What Do You And Your Dog Enjoy Doing?

When it comes to having fun with a dog, I think the best fun always happens when owners and dogs are doing the sorts of things that they personally enjoy.  I hear dog owners tell me that they are doing things with their dog because they think that’s what a dog owner is “supposed” to do for and with a dog!  As a result, I see owners sometimes doing things that they really hate, all because they think that’s what is expected of them as dog owners!

Let me fill you in on a secret!  There is NO rule book for having fun with your dog!!  ALL dogs and owners are different!  What works for one dog, may not for the next.  There are no set rules for engagement between a dog and his owner!!  I remember so well, a Labrador Retriever that I trained who hated to be in water!  Her owner called her his “Land Lab” because she just enjoyed land activities rather than water activities!

Rugby is the dog who helped me to really understand this whole idea more fully, because initially, I really tried to give him experiences that I don’t think he ever wanted.  I kept feeling like he wouldn’t enjoy life if he couldn’t really experience a full world with lots of adventures. Maybe if I had been Rugby’s initial owner instead of his fifth….he might very well have enjoyed having a big world with lots of adventures.   However, that simply stresses Rugby too much, and he’s much happier staying home and enjoying simple activities!

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As a result, I’ve learned to re-think life with my special needs dog.  Rugby’s ideas of fun have changed over the years as he’s aged, but so have mine!  As a younger dog, all he wanted to do was RUN!!  I wish that I enjoyed running, but sadly, I don’t!  My left knee has taken a beating from big, rowdy dogs slamming into it over and over, and so it needs a lot of TLC!  Fortunately, Rugby can run alone, so he has a grand time in the yard, and that works well for me, so it’s a win-win.  And what I absolutely love, is that Rugby really seems to be happiest when I’m out in the yard watching him!  He’s like that small child who says, “Mom!  Watch me!  I can run really fast!”  It never fails to make me smile from ear to ear!

My job involves a whole lot of problem solving, so I love anything that involves puzzling or thinking games for dogs.  Rugby loves those types of activities too, so we do a fair amount of those things together.  He’s a thinker and problem solver, so he’s always all in when I pull out puzzles or teach him a new trick.

I’ve tried giving Rugby a puppy pool for some summer splashing fun, but he really doesn’t enjoy water sports at all, so I gave that up after the first summer he lived with me!  No sprinklers, no hose play….nope.  Not for Rugby.  He doesn’t enjoy those things.

He enjoys being anywhere that I am, so when I’m puttering around the house cleaning, organizing, etc., Rugby is often nearby….snoopervising whatever I’m doing.  He enjoys doing this….although at times….he’s underfoot and not helpful, I have to admit!  But he means well, so it’s hard to be cross with him for tripping me left and right!

We both really enjoy car rides together….just taking in the sights, sounds and smells of someplace new!  When he has the car surrounding him, he’s much more calm, and has a fun outing when we get out and about.

He really loves some piggie play with me…jamming his piggies into my ankles and legs…over and over…play growling all the while!

And he likes to binge-watch TV with me….movies with popcorn…sit in front of the fire on a cold or rainy night…that sort of thing.  He almost always enjoys a snuggle when he can get one, and I love a good puppy snuggle myself!

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So let Rugby and I encourage you to march to the beat of your own drummer!  Find your own unique fun with your dog, and throw yourselves into it!  Don’t let anyone else tell you what you are “supposed” to do with your dog!  Listen to your dog…try some different things, and learn what works for you and your best friend!

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Comments

    • Sally says

      I guess it really would be challenging to have a multiple dog household...much like several kids who are all involved in different activities all over town! So glad that all of them like snuggles! At the end of the day....those are the very best! Thanks for reading and taking time to comment! <3

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  1. Kelly says

    I had a Golden that refused to do water and got car sick. So beaches and car rides were out of the question for us. Edie on the other paw, loves to go for car rides, even if we don't end up anywhere special. We both enjoy puttering out in the garden or just chilling out on our garden chairs. She's like Rugby and does a lot of snoopervising around the house 😉
    I love the ideas of the tennis balls in the muffin pans!

