Monday, March 10, 2014

Cheapass Dog Fun: Play Mat Stay Mat

Brisbane's Ruffwear portable bed makes an awesome mat for practicing games like the ones I found in Control Unleashed. The idea is to teach the dog to lay down on the mat and stay there. Brisbane gets very excited about racing to his mat and sprawling on it, Ru occasionally decides to participate. Before we started playing these games, I kept the Ruffwear bed in the car for convenience. After we started using it for training games, I briefly considered buying a second one.

To be honest, I bought Brisbane's Ruffwear bed on clearance for 50% off. I was lucky to find it, and I really don't need to spend $70 for something to throw down on my floor for a few minutes of training. An old towel or a throw rug would do the trick, but I found something more fun.

I love thrift stores, and we have some amazing ones nearby. Something I often see an abundance of is baby play mats. They come in a delightful array of shapes and themes, always in bright colors. They are lightly padded and easy washable. I'm pretty sure these things come as part of a baby gym set, with doodads that suspend toys over the kid, or pillows to prop them up on their tummies. They never have these when I see them at the thrift stores though, the mat is the sad remnant of a once elaborate baby toy...or something.

At any rate, these mats are easy to find, cheap or free, and a lot of fun to play with. They apparently make decent ultralight pet beds, when I toss on on the floor it is likely to collect a dog or cat within a minute or two. Play mats are probably not as durable as the Ruffwear bed, and they probably collect a lot more dirt and crud outdoors, but they are also easy to replace. They're pretty cute, too.

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