Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dogs need play to prevent boredom and these Hide-a-Squirrel toys fit the bill (photos, videos)

Do you ever feel frustrated with the amount of play your dog gets? If you do you aren’t alone. Many pet owners worry that their dog isn’t getting the type of stimulation needed to not only keep a healthy body, but a healthy mind as well. It can be difficult for those who are home all day to ensure their dog is receiving adequate stimulation, let alone those who work and leave their beloved pets home alone. Keeping your dog’s mind active and stimulated is key in preventing boredom, and trust me, dogs can easily become bored. 

Boredom can mean more for a dog than moping around the house or apartment without anything fun to do. It is often an underlying cause of behavioral issues.

A bored dog can act out in ways that most homeowners will find displeasing. Take into consideration that wild dogs spend the majority of their time on the go, whether they are hunting for prey or looking for food, they are active, running and using their brain power to accomplish their tasks. Wild dogs spend hours chasing creatures and honing their hunting skills. While we have domesticated our pets, and many are living a life of luxury compared to their wild cousins, this doesn’t mean that they are enjoying their time spent leisurely around the house.  

 Many dogs are anxiously looking for the next activity and if they aren’t given something fun to do, they will create their own entertainment. Keep in mind that specific dogs have been bred for certain activities and you’ll get a clearer picture of how easily your dog can become bored. Dogs are powerful and amazing creatures. They have been bred to perform and accomplish tremendous tasks. Some breeds are herders while others are retrievers. Just these characteristics alone can set a dog up for a life of boredom, if he or she is not given ample opportunity to utilize these traits and skills. Most dogs relied heavily upon great problem solving skills in the wild, and are known for using their minds to get out of situations. If a dog is spending a great deal of time home alone, and without adequate stimulation, he or she will find ways to entertain him or herself. These dogs are easily bored and at risk for developing depression.

You might find that you have a dog that likes to chew up furniture, shoes, tear paper or clothing. A dog that isn’t getting adequate exercise might excite easily and become a jumpy dog. You might arrive home from work tired, and find your dog nearly knocks you down at the front door. While this is a sign of affection, it’s also a sign that your dog has too much energy from being cooped up all day. By providing your dog with adequate exercise and fun, playful activities and games, you can avoid many of the negative behaviors associated with boredom.

One easy and great way to prevent your dog from becoming bored and running the risk of him or her from developing future, behavioral problems is to provide stimulating games. Hide and seek is an excellent game dogs can play. This game is very similar to the activities they are used to in the wild. Even if your dog has never spent a day in the wild, the characteristics and traits are still in his or her nature. Dogs naturally want to chase animals, seek them out and catch them.

There are several variations for playing Hide and Seek with dogs. You can take one of your dog’s favorite toys, such as a bone or stuffed animal, and then hide the dog. If you use a command when playing with your dog, you’ll be surprised at how quickly he or she truly becomes engaged in the game. Use a word like “Seek” or “Find” and play with your dog while he or she looks for the item.
You can play Hide and Seek with your dog in a yard or large area, or in a small, closed in area such as an indoor room. In the yard, you can run with your dog, while you continually remind him or her of the command to seek and find the hidden item. Not only is playing like this with your dog fun, but it helps strengthen your relationship as pet and pet owner. There is no better way to bond with your dog then to play with him or her in a fun, friendly atmosphere and by offering plenty of love, affection and praise.

Never should you scold your dog for not finding an item or object during hide-and-seek. This is a time to have fun and play. If you are negative during play time, then your dog will become stressed and anxious. All of the positive benefits of play will be replaced with negative aspects and it won’t be an enjoyable experience for anyone. All dogs are different and like people, their abilities vary from one to the next. Some dogs may be better at hide and seek than other dogs. That’s okay. Just praise your dog and let him or her know that you love them and enjoy spending time with them, regardless of whether they “find” the item every time. However; you should always use positive reinforcement when your dog does find the item. This can be in the form of lots of love, praise, pats, or a treat. The more you reward your dog for his or her positive behavior, the more your dog will want to continue to please you.

Hide and seek is an interactive toy that provides fun stimulation for your dog’s brain. A dog that has been suffering from boredom will quickly show the benefits of playing in a fun, healthy and interactive manner. While hide and seek can easily be played with the owner and the pet, it can also be played by the dog alone.

Kyjen through Outward Hound has created a wonderful product called the Hide-a-Squirrel squeak toy. The toy consists of a large, plush tree stump with cut out holes and stuffed squirrels that squeak. You can place the squirrels in the tree stump and watch as your dog spends hours retrieving the squirrels, playing with them, then returning to the tree stump to search and hunt for more items. The toy has been shown to be very popular and one that has kept many dogs busy for hours. It is said that the continual play can help increase your dog’s IQ.

Most dogs enjoy chasing squirrels in the wild or in the backyard environment. Now, they can enjoy chasing and playing with squirrels in the home setting. As the tree stump features the cut out holes, your dog will enjoy pulling the squirrels out through the stump’s openings then play with them as they continue to squeak. You can play with your dog by repeatedly putting the squirrels back in the stump so that they hide and your dog will need to “seek” them out again. The toys are durable as well as soft, and are designed to stand up to vigorous, repeated play.

The Hide a Squirrel toys come in different sizes such as large, anniversary, ginormous, jumbo and junior. There are three squirrels with the set and you can order additional squirrels if you want. Check out the videos below as well as the photos.

 Hide-a-Squirrel Toys Video


 Hank Gets a New Toy