Archive for the ‘Play time’ Category

Canine Play

In All About Me, Being Cute, Play time, Shelley Widhalm, The importance of play, Vacations on June 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

Zoey the dachshund is cute eating ice cream. She believes that she's cute no matter what she does.

Zoey the dachshund is cute eating ice cream. She believes that she’s cute no matter what she does.

My BFF Shelley is on vacation, which means more play time for me.

Dogs need play time for several reasons, including muscle development, mental stimulation and the loved-and-included feeling.

Play adds to a dog’s physical activity, in addition to regular walks, running in the backyard or dog park, and running around the house (as long as there’s carpet and not slippery tile or hardwood floors, where you slide and rapidly spin your paws).

Here are a few ways to play with your dog:

• Catch with a Frisbee or ball; fetch with a ball or toy.
• Chase around furniture in the house or in a grassy area outside.
• Tug-of-war (gentle, of course) with ropes or stuffed animals.
• Slide-in-a-bed by sitting on your doggie bed with your wiener dog toy in your mouth that can be used as a pull, allowing you to go sliding across the floor.
• Keep-away where your BFF runs her arms underneath the bedspread, so you can try to grab her hands with your jaws. (In my case, I bite gently, so Shelley willingly lets me play this game, though dog trainers would probably say a big no, because I am using my jaws in play.)
• Chew the vet-recommended rawhide, the chew toy, the Nylabone or anything else dogs can chew, destroy and make noise while doing it. I like Tupperware containers, especially when my BFF has to throw them away. It’s like I win!

Lastly, play is a way to develop a bond with your BFF, because you are spending time together, communicating in your individual ways while understanding one another and engaging in an enjoyable activity you both love.

Dog Playdates (or How I Just Want a Cat for a Friend)

In Finding friends, Play time, Shelley Widhalm on January 26, 2014 at 11:30 am

I am hanging out with Harry the Hedgehog. Who's cuter? That's what I thought!

I am hanging out with Harry the Hedgehog. Who’s cuter? That’s what I thought!

I don’t exactly date, because I’m a spayed (but very cute) female miniature long-haired dachshund.

But I do like playtime, play dates (as long as I’m the boss) and, on a limited basis, being around other dogs.

Sometimes, I will try at canine friendship, as long as the dogs are Beta or my size or smaller. They also need to realize that their toys and my toys are all mine. As for my food or water bowls, I can share, because that organic dog food stuff I get isn’t exactly something to yip about.

I have two dog friends, one I don’t see anymore for some reason and another one named Cricket, a terrier who, like me, loves the game of chase. I see Cricket when Shelley takes me to her business neighbor’s store to chat.

But I actually prefer cats.

This could be due to my size – 10 pounds, not very tall and extensively long – my cat-like, long, fluffy tail and my liking to have my way.

But I don’t have a cat to call a friend, even after I’ve put maximum effort into making a cat pal.

Take Kiara, Shelley’s brother’s girlfriend’s cat. She doesn’t like me, though I’m incredibly nice to her, wiggling my tail and all that. She looks down at me from her cat post, one paw hanging down, staring at me as if I’m invading her space. Once when she was on the ground, I barked several “hellos” and she just hunched her back, teeth exposed. Once she even scratched my nose.

To say the least, her behavior wasn’t very nice.

The same thing happens with Cheddar, Shelley’s neighbor’s cat. He stares at me, all hissy like, as I try to approach. I bark a greeting, and he glares at me. Once I even gave him a kiss, but all he did was ignore me. Come on, I was making the first move, something that should have flattered the old boy.

But no.

He rejected me, too.

I guess I’ll have to try to befriend the birds next.

(See my BFF Shelley’s blog at shelleywidhalm.wordress.com.)

Why dogs need playtime

In Play time, Shelley Widhalm, The importance of play on July 14, 2013 at 11:30 am

Zoey is ready for some play time as she hangs out with her toys.

Zoey is ready for some play time as she hangs out with her toys.

As a very cute miniature dachshund, I need to explain a little about the importance of playtime.

Dogs need to play to learn, exercise, maintain health and experience the world around them. Genetically predisposed to be flexible and adaptable, they like novelty in their play. New toys and variety in games help stimulate their brains and keep them mentally active.

Unlike humans, dogs don’t need to force themselves to exercise, which for us is play. We naturally run, which is one of our favorite things to do and we don’t need any motivation to do so. We run from scent to scent if you let us off leash in a dog park or backyard, or even on our walks.

