Enrichment

No Walk? Lets Have FUN!

 

These are Special Times…

The Covid 19 crisis has suddenly hit everyone and the guidelines to stay home except for a short time daily have caused those with dogs some challenges. This Blog, whilst very “at this time” focussed actually draws upon guidance and teaching Peaceful Paws has always offered.

From time to time for a variety of reasons we need time out from a daily walk…

  • injury, illness and disability- both dogs and us
  • reactive behaviours
  • being “trggered”
  • weather- both too hot and too cold
  • bitch in season
  • over stimulated from too much household  busyness
  • Firework season
  • special events such as COVID 19 Government instruction

and a variety of other reasons.

IT IS FINE to do something else rather than a traditional walk.  Luckily in the past few years alternatives have been springing up and research and behaviourist advice has created a whole new way of helping dogs ” be dogs”, without having to have a lead, a field, and and hour free. At the end of this blog are a list of wonderful online resources to inspire.

Behaviourist and TTouch therapist Janet Finlay (links below)  suggests that we consider Deconstructing the way we offer a walk in circumstances above. She explains here: https://www.canineconfidenceacademy.com/blog/the-deconstructed-dog-walk

https://www.canineconfidenceacademy.com

https://www.facebook.com/CanineConfidence/

So how can we offer the alternative?

What is the Purpose of a Walk?

  • toileting time
  • exercise (body condition)
  • scenting
  • having fun
  • play
  • learning
  • engaging with their human and other dogs (recommend where possible only family dogs in the Covid crisis, but  make a personal decision on your limit of a tiny risk of cross-contamination)

How can we replicate that at home?

Toileting

Most dogs will toilet in the garden and this is ideal right now, they are likely to have 12-24 hours between access to the outside world which may be too long, particularly for young and older dogs or those with health needs.

Teaching a “go pee” is so helpful. If you dont have it then this is a time to teach. Go in the garden and when they pee/poo have a great reward of fuss and fun and fabulous food  if approriate. As they squat say happily “go pee” when they finish have a party !  It wont take long to have them pee on cue. This is a really helpful cue anyway, its certanly been invaluable on freezing nights or vet trips!

If they only go pee out of the garden begin teaching it out on your walk and then try in the garden , it may take a while but persevere.

All the following ideas should be for a maximum of 5 mins at a time and you can mix and match from each category over a day or week.

Exercise

  • Toy fun, ball throwing, but limit to max of 5 mins to save joint strain. Tug.
  • Chase a brilliant way to revisit recall! Drop a little bit of their food and as they go to eat it , run away and repeat, change direction, hide, call them,  be creative.
  • Stretches –be careful not to over stretch, paws up, spins, leg weaves, play bow peekaboo, allstrethc (think Yoga- there is Real Dog Yoga too!)
  • Obstacle courses – use household items, indoors or out to create, balance, climbing, jumping experiences ( kitchen steps, toddler stools, brooms, cushions, pillows, towels, plant pots garden canes… use your imagination )

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  • Confidence courses – similar, but with a range of novel items to challenge problem solving and boost confidence with novelty, move over, through, under, around a range of objects- as above with novel items such as a bottle maze or a maze from plant pots and canes.
  • Balance – create a course to walk across to support balance, pillows, or wide “planks” on steps ,
  • Tricks that move and stretch the body spins both ways, weave in and out of bottles or chairs, crawl under table or chairs, play bows, head turns from side to side, sit to stand to down (mix it up, only 3-5  a day) paws up , different number of paws in a different  (or the same ) object … front paws, back paws, 3 paws, opposite 1 at front and back , run around an object ( table, box, chair) each way.

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  • Freework A new activity which is used by trainers and therapists at a varity of levels, at its simplest it is the chance for the dog to slow down and just “be”, doggy mindfulness if you like. It gives the chance to stretch and forage and have a calm time. This is Genghis taking time out.

 

 

 

Here is some more information This website is from Sarah Fishers website

https://www.fourpawslearning.co.uk/animal-centred-education.html 

Food search/forage/scavenge – this is an important part of all dogs daily engagement in the environment. One that is much overlooked. This is a long activity and might take 20 mins. It is deeply tiring and rewarding. Set it up and stand back and just let them be a dog.

  • Food plates – find the favourite or novel foods. Get together 10-12 (safe) foods your dog might enjoy including familiar ones but also others. Offer 2 at a time on separate flat trays or plates. Note the first choice. Do for all foods, then narrow down by offering 2 at a time again, until you have the top choices. Use these to encourage engagement.