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    • Sally says

      Thanks, Kelly!! I train lots of dogs who get car sick, so that does present challenges to be able to go places with your dog! Edie sounds a whole lot like Rugby!! How sweet is that! I'm glad you like our homemade puzzle toy! You can use six or twelve cup muffin tins, and hide kibble or treats under the tennis balls. It also makes a great feeder for dogs who eat too fast! Belly rubs to Miss Edie! 😀

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  2. says

    How sweet that he likes you to watch him running and playing in the yard! I agree that there is no one way and I love that all dogs, like people, are all unique and enjoy such different things

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    • Sally says

      Rugby is such an incredible little dog! He actually comes to invite me outside to join him, so I know that he must really enjoy having me watch what he does outside. He always comes to me after something really impressive as if to say, "Did you see me? Wasn't I great?" Dogs are so unique and while some breed characteristics carry through to all of the dogs in a given breed....they are all their own unique creation, and that's partly why I enjoy training them so much!! Thanks for reading and commenting! 😀

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  3. says

    You're Rugby's Fifth owner?! Poor Rugby, that must have been tough for him. He's lucky he has a Mom that spends to much time and effort considering what is best for HIM. We love the muffin tin/tennis ball game too!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv them

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    • Sally says

      Can you believe it? YES! We were at least his fifth owner, and there could have been more, but there's no paper trail to follow past a certain point. I adopted him at 8-9 months old, and I'm pretty well convinced that many of his issues could have been prevented with stability for him as a puppy. He's got a great home now, and he and I are best buds, he trusts me...finally, and we're living happily ever after! The muffin tin puzzle/feeder game is great fun!! We're big on puzzle toys at my house!! Thanks for reading, and for your sweet comments! 😀

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  4. says

    Fabulous post! It is so true that you should see what it is that your companion enjoys. On Tuesday evenings, Henry, Reese and I go to agility. Henry has a blast running the courses while Reese 'sits pretty' like a little cheerleader on the bench. She enjoys getting her reward after Henry has had his turn in the ring. Ask her to do an trick for that treat.....forget it! When we get home she figures it's her turn: FETCH, FETCH, FETCH!

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    • Sally says

      I loved your comment!! Such fun personalities and such unique pups that you have at home! You have them pegged, and I'm sure they love the fact that you're doing things with them!! That's the best part of all....being a team with our dogs!! 😀

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  5. says

    Great post, Layla and I love to play catch with a squeaky in the hallway when we get home from the park, she loves it and runs up and down the hallway squeaking. I must try the tennis ball/muffin tin game looks awesome

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    • Sally says

      Rugby does the same thing with his polka dottie piggies! We call fetch "Pig Toss" at my house!! It's fetch, but with piggies, and Rugby loves it!! The muffin tin puzzle/feeder is lots of fun! You can use either 6 or 12 cup muffin tins, and hide treats or kibble under the tennis balls. Since Layla is smaller, you can use mini muffin tins and smaller balls if you like! 😀

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    • Sally says

      That's a challenge when you have one couch potato and one who is off to the races!! It sounds like you really understand who Mr N is, and that makes for a great relationship!! Thanks for reading and for your comment!

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  6. says

    One of my dogs just wants to be near me, it doesn't matter what we are doing. Another one loves tug of war and snuggling. The third one is more of a loner, she likes a little attention, but she's pretty independent. She's also the mischief maker, which Is why she prefers to be alone, so she can get into stuff.

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    • Sally says

      Thanks, Beth! I had to giggle reading your comment, because I think you have your independent girl pegged! She's part Ninja!! 😉 You've got a nice blend of personalities at your house, and that's bound to be lots of fun!! Rugby is my first real snuggle pup who has Velcro for fur, and I suspect a good part of that is his background prior to coming to live with me. He's a bit anxious, high-strung, overly emotional, and that all ties into being "needy." Despite all of those things, he's really an amazing little dog who has taught me soooo much!! 🙂

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