-filled Tuggy is a hit!
Toby with the Puller
Perfect for controlled walking
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Smithy Croft, Strichen, Fraserburgh, AB43 6SL. United Kingdom