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  • Muffin tins (then add balls or yoghurt pots or plastic cups to cover the spaces)
  • Hunting – show dog where a few foods are “hidden” in plain sight, help them to find, do it together. Next step “hide” in plain sight and ask “find it” excitedly. Then with dog out of room/space hide and help find then as before “find it”. Do in the same place until skilled and enjoying, anticipating. Then go to a different room, outside etc.
  • Towel – get a small towel or teatowel or soft mat . Put food on it to find and help until they know what to do, then roll a few in and show how to unravel, then make it trickier ! Use in boxes, on trays or roasting tins. Do it at different heights by balancing on a low stool or table.
  • Plant pot (yoghurt pot/ plastic cups/cones) search – get 2/3 pots, put food on or around the pots and encourage engagement. Then put on top of pot, then underneath and show how to get them. Then do just one or 2 leaving some empty. Add a few more pots. Repeat process. Play inside and out as a mix up.
  • Snuffle mats – sink drainer or object with holes, an old tea shirt or fleece blanket. Thread through the holes and knot. Add foods to find, show as above.
  • Holey rollers – balls with holes in, do the same, or just thread rolls of fabric in with food wrapped in.
  • Cabbage fun – hide tiny bits of smelly food, between the leaves of a cabbage or lettuce.
  • Ball pits– small plastic balls – or tennis balls and a container…. A box, a bag for life, food tin.
  • Tent pits , a kids tent contains the balls and the food… use indoors or out.
  • Cardboard tube fun – collect tubes, fold end add food, fold other end. Show how to open, then put in boxes (think of honeycomb shape) to search through or just a few offered.
  • Recycle the recycling – box with safe recycling, cardboard, plastic bottles, put some food in , incuding inside the bottles and just let them have fun.
  • Scatter feed  – a handful of kibble thrown on the floor (patio, grass, kitchen floor) or use a novel container: box, toy box , tent, tunnel, tray
  • Bring the outside in, collect grass, [ebbles, sticks that have engageed them on a walk and make a snufle tray.

 

 

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  • Problem solving – Nina Otteson and Kong commercial games.
    • Developing thinking games- what does your dog like doing? Opening things, shaking things, rolling and fetching.
    • digging for fun very rewarding and great physical exercise. Use a low box or kids sandpit for outside. The under bed boxes are good. A little kids sand. Make sure outside boxes have a lid. It can help to have on a plastic sheet, or a yard area. Add some toys and dry food show them where it is as you bury it, then hide and don’t let them know.
    • Get the treat from the bottle chase, shake , throw, to get to the treat.

Interacting and learning

  • Learn how to use a clicker. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvw2bcGcoDk
  • Tricks and fun – there are endless tricks to learn from paw giving, spins and turns, crawling under, weaving around, to collecting dropped items or emptying the washing or tidying the toys. The internet has so many videos. Look at you tube for Kikopup (Emily Larlham) or Kyra Sundance . Both are excellent.

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  • Fun Learning Games – 3 minute games are fabulous for building working relationships, boredom busters and most need little equipment , just their food. Absolute Dogs have a set of free books with games in – this is a great one.

https://nbn.absolute-dogs.com/optimismrocksbook

https://www.clickertraining.com/101-things-to-do-with-a-box 

Sarah Ellis is a brilliant trick trainer and has so many on her Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/Tricksfortreats/

We mustn’t underestimate the value and importance of calm at this time. For many of our dogs life has changed considerably. Their quiet routine has changed, there is more noise, more movement, more people. This can be a bit overloading! So time out is essential for them to reset. Anyone homeschooling can really relate to how they are feeling right now!  so here is some support for the end of your Deconstructed Walk, the “cool down” .

Relaxing and calming food activities

    • Kongs ( you can use yoghurt pots)
    • LikiMats – there are commercial ones but a silicon pot stand works. Spread with something soft- cream cheese, goats cheese, yoghurt, veg puree, puree chicken broth, baby food, (no onions) , tinned dog food (Cesar or Lilys kitchen is good) , or fresh . A good rinse and a hot wash or dish-wash cleans them thoroughly.
    • Chews (chewing and crunching induces calm hormones) – avoid cheap raw hide , or packaged bones of anything from china, good choices- pigs ears, calf hooves, puzzles, paddywack, chicken feet, dried necks, antlers.
    • just time for themselves in a quiet place . 
    • there is another blog just on this here.
    • https://peacefulpawstherapy.com/2018/03/01/calm-dogs-are-happy-and-healthy-dogs-something-you-dream-of/

FINALLY

There are myriad of amazing places to go for more fun. This list below is not inclusive at all! but will offer lots of ideas.

