The Dog Days of Summer

Or is that the ‘The Lazy Days of Summer’? I am not good at expressions, but as the owner of two working Border Collies, a breed known for their high levels of energy and intelligence, there is nothing lazy about my summer. And the same is true for many, many of my clients, no matter what their breeds or mixes.

My dogs work with wild Canada geese and their management, and wild geese are seasonal animals, and this is their season for having and raising families. My dogs and I respect their privacy during this time, so I have to find other ways to spend their excess indoor energy and need for entertainment.

photo by Dorene Olson

Being of low energy levels due to a prolonged spell of ill health, which also leaves me unable to walk, run or bike my dogs, I have employed many of the tactics that I have shared with my many clients over the years.

An inventive, energy-saving tactic (aka “lazy”) is to put away the food bowls and feed both or all meals out of puzzle toys. Kong toys and their side kicks are long time favorites, and many wonderful recipes and ideas for stuffing Kong’s with your dog’s meal and accompanying treats and other ideas can be found on the Kong toy website. There are now many other companies that have created marvelous puzzle toys, such as the Premier company, but a brief google search will reveal many more. They include toys that slow down or make difficult picking up and eating kibble, thus prolonging the enjoyable and interactive aspect of eating, and natural items, such as sterilized or raw, meaty bones. There are controversial opinions about those, so if in doubt, discuss them with a knowledgeable, experienced dog person or your veterinarian. NEVER feed cooked bones, they can splinter and lodge in and/or perforate your dog’s intestines.

Training and play games can be incorporated into these feeding ideas. Teaching “take it” and “leave it” is easy with this, and naming toys (“find your BONE, find your KONG, find your BALL” etc) can challenge your canine companion’s intellect, teach new house-hold words, and make eating a two-in-one endeavor. Hide and seek is one of my dog’s favorites. They have to hold a Sit Stay while I hide their puzzle toys, meal toys, and treats and cookies/snacks etc all over the house. When they are released, they find then take their trophies in a pile and are busy for ages, leaving me alone and with “flat dogs” (tired dogs who lay down napping and are not nagging me).

Enjoy the pictures of Ancient Quill and Youngster Penndragon (“Penn” to all his friends) enjoying one of their evening suppers!

One thought on “The Dog Days of Summer

  1. We agree with Doreen that the best bones for dogs are raw. We carry a full line of raw bones as well as interactive dog toys to help “expend” some of that pent up energy. Also remember to give your pets tepid cool water as ice water can harm them.