In the wild, we have to be good runners to chase our prey or to avoid being such. Running hasn’t been bred out of us through domestication, so that’s why a daily walk isn’t enough.

Exercise and play allow us to expend our pent-up energy, while also relieving stress and providing a mental break, just as it does for humans. It helps keep us healthy, agile and limber and makes us sleepy by bedtime, instead of restless. I’ve read that dogs that don’t get regular exercise will chew, dig and act destructively to seek attention (not that I’ve ever done that, not at all).

Some good games to get us to run include playing fetch, find it, hide-and-seek, and keep away, a game where we dodge away from you as we hold a toy (or sock, which I like) in our mouths.

Mental exercises also burn off energy, such as food puzzle toys, agility courses, obedience and trick training, and chew toys.

I’ve read that we need 20 to 30 minutes of running every day as a minimum. Note that I need all hours that I am awake to be told that I’m cute. Thank you.

A Dog’s Pace

In Being Cute, Play time, Shelley Widhalm on February 26, 2012 at 10:15 am

Zoey takes a nap anyway she can.

As a miniature dachshund, I find pacing to be a silly concept.

There are two types of pacing: napping and playing.

In my napping pace, I curl into a loose ball atop the couch pillows or next to the edge of my doggie bed. I don’t go anywhere, so if you were watching me, you would see how cute I am with my eyes closed.

I bet you could watch me for a long, long time, because I sigh, I switch positions and I snap open my eyes when I hear noises, then return to dreamland.

Oh, is that too slow for you?

Well, join me for a run as I shoot out the door, stop to sniff at the feral cat area by the shed and bark as I hurry along the fence to return to the porch. I lift my snout and sniff. I better run another lap, and so I do.

That’s the fast pace.

So is playing when I engage in tug-of-war, a game of chase or go after my balls and toys that are thrown to the end of the hall.

A medium pace is for going on walks, when I mosey along, stopping at all fire hydrants, light poles, trees and flower beds to sniff and sniff. I become investigative as I slow down and then annoyed when I get pulled away from my dreamy wondering about which dogs had come by this or that spot.

“Come on, Zoey,” I hear as I’m lifted by my harness as if I’m flying through the air. I quicken my pace with paws circling until I land. I dig in, wanting to stay.

You see, I don’t want to keep pace with humans when I’ve got my own path to follow.

A Plotting Puppy

In All About Me, Play time, Shelley Widhalm on January 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm

I am excited to tell you that I got a new Frisbee.

As Shelley blogs about writing, I am chewing my blue plastic Frisbee to pieces. I know that it’s for throwing, but I prefer to bite off the edges or, in the case of balls, pull off the strings, erasing the toys’ effectiveness as objects to be thrown.

I’m kind of smart that way. If I chew away at something, then I don’t have to chase it.

Even though as a dachshund, I like to chase things, preferably balls and my teddy bears, I get tired of doing the same old thing over and over again.

Plus, when it comes time to reflect, I do my thinking with my teeth in motion.

It’s a contradiction that boils down to my liking to chase things – but only once. If Shelley throws a ball, I’ll eagerly go get it and bring it back, well not to her exactly but within her vicinity. That way, she has to work to throw it again.

I’m trying to let her know that I’m not interested in do-overs.

As I chew on this idea, Shelley is blogging about plot, or the structure of a story from beginning to the middle and the end.

My days have no plot, but they do have a beginning with me waking up and wanting some of Shelley’s breakfast, a middle with her going off to work and leaving me all alone, and an end with Shelley coming back and playing with me.

My life is like a Frisbee that gets thrown and I bring back, just as I wait for Shelley to return from work. It’s an endless circle, but by chewing on the outer edges of that circle, I create something that won’t fly through the air.

In other words, I’m retelling the plot of a dog’s life through the action of my teeth.

So, chew on that.

Play Time Required for All Dogs

In Frustration, Motivation, Play time, Seeking attention, Shelley Widhalm on December 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

These are some of Zoey's toys.

I’m frustrated that I don’t have all the milk bones I want.

I’m motivated to get treats and toys and all the play time a girl dog needs, but I don’t always get these things when I want them.

Here’s what I do for treats:

Stand on my back legs and cross my paws, looking extra cute.

Bark if I get impatient and frustrated.

Shelley, my pet parent, says “No noise,” and I have to be quiet and amp up the cute.

If I want to play, I grab my stuffed bunny and bring it to Shelley. If she doesn’t throw my toy, I remove the other ones from my toy box until they are all out in a pile of rejection. Usually, Shelley gets the hint and will throw one or get floor bound for tug-of-war.