If you would like some more information about anything DOG please contact me via this website or go to the Facebook page or join the facebook group. I am hoping to add some virtual minicourses soon as amazing offers.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/265698280659182/

https://www.facebook.com/peacefulpawstherapy/

 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/peacefulpawstherapy/posts/

HAVE FUN!

Some internet links

https://www.facebook.com/hiltondogs  

Louise Burton Online Trainer, highly recommended.

https://www.facebook.com/RubyAndBetsyNMiloToo/?hc_location=ufi

Tricks and fun with Ruby

https://www.facebook.com/teamtillycaninecoaching/posts/205480560795791?comment_id=209931567017357&notif_id=1584986177974308&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&ref=notif

fun activities with Tilly

Canine Enrichment: https://www.facebook.com/groups/canineenrichment/

Beyond the bowl: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1747279312231501/

ACE connections: https://www.facebook.com/groups/332134427492077/

Kikopup You Tube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup

School of canine science on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/InTheDoghouseDTC

Canine Confidence Academy, free taster courses:
https://www.canineconfidenceacademy.com/

Brilliant Family Dog, free short courses:
https://www.brilliantfamilydog.com/

Nail maintenance for dogs:
https://www.facebook.com/…/nail.maintenan…/learning_content/

Positive dog husbandry:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/PositiveDogHusbandry/

Dog Training College, check out their free stuff and facebook page:
https://www.dogtrainingcollege.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/dogtrainingcollege/?ref=br_rs

absoluteDOGS:
https://www.facebook.com/absolutedogs/

Animal Education 100 days of enrichment
https://www.facebook.com/groups/226077658280504/

Spiritdog, online challenges
https://www.facebook.com/SpiritDogTrain/

Local to Taunton – virtual classroom with Nic Evans

https://schoolfordogs.teachable.com/p/hillview-level-1

All about us, workshops

NEW! Canine Body Language Workshop

This is the course your Dog wants you to take!!

UPDATE BLACK FRIDAY SALE

29/11/19-2912/19

Taunton        25/01/20     10:00-2:30              

COST   £55         now £35   FOR ONE TICKET            £30 FOR 2 OR MORE BOOKED

Happy L longrun

Would you like to know what it is your dog is saying?   Canine Communication is intricate and fascinating.

This 5*  4.5 hour workshop in conjunction with the Dog Training College is coming to Taunton the only venue in the Somerset, Avon, North Devon area.

Workshop Overview

Learning how to read and interpret subtle body language and facial expression will allow us to understand what a dog is really trying to tell us.

Being able to read a dog will allow you to understand and even predict canine behaviour.

This fascinating subject will open up a whole new way of communicating with your dog that you may not even have realised was possible. You will truly begin to speak dog.

Does a dog lying on its back really want a belly rub?

Is a wagging tail a sign of a happy dog?

Can dogs feel guilt?

This course will begin to answer some of the most misunderstood canine behaviours and as a result will change the way you interact with dogs forever.

Discounts available for Pet Professionals and Rescues.

Also available at special rates for rescues and groups to host.

 

 

Upcoming Events Autumn 2019

Autumn Workshops – Fireworks

flyer 01firework flyer

Autumn Workshops

Following on from the hugely successful Anxious But Awesome and the great feedback from the presenetaions of Canine Body Language and Reative Rascals for the Dog Training College, for whom I am an approved instructor and an approved and licenced  trainer I have devloped a suite of workshops for the Autumn on a range of topics.

They are all suitable for both Pet Guardians and Pet Professionals, everyone is welcome. The sessions are interactive and based upon up to date research and information. They integrate a wide range of holistic training, behaviour and therapeutic approaches from dfferent angles.

All workshops are based in Trull Church Community Centre Taunton Somerset just 10mins from J26 of M5 (Wellington). There is ample parking nearby. Lunch is not provided but Drinks  and snacks will be available.

To find out more please contact me at

Peacefulpawstherapy@gmail.com

The Firework session is Monday 16th September and will look at how to support the dog to feel safer with novel noise (so is suitable for a range of issues around noise). This will include the use of a training plan to work with feeling safer with noise and also a set of activities, exercises and games for settling and calming around the expected noisy times. This wil be supported by information on a range of therapeutic approaches.

For the further Workshops more details will follow.

 

 

Uncategorized

Firework and Seasonal Celebration Support


fireworks

My dog is scared of fireworks (and other noises) and help for other seasonal events

Why do some dogs feel firework fear?

