We have had a couple of weeks of sun here and although some days have still been cold, seeing the sun makes all the difference! I got lots of my vegetable seeds sown, got my allotment tidied and repaired where needed (I have a disabled plot with waist high raised beds to save me bending and means I can garden whilst sitting). My friends helped me by re-felting my shed roof and repairing my polytunnel, the plants in the greenhouse started getting hardened off in preparation of being placed outside and I got my hanging baskets done. All was going well until 4 nights ago when the temperature returned to 0℃, then 3 nights ago we had a flurry of snow and it has been cold during the day with a spattering of rain, just for good measure! So my greenhouse heater was switched back on and the dogs are back in the house through the day instead of lying sunbathing in the garden.
Since they are bored that they can’t lie in the sun, we have been learning new training tricks and games to keep them amused. They can now both leave a treat set in front of them until told to get it, they can both give a paw then other paw, high five, high ten, wave, fist bump and play dead, although Tess now plays dead when i say bang and make my fingers look like a gun, whereas Coal isn’t quiet at that stage yet. We have been practising putting treats on their noses and telling them to get it – most of the time they will throw the treat into the air then catch it but occasionally they revert to using their paws to knock it off their nose – little cheats!
Tess has been learning some dance moves as well, viewable in this video –
We have also been doing some indoor agility training, this is Tess again demonstrating in this video –
I also made them a new brain training game, they do have a purchased game that is very similar but this gives them different shapes and textures to work with. It is very simple to do yourself at home, all you need is a cupcake tray – I used one from a box of shop bought cakes but you could use a foil cupcake tray or an egg box. All you do is place a treat in each cup then cover with a tennis ball. Show your dog that you are putting the treats in. Give the tray to your dog and let them work it out. This is Tess and Coal showing how its done in the following two videos –
Coal turned 4 on the 24th March and he was going to have a party but it had to be postponed until this weekend as I had crashed my mobility scooter on the Monday (23rd) and had to get checked out in A&E on Monday night, as I had hit my head, so was subsequently too sore to give Coal his party. He did get to open his presents and got a fuss made of him though!
They both got a new custom fitted harness each from http://www.fleecedogharnesses.co.uk where I get all their harnesses made as staffies are an odd shape due to their wide chests, so off the shelf harnesses tend to rub under their front legs causing sores. Tess also got a glow in the dark Chuck it kick it fetch it ball and a Beco ring, so she didn’t feel left out, although she preferred to steal Coals pressies, when he let her anyway!
So for Coals birthday party this weekend, I have been saving up empty boxes for a surprise box
The plan is to place some treats in the bottom of each box then scrunched up paper on top then place all the filled boxes into a larger box, leaving the centre area free for a special treat then scrunched paper in all the gaps around the boxes then shut the lid over and let the dogs work out how to get the treats in the boxes which should keep them busy for a while. If it works then this is something we will do more regularly and it will maybe give me a chance to finish the Spring Cleaning that I started this week! Here is a video of both Coal & Tess with their first ever surprise box –
As you can see they are both enjoying it and it kept them occupied for 40 minutes!