Well, today marks the last day of NaBloPoMo, and I know that you want to hear about my dog. Who doesn’t want to hear about my dog?
As the days have been getting shorter and it’s been getting darker, I have to admit that Daphne has been getting less exercise and stimulation. In the fall, I could come home from work and take her to run in the woods, where she could frolic and sniff around to her heart’s delight; now, I’m nervous that it will get dark out before we make it back to the car, or that she’ll find delicious evening animals like porcupines and skunks.
So the question became: what can we do to keep her entertained? A couple of things are to play with her more in the yard and around the house, and to take her for more leash walks around the neighborhood. But my new favorite thing is our new way of feeding her.
This was inspired by our friends’ dog, who eats the food that they toss outside on the ground for her. It slows down her eating and gets her to forage a little, using at least SOME mental energy. It was also inspired by Shiva’s mad skills at a Nina Ottosson toy. You can do this at home with very little effort, folks! The only downsides are: 1. a dog who drools while she watches you set it up, and 2. drool spots on the floor from where your dig licks up the kibbles.
First, collect some empty cups; we used six paper cups.
Second, make sure you have someone to supervise; it keeps things interesting.
(“Is this dog food?! I LOVE dog food!”)
Next, measure out the appropriate amount of food. Daphne gets around 1 1/2 cups.
Divide food evenly between all cups.
This is the point where I usually send Daphne to her crate, and then stack up the cups to bring in to the other room. Truman is very helpful in this process.
Daph waits… uh… patiently? Eagerly is a better term. I’m not sure you can see the drool in this picture.
Truman helps her with the kibbles.
Watch the whole thing in the 30-second video below!
Right now she just nudges the cups over and pushes them along the floor to get the food out. It usually takes her about 20 seconds to eat a cup and a half of kibble out of her food dish; this process takes her about 5 minutes, which is a fantastic improvement. I’m not sure where to go from here, though. Some ideas were to put out some empty cups, or to hide the cups around the house, but I’m worried she would forget them, we would forget them, and we’d find dog food on the floor months later.
What do you do to keep your beasts entertained as it gets colder and darker outside?