Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Paw5 Enriched Life Challenge Day 3: Beach!

Today is Day 3 of the Enriched Life Challenge, Paw5's challenge to dog owners to make their pets' lives even better! They've given us six categories of enrichment to add to our days, and some neat plans and DIY ideas. This five-day event is all about games, toys, and adventures. I am also including my cats in the challenge, because kitties need enrichment too!

The dogs and I had a big outing today, we visited Petco, the beach, and took Godzilla to the vet. We met up with my friend Liz, did some training in the backyard, and learned that Godzilla has a paradoxical reaction to Valium. Such fun!
Environmental Enrichment
Photo by Erin Koski


Ru doesn't get to go on as many outings as the girls, so I was pleased to be able to bring him along. We stopped at Petco to pick up some more Cats Incredible litter, and Ru got to hang out with one of his favorite people. Ru and Liz are always cold, they both love sweaters and electric heating pads. Liz says Ru is her spirit animal.

Ru and I also worked on his tiny repertoire of tricks. He can sit, sit pretty, stand on his hind legs, and spin in a circle to the left. I've been trying to teach him to circle to the right as well, but he is very, very slow to catch on. We've been at it for about eight months now. Teaching him to spin to the left took about six months.
Toy and environmental enrichment


Zip thoroughly enjoyed our pet store visit and trip to the beach. She was also happy to see Liz, who she has only seen a handful of times so far. Zip was all about chasing a ball on the beach, though she did go for a swim.

Though she's not terribly food motivated, Zip will do absolutely anything for a tennis ball or a disc. This makes training slow, thoughtful behaviors a challenge, because she's often so amped up about the toy that she can't really think. I've been working with her on offering behaviors to get me to throw the ball. This evening we worked on front and rear foot targeting on large platforms, and also running between a pair of weave poles. Zip does a whole lot of zooming around, but occasionally she gets a flash of inspiration and actually offers a behavior. Hooray for progress!
Toy and training enrichment


Today Godzilla was supposed to get her hips and spine x-rayed. The vet wanted her to be nice and relaxed, so she was prescribed some Valium to be given before the appointment. Today we learned that Valium does not make Godzilla relaxed at all. Instead, it turns her into an uninhibited wrecking ball. The vet staff knew as soon as we walked in the door that Godzilla would not be getting an x-ray today, as she was just as wired and ready for action as ever. 

While the medication did not remotely diminish her drive or enthusiasm, it did make her extremely uncoordinated. She was merrily crashing into furniture and falling off things until confined for her own protection. She stole and shredded an entire bag of treats out of my purse, attempted to steal or shred everything else in reach, and forgot about housetraining briefly. I made her and Zip each an Unstuffaball so they could get their fill of destruction.

The Hellions

James and Solstice got some training enrichment today. They're extremely slow learners, and haven't quite figured out how to move from one newly-installed cat shelf to another. I've been patiently coaxing them along with spoonfuls of canned food, but they'd probably be more motivated if I just put some breakable stuff up there.


Today the dogs all got some environmental and social enrichment on our trip to the beach with Liz. Ru, Zip, James, and Solstice each got some individual training enrichment. Godzilla and Zip had a round of their new favorite destruction toy enrichment. Godzilla...had a very interesting day.

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