Monday, August 31, 2015

Dog Play: The Chase Is On

We have a brindle rabbit named Vito :).

Vito channeling his inner rabbit with Bourbon deciding on the chase behind.
Side note: I obviously need to get outside and take more pictures!!

Dog-dog play has always fascinated me. It's also one of the reasons all my friends look at me weird when I say I don't ever watch T.V. Why would I watch T.V. when I have all the entertainment I can handle? My dogs are the perfect boredom distraction :). Besides I'm not sure my dogs would let me sit and watch shows without being annoying, let alone how all of us would fit on the couch together!

But I digress, back to dog-dog play!! :) When groups of kids play together, they often play the same standard, well-known games with each other where everyone knows the basic rules. Interestingly enough, dogs are the same way. They have their own standard games that they play together (also with clear-cut rules!!) and just like with kids, they prefer certain games over others. At our house, we have three main games: bitey-face, chase, and tackle football.

Monday and Rookie playing chase last winter.
Their chase game is more of a competition to see who is fastest :).

Pure Play

Chase is a HUGE favorite in our house because of Vito. Vito LOVES to be the rabbit. In fact, he is ALWAYS the rabbit. He is always chased, never the chaser. Some dogs like to chase, some like to be chased, and others don't care who chases whom as long as there is running involved :). For this game in our house, there are always set roles: Vito is chased, while Bourbon and Monday are chasers (Rookie isn't allowed to play chase with Vito because he turns it into hardcore tackle football and Vito takes exception to that). Vito is also the instigator of this game about 90% of the time, the other 10% Bourbon tries to be the instigator and entice Vito to start running. Monday only gets involved after they have already started the game :).

Chase played inside tends to combine some aspects of bitey-face and tackle football because there is limited room to run in the living room. But you can definitely see how Vito is the center of attention, the one always being pursued in whatever form :).

If You Really Want To Know, Look In The Play

Chase can get a little tricky and get out of hand fast. You need to look at the body language of the 'rabbit' to make sure they are enjoying themselves. Look at their postures and facial expressions. A tense jaw, wide eyes, and tucked tail are usually a call for help, but you need to know your dog.

It can also be dangerous to allow larger dogs to chase small dogs. Many dogs can drift into a predatory state of mind when pursuing a small, running animal, even when it's another dog. So be very mindful and ready to interrupt when allowing big dogs to play with small dogs.

Make Room For The Play

Although we still do not completely understand why animals engage in social play, research has suggested that animals play to help form social bonds, enhance cognitive development, exercise, and practice coping skills for life's unexpected situations. All of these benefits are important to our dogs, but something else that I think is just as important if not more - is playing for FUN. For the DELIGHT in the interactions with another friend. While research is always looking for a concrete reason behind an action, sometimes an action is just done because it makes you happy. After watching my dogs play together for the past 10 years, I totally believe fun enters the equation more often than not.

Monday showing her version of joy :).

Do your dogs play chase? Does one enjoy being the chaser more than the chasee or vice versa? :) I'd love to hear how your dogs chose to play!

This is the first post in a series of posts on Play. Please check back next week for Dog Play: Bitey-Face

Snoopy's Dog Blog

Monday, August 10, 2015

I'm a KPA Graduate!!

It's official! I'm a KPA graduate :).

I can't believe how fast the time went by! I learned so much in these past 6 months, I can't wait to start spending so much more of my time training <and blogging lol> :).

Rookie is a bit sad, he's going to miss the one-on-one weekends in hotels with all those special treats to keep him busy :). But I have promised to continue to have training sessions with him everyday. He needs that mental outlet now that I have cultivated it!!

The final assessment weekend wore Rookie out :)
Everyone has been soo supportive through this (especially my amazing husband!),
THANK YOU to all my friends and other KPA participants who kept me motivated and gave me positive encouragement along the way :).

I got this amazing watercolor as a graduation gift from two of my friends!! 

Congratulations to everyone in my class (and to myself lol)!!!!

...Erin Topp, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP

Friday, August 7, 2015

Oh, Hello There :) friends...I've been negligent...again.

Somebody please smack my hand with a ruler :).

Summer has been crazy and it's been nice and hot outside; I've had a hard time committing my butt to a chair in order to be on the computer writing blogs. 

Bad Erin.

Monday doesn't look like she's moving so that I can use my computer chair...

I'm not going to make any promises this time because obviously that didn't help but I do have TONS of stuff to catch everyone up on. Maybe I can give my blog topics to Siri and she can type posts for me? :) That's probably too much to hope for LOL.

But the craziness has died down a little...well who am I kidding, I always have everything going on all at once :). But it feels less crazy at the moment so you will be seeing more of me :). Well more of the pups, they are who you really want to see ;).

See You Soon!!