Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Paw5 Enriched Life Challenge Day 2: The Unstuffaball!

Today is the second day of Paw5's Enriched Life Challenge. Paw5 has challenged dog owners everywhere to make their pets' lives even more awesome through the use of enrichment of all kinds. This five-day challenge comes with some suggested games and schedules to keep dogs happily engaged throughout the day. I love all the plans and ideas, but they are a little difficult to follow for those of us that must leave our pets home during the workday. I am adapting the Enriched Life Challenge to fit my own schedule, and I've included my indoor cats because I think they can benefit too!

We all started the day with a little bit of sensory and environmental enrichment, because it RAINED last night! This is big news here in drought-stricken southern California, we haven't seen rain in nearly nine months. It was really incredible to walk outside to find everything wet, and the rain brings up an amazing range of smells.
Toy and puzzle enrichment with SodaPup's Cantoy
Photo by Erin Koski


Ru got some puzzle toy enrichment today, in the form of a peanut butter stuffed Can Toy just his size, from Soda Pup. Ru doesn't usually go to work on the sheep ranch with me, so I feel he gets significantly less enrichment than my working dogs. He usually stays with my mother during the day though, and today he got some social enrichment with two little boys who come for piano lessons. 


Today was a big day at the ranch for Zip and I, we moved and sorted a flock of 40 sheep! This was our biggest task so far, and it really wore Zip out. Herding sheep takes a ton of brainpower. Today's task was a giant chunk of sensory, environmental, and training enrichment. Go Zip!

knotted fabric puzzle

One of the DIY projects Paw5 suggested for the Enriched Life Challenge is called the knotted fabric puzzle, however I have renamed it the Unstuffaball. This homemade toy hits that sweet spot between a pull toy, and just unstuffing a stuffy. For this project you need some fabric that can be cut up, and some sort of ball with holes in it. A Holee Roller is ideal. 

Cut the fabric into strips, tie knots in some of them, and then cram then in the ball. That's all there is
to it. I used some fleece that I had around, cut into strips of varying lengths and thickness. Some I tied big knots in, some got knotted up together, and some I left untied. I cut enough to stuff the ball pretty tightly.

Paw5 suggested adding some treats to make pulling the strips out of the ball more rewarding, but Godzilla thought this toy was amazing without any food required. I think tugging all the fabric out of this ball may have been more fun for her than unstuffing a plush toy.
Unstuffaball DIY pull toy
This toy was much more engaging than our many toys that can be stuffed inside other toys. It really seemed to hit that destuffing sweet spot. Cleanup was also super easy, I just rounded up all the strips, stuffed them back in the ball, and put it away for next time.

Making this toy was incredibly easy, and Godzilla loved it so much that I am now looking for other ball-with-holes toys in order to make more of these. The Unstuffaball provided all the joy of shredding and disemboweling a stuffy, with none of the mess.

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