  • For some the noise and also the concussivness of modern fireworks is scary, initiating a biological fear response.
  • This can happen any time with any dog, even if they have been ok before.
  • The “ noise” can physically cause discomfort as the dog is sensitive to the air waves, the ground conclusiveness as well as the sound . Dogs hear 4x the distance we do. They pick up higher frequencies than us and the pitch can be excruciating.
  • They are erratic and unpredictable, both within a specific display and between displays ( which now happen from October to January . They seem to stop and then start up .. often louder or a different sound . it is the unpredictability which is so scary.
  • Dogs who are easily sound spooked are more likely to become firework fearful.
  • Managed Exposure and a programme can help young dogs and puppies manage the range of novel sound better.
  • NEVER “flood” by forcing them to watch
  • The more confident the dog is in the first exposure or in subsequent ones the more “bombroof” they will be. This is true of subsequent events, the happier the dog is the easier they will cope.
  • Dogs who are generally anxious or fearful will cope less well with novel sounds.
  • Dogs with any pain or who are unwell will cope less well .
  • The emotional state in the household around this time also impacts, try to be calm and jolly, if others are responding to the noise fearfully or if there has been stress and anxiety generally could add to the anxiety.
  • What does fear look like ?
    A dogs trust survey found 72% of dogs were adversely affected with 10 % seriously impacted.

What does canine fear and anxiety ( stress) look like?

  •  Lip licking, yawning
  • Panting when no exercise or not over heated
  • Refusing food
  • Being “naughty” or “stubborn” (refusing to listen or obey)
  • Very flighty or over excited, easily goes “over the top”
  • Trembling , shaking or drooling
  • Barking whining howling
  • Clingy, or wanting to hide away
  • Seeking touch when usually not keen to be handled or refusing touch when usually snugly
  • Cowering
  • Being destructive
  • Urinating defecating or vomiting for no obvious cause

Learn to read what is usual for your dog. What is their normal behaviour or response to the environment, what is their default like? Learn to read body language .

How can we help?

You cannot reinforce fear by offering appropriate support, If your dog seeks comfort give it, if they seek solitude enable it with your support .

  • Make sure all health conditions are under control, both physical and emotional , pain can impact fear thresholds . Get a vet check , especially ears.
  • Make a Plan
  • Get the whole family and any friends and neighbours involved. Share the plan so everyone knows .
  • Check up on local displays and note the times and days. Local FB groups can be helpful here. If you know local neighbours always have a party or use them on other winter occasions visit and explain if possible and ask for some warning so you can put your plan into action.
  • Change your walk plan if you usually walk in the evening in the winter. Go during the daylight hours (before 16:00 ) or early morning. If this is not possible then miss walks for a few days around this time – don’t be caught out it could have a detrimental impact.
  • If you have to go out use a double lead on collar and harness in case dogs slips out in their fear and flight. Do not let off lead at all.
  • If you have low gates and fences make sure you go into the garden on a lead … try and get the after dinner poo and pee done early, feed early (or use in games … see below)
  • Try not to leave your dog home alone, if this is not possible then make sure your plan includes how you will enable them to be safe without your support. Or arrange for a sitter who knows the plan
  • Plan for being engaged with your dog on the main display days (this is usually between 17:00 and 23:00 )

What to include in your plan

calm games snuffle box

 

Some music –

Consider a therapeutic option – remember there will be a range of what your dogs may respond to, what works for one will not for another, this is because their emotion is different in each case.

I RECOMMEND A  CHECK WITH A VET: ESPECIALLY  IF YOUR DOG HAS OTHER MEDICATIONS OR CONDITIONS

 

  • Bach rescue remedy – very effective for most animals (including us) it is not necessary to have the more extensive dog version. It works with fear of both known and unknown origin and shock.
    Botanical selections, specifically oils.
  • BE CAREFUL – do not vaporise, do not add to the dog, or its bedding (use a separate cloth the dog can choose to engage with
  • make sure there is an exit.
  • Do not use with children under 3 or pups under 6 months.

G self selection powders

 

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Other options

  • consult a vet for clinical support
  • zyclene is often recommended by vets as is nutricalm. ask your vet for information.
  • Tranquil Blend by Hedgerow hounds can help if given a loading  dose usually several weeks
  • skullcap and valerian and st johns wort from Dorwest can also be useful, needing a loading  time of several weeks.

For any further help please contact me:
peacefulpawstherapy@gmail.com @peacefulpawstherapy (FB)
https://peacefulpawstherapy.com

Uncategorized

Fun in the Snow … or is it fun for everyone? Do dogs NEED a walk every day whatever?

genghis snow18In the UK this week temperatures have plummeted from the average for the time of year at around 7C  to daytime of -3+ C and a wind chill of -10C+ with a significant snowfall for many and where there is less, pavements are bitterly cold.

