Category Archives: fun and games

Sharing Playtime with Your Dog (Poem)

By Laurie Darroch

Playtime with your dog is not just playing. Playtime is an ideal time to bond with your canine companion, a chance to continue or reinforce training and a good way to give your dog exercise. Last but not least, playtime is simply a fun way to show your dog you care.

You are, after all, the one they look up to. Your dog trusts you implicitly, and you are who they want to spend time with more than anyone. Take some time each day to play with your dog. Like children, our dogs flourish with positive attention and one-on-one time.

Here’s a poem about playtime, written from a dog’s point of view:

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If Your Dog had One Wish, What Would it Be?

By Langley Cornwell

Pet memes and videos that use anthropomorphism as a comedic vehicle always strike my funny bone. In fact, I recently wrote an article on the Best Pet Memes on the Internet and every meme I cited ascribed human thoughts and attitudes to animals.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines anthropomorphism as the attribution of human characteristics or behaviors to that which is not human. As a logophile (lover of words), I was interested to learn that the origins of the word anthropomorphism are derived from the Greek word anthropos – which means human – and morphe – which means form. That makes perfect sense.

Without getting too far off the subject, here’s an interesting little fact. Since the 1600s, scholars have believed that our human tendency to anthropomorphize, while deep-rooted and innate, impedes our true understanding of the world. But if it makes us laugh, hey, isn’t that what it’s really all about?

So I thought it would be fun to ask my friends and family to anthropomorphize right along with me by answering this question: If your dog had one wish, what would it be? The answers were varied but can easily be grouped into a few categories.

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K9 Nose Work: A Dog Sport for All Canines

nose work emeryBy Linda Cole

If there’s one thing all dogs love to do, it’s sniffing out interesting scents. K9 Nose Work is a dog sport that evolved from the drug detection community. It’s an entertaining way to give your pet exercise and mental stimulation as he searches out a variety of scents. From a dog’s point of view, anything that gets his nose wiggling is fun. K9 Nose Work is also a good activity to do at home when your dog is bored.

One can’t help but wonder when watching a dog, what sort of scent has captured his attention. The canine nose is so amazing it can pick up scents we will never be able to smell. My dogs are always pointing their nose to the sky, wiggling their nose excitedly as scents drift by in the wind. Some smells are more interesting than others, which can be seen in their body language.

The creators of K9 Nose Work are professional trainers and certified handlers of detection dogs. The idea came from observing the satisfaction of canines trained to do search and rescue, tracking, and detection work. They wanted a dog sport open to all canines who wanted to participate in an enjoyable game of finding hidden scents. It doesn’t require any special training or athletic ability for either the dogs or the humans.

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Beach Play Ideas for Dogs

beach steve stearnsBy Laurie Darroch

With all the open space, the beach is the perfect place to take your dog for an invigorating outing to get fresh air and exercise. Even in cooler months, the non-water activities at the beach can be a great way to burn off excess dog energy and provide refreshing outdoor play time. If you have kids in your home, this is a fun outing for the whole family and good bonding time with your dog.

During hot weather, pick cooler times of the day to go for a beach outing with your dog. Early mornings or evenings are best on excessively hot days. That’s when the sand is more tolerable for paws to walk on. Going at off times also makes it easier to play on the beach with fewer people there.

Some beaches allow dogs to roam freely. Others require all dogs to be on a leash. You can adapt any of the following activities for play on or off the leash. For play that involves running, if you are not physically able to run yourself, with the use of an extra-long lead instead of a standard shorter leash, your dog can still run and play.

Bring toys that are heavy enough to throw, even if the beach is windy. Include toys that can float if your dog goes in the water to play.

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Fun Activities for High Energy Dogs

high energy dogs carterseBy Laurie Darroch

Highly energetic dogs need ways to channel all their excess energy. Otherwise, they might find more destructive ways to use up their energy, such as destroying your belongings. It’s a good idea to have a variety of fun activities that will help them burn off energy in healthy and productive ways, while keeping their mind stimulated.

Chasing and Fetching

Play active games in the yard or park with your dog. If you have enough space in your home, you can play more subdued forms of these games inside.

Balls are always a favorite toy for high energy dogs; just be sure to get one that is the right size for your dog. A small dog may not be able to handle a large ball and will give up on the activity. A large dog can choke on a ball that is too small. With training, some dogs can even play a dog form of soccer with large balls.

Flying discs such as the classic Frisbee is another favorite. This is a perfect activity for a high energy dog. If trained properly, the activity can even be competitive with other dogs and owners. Running, leaping and learning to catch and return the disc is not only great for an active dog, but a lot of fun for you as well.

Your dog might find bubbles fun and fascinating.  You can use the simple bubble wands that release one or two bubbles at a time, or a battery operated bubble blower that shoots multiple bubbles at once to really get your dog running and leaping. Your high energy dog will have a really good time chasing them all over the yard and popping them. Because your dog will catch the bubbles in their mouth, use only non-toxic bubble solution, or make your own safe bubble solution at home.

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The 2014 Internet Cat Video Festival

catvidfest 1By Julia Williams

I’ve never been to Minnesota, but I’ve wanted to go ever since the shopping mecca known as the Mall of America opened. Now I have another reason, a much more compelling one actually, to add this fine state to my travel bucket list – Minneapolis, MN is where the annual Internet Cat Video Festival takes place!

The What??!

Yes, I heard you say that. This is likely what I also thought the first time I heard about the Internet Cat Video Festival, aka Catvidvest. Now I just say … what a great idea! That, and why didn’t someone think of this sooner?  I mean, we all love to watch funny cat videos, right? What could be better than sharing the experience with thousands of other cat people?

catvidfest 3Catvidvest is billed as an “offline celebration of online cat videos.” The live festival offers feline fanatics an opportunity to come together to watch a curated collection of cat clips in a social setting. In other words, the Internet Cat Video Festival provides people like me a much- desired way to “be among my people,” i.e., those who adore cats and aren’t afraid to tell it to the world.

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