I finally sat down and wrote a loose schedule this week. I’m not making myself strictly stick to it at this point, I’m just trying to work towards being a little more organized. Part of my schedule, of course, is spending time with Luke and keeping him busy too.
I had started to write a post about the challenges of working from home before we lost Cricket, and I’ll be re-working it since things have changed without her. We’re still seeing how things play out, but I think I’ve come up with a good plan, and I’ll let you know how it works out!
In the meantime, Luke and I are doing some different things to keep him entertained, while we figure out our routines and new things we’re going to do too. None of these activities are anything new, but they are different now, and we’re definitely doing some of them more than we used to. Now that we don’t spend time every day throwing the ball for Cricket (and I’m still adjusting to not doing that daily!), we need to fill that time with something he and I can do together.
As the weather changes, probably so will the routines and activities. For example, we’re not walking every day yet because I’m protesting the hanging on of winter and refuse to go for a walk if it’s not at least somewhat bearable out there (and it’s getting better)!
- Walks. Luke really enjoys getting out there sniffing. He can be slow at times but I’m learning to just relax and let him do his thing. I often let him choose the direction we go in as well.
- Play time in the yard. I can throw the ball and get Luke to chase it about once. So instead, I’m sacrificing my gloves and I let him steal one out of my pocket. He gets so much joy out of it! He romps around, and I chase him; and if I can catch him, we play tug with the glove too. The game doesn’t last too long, because invariably he’ll take the glove away somewhere (often under the deck where I can’t reach him) and start chewing on it. At that point, I go in the house and call him. We trade the glove for a treat.
- Nose works and trick training. We’ve been working on “crawl” still, but I must tell you, it is hard on my knees training that! We hadn’t had the nose works stuff out for a while, but our first time of doing hides around the house? He aced it every time. He had not forgotten a thing. He was a little slower when I got the boxes out but he eventually caught on. I kind of feel like I can’t even challenge him anymore, so I think we are going to take the 2nd class in the series at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy this summer. I had wanted to try tracking but it doesn’t look like they are offering that again this year (we missed the current session since this was just not a good time to start). Between tricks and nose works, I think he enjoys nose works more.
- Toy play. Luke has been dragging toys out of the box, and often new and different ones. He mostly likes to do this in the evening. He really made me smile when not long after Cricket was gone, he chose a toy that was hers. I had gotten them both a shark toy last summer in Maine, and hers was smaller. I don’t think she ever really played with it, but I was tickled when he chose that one out of the box all on his own, like he was thinking of his sister.
- Everyday training. We work on Luke’s cues both when we’re out in the yard and when we’re on walks. Sometimes we use treats and sometimes we don’t. He definitely needs more work in some areas, especially when there are distractions around. Now that it isn’t so cold out, it’s easier to handle the treats without having to wear gloves!
Those are the main things we’ve been doing, with the goal of tiring him out during the day with at least one or two activities, even if they’re just for a short time. He still whines at me sometimes in the evening. Usually we’ll play with a toy for a bit (I’m certainly getting my exercise chasing him around inside and out); but a lot of times he just wants me to sit on the couch with him. I grab a glass of wine, turn on the news and flop on the couch. He snoozes next to me, content just to be by my side at the end of our day.
How do you keep your dogs busy, if you have to – or do they entertain themselves?