Not much fun for us, schools are closed due to the injury risk  (A&E really does not need the extra work) . Children are thoroughly wrapped up and a limited time given on their outdoor play at home. We would not take out our very young children and are urged to check on our old people.  We have been urged to bring in our outdoor pets such as roaming cats and rabbits etc.

For the young and the majority of our dogs  this is the first time in around 10 years most have experienced this weather.

So for our dogs especially, those lovely pets we snuggle at night in our centrally heated homes, this is quite a temperature shock. Their feet are not prepared for this level of biting icy cold – this is where they sweat where there are many nerves to help them make sense and stay away from danger, as our hands and feet are.

So when I see and hear of dogs who are just not prepared for this unwilling, not of choice,  trudging through the snow, shivering or picking feet comically, with unhappy disengaged companions my heart goes to them, just  “because it is walk time” often early morning or late afternoon.

My dog (above) chooses on these days what we will do. On the whole he rushes out pees and poos has a roll around and a little bounce (he is after all a snow dog by DNA, not used to the temperature but still has a love of the white stuff locked away) then he rushes in a gets warm, snoozing on his sofa until the next pee break or I get the toys out.

Yesterday we had an enforced walk out, we could not stay at home to keep a tradeperson and he safe. It was cold but not too cold and as you see not much ice or snow. He rolled and bounced for around 10-15 mins , then slowed down, we came home then, he rested the rest of the day until tea time when he asked for some games. It took him hours to recover, he has arthritis. He will not “go for a walk ” until he and  I feel it is comfortable for him. He will go out and engage in the environment, he will have plenty of exercise and fun and tiring activity. All in the comfort of my home, where he is medically comfortable.

Like wise my health puppy will get to choose what she does and how long for, she likes the snow and we play with her for as long as she chooses or we feel is ok for her delicate paws. Then for her, some training time interspersed with games and fun and rest, learning to calm.

So what do we do instead? The list is endless and these are some ideas, this is not exhaustive , these are some of their favourites:

  • chase with a toy , or fetch the rolling ball, waiting until released (3-2-1 … GOOOO) is our current skill to be learned.
  • boundary games (again self control) being rewarded for choosing to stay on the bed or go on and wait to be released, all fun and games. A  new skill is waiting for their turn to be released for a game by name.
  • tricks, our favourites: spin, leg weaves, 2 paws or balance any 2 or 3- using different places and textures (both great for body condition).
  • Noise box -get the recycling ready – boxes, card tubes, plastic bottles, paper, add some biscuits into any of them   put into a large box or tray sprinkle in some more (or better still grated cheese or another fun food) and make a cuppa and let them exercise themselves! This is a great way to feed biscuit/kibble fed dogs their breakfast.
  • Snuffle mats or treat search –snuffle mats are fleece covered mats (or use a loopy bathroom mat or towel) with a sprinkling of fun foods, breakfast or left over bits of human meat or grated veg. Treat search, hide it let them find it.
  • Practice our basics sit, down, stand, leave, wait, walk by my side, leash on and off, release words for play. What words do they know FIRST TIME/ INSTANTLY? They all need reminders. Practice Stay from room to room until called. How long can they stay  ? How far? can you make it longer, further? What vocabulary does your dog know?
  • Behaviour chains put together tricks (above) and commands and wait times in basics. This is one of our favourites .
  • OUR two favourites? The Orientation Game – Use a handful of their food allowance or some favourite but healthy food. sit on the floor or on a low chair settee. throw out one piece, they chase then as they look back throw another and repeat, they soon learn to look back to you for what happen next. This has transformed our Loose Lead Walking and Recall. Proximity chase a similar one but on the move… drop a bit and run as they catch you, drop and run, repeat … play this is in the snow too for a quick exercise !

It is worth noting that research and science is showing that 15 mins a day games as above is worth an hour of traditional “tiring out”.  Also remember to intersperse different levels of play so they don’t get too hyper, adding in calm time and massage or stroking.

It needs engagement between the participants and deepens relationships, impacting on Loose lead walking and Recall – the issues trainers like us get as the primary request for help.

How do I have time to do this? In short sharp sessions, 10 bits of food at a time, no more than 5 mins mostly 3 mins. choosing from the list to play not everything! Mixing up fun and furious with calm and quiet and having time off, as well as massage and TTouch. This is the time it takes to boil the kettle for your hot chocolate, or boil up your soup!

Have fun, stay safe and put your companions needs up there first,  rather than an increasingly  outdated view of canine exercise.  For more information or help or just to share your fun please visit @peacefulpawstherapy  Facebook page or message me.