Or I pretend to go to the door and when Shelley reaches for it, I go for a runner, inviting her into chase.

My last trick is to bark really loud. If I’m on the couch or the bed, I hang my front paws over the edge and stare with expectation of getting what I’m due.

It’s required after all if you take home a dog.

We dogs need play and love and sleep and treats. And of course, we are motivated by our love of you.

We get frustrated when we try to express our love to your turned back. So we have to make noise, look adorable or grab toys so that you remember what’s important: life isn’t all serious stuff but is about running around happy and free.

Zoey’s Take on Be You

In Pet me, Play time, Seeking attention, Shelley Widhalm on October 23, 2011 at 7:00 am

The idea of “Be You” is easy for a dog. I bark when I hear a sound I don’t like. I beg when I see food I want. And I play when I want to play.

I am who I am without trying to fit in or being someone or something else. I don’t have to be what a job or a classroom tells me to be, doing what is required for a paycheck or a grade. I can just do.


But my Be You-ness is dependent on others. I am a social, and an exceptionally cute, dachshund who needs pets, attention and playtime. So I Be Sad when I don’t get my needs met. I need to be connected to others, both dogs and people, for games of chase, tug-of-war and make-believe band from squeaking my toys to make music.

I certainly am not going to chase my tail or squeak my bunny or duck-y if no one is there to watch me be cute.

I need observers and to know that I belong.

I can’t sit at home all day, pretending that it’s okay for my pet parent to be working. I want her there with me. I can be my Be You when I am Being With Others. I can Be Me when I have you Being You being with me, because I am bred to be your pet.

I Be Cute!

Couch Surfing

In All About Me, Center of attention, Dog communication, Play time, What's important, Who's Alpha DOG? on February 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

I am glad Shelley finished with her novel. That means she’ll have more time to spend with me. I am trying to give her the message that she spends too much time working, but she’s not getting it.

She comes home at 5 or 6 every night, puts her bag on the floor and calls for me. She finds me either in the living room or on her bed (I mean our bed) and gives me kisses and lots of pets.

But then she puts something in the microwave or she does something that doesn’t involve me. In response, I hide under the bed or the couch and put my head on my paws, staring out at her feet. I see her face as she gets on her hands and knees.

“Are you going to come out? Do you want to go on a walk?”

“No,” I tell her with my eyes.

Even so, she’s tricked me by eating cheese and, of course, I come out, and she gives me a piece and as I start to chew, she grabs me and puts on my harness and leash. Or she throws a ball, and I chase it and out comes the leash.

The whole problem that I have is we do things when Shelley wants to do them, like when we go on walks. It’s not like she understands that when we wake up in the morning, I don’t want her to leave. I want her to play with me or take me places where I can play with other people and get their kisses all day long. For a couple of hours, we do go on walks and visit dog-friendly places, but for a short time measured against the many hours of her disappearance.

I don’t like that she’s making the rules, which goes against my alpha dog status. So under the couch I go to pout.

Weekend Friends, Part II

In Best friends, Dog communication, Play time, Zoey and Sophie on August 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Sophie pins Zoey during a play wrestling match.

During the weekend at Mommy’s dad’s house, I got to play with my friend Sophie, a golden retriever. We had to sniff each other, despite meeting a few day’s ago, to get an update on what yards we’ve dug into and naughty things we’ve done.

Sophie dug up some flowers and chased balls. I just had a bath, so I wasn’t as easy to read.

After taking care of the first course of business, we touched noses. Yes, let’s play we said as we wagged our tails. I ran and looked behind me to see Sophie skipping up to me. I stopped and did my play bow with my front paws bent at the elbow and my behind in the air. Sophie did hers.

We wrestled, and we chased. We rolled, or I did, as Sophie licked the top of my head. She pushed at me, making me move across the floor in a slow slide. I hopped back. And we got started in our wrestling match. I won – mainly because I could become the bigger dog by sitting on chairs, couches and people’s laps and looking down at Sophie. Needless to say, I had the advantage.

I heard Mommy tell her dad she was proud of me.

“She’s usually scared of big dogs,” Mommy said.

And off we went, Sophie and I, to explore my backyard. I showed her the digging spots and the place under the tree where the branches umbrella over the ground. It’s a great shady hideaway. We touched noses and communicated with barks and sniffing and, off I go, chase me. And she did. She saw Zoey run. And man can I run!