Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pup in search of a hobby

I said to Kaytee the other day, "Orent needs a hobby." She said, "What, like collecting stamps?" Clever... But seriously, watching him recently I've noticed that part of being a puppy is being into EVERYTHING. And for a puppy, especially one who has to learn to be a service dog, most of everything is forbidden. Orent's current forbidden interests include:
  • anything on the bed, his kennel, or the nightstand
  • the cat (though, thankfully, he's content to watch most of the time)
  • mouthing people, especially their hands and shorts/skirts
  • licking toes
  • eating rocks, sticks, leaves, and grass
  • splashing in his water bowl
  • chewing cords, laptops, and phones
  • chewing and wrestling with his bed, kennel, and x-pen
  • playing tug of war and keep away with everything
So much of his play time is spent redirecting him to better activities, like:
  • chasing ice cubes
  • chasing his giraffe toy
  • chasing his bone
  • chasing his special stick
  • chasing me
  • chewing toys and bones
  • getting belly rubs
We're very slowly starting to learn "Drop It" which means not every chase ends in an attempt to play keep away or tug of war. But he's also gotten so good at drop it that he'll run halfway to his toy, then turn and sit for a treat. Which makes the play part of playtime less effective. He also gets frustrated when he doesn't get to wrestle, mouth, and tug and will go straight for the nightstand or cords. Because that will often end in some good hands-on attention.

Which all leads me to the conclusion: Orent needs a hobby. He needs a game he loves and is good at that he can play for a while, to help burn off his puppy energy and have a safe, healthy, playful bond with us. I'm hoping that "Drop It" gets better and fetch can become a good Orent game. I know he loves swimming and splashing and so after he gets his final puppy shots maybe swimming in creeks and lakes can be part of his routine. And we're trying to find friends with a yard and hose who will host Orent and a baby pool for some swimming playdates...


  1. We have a yard, and a hose, and a baby pool, so bring it on! Oh, and we have a giant, goofy dog, too, as a bonus. Too bad we don't live closer, but maybe he needs to practice riding in the car.

  2. Can you play with two toys? I know our dogs often stunk at that, but the dog I dog-sit for sometimes does it beautifully and happily for hours. That way, drop it and the subsequent treats don't become an issue because there are no commands, only dog-brain oriented incentives.

  3. @Annie Fetter as soon as you're back in town, let's have a pool party!

    @Rosalie actually, his "Drop It" is getting more reliable. The 2 toys works ok but he's so distractible he completely forgets to bring one back, to chase the other one, etc.