Toys that Challenge & are Fun.

Toys as  Mental Stimulation

How it started:  My husband had a plastic blow-up base-ball at work, that she grabbed when we picked him up one day.  Dali would wrestle it – hugging, rolling, pinning it down and then carry it around triumphantly, when half deflated.  It had to be repaired a lot.  Then Dali found a plastic bag that had held bedding – that one came from the closet.   It was bigger than she is and because it has to be supervised so she wouldn’t eat the plastic,  it is now history – it was fun while it lasted.  Then of course on laundry day she loves to wrestle the bags I use, once they are empty.  This is how we started the ‘Naughty’ game.  Whenever she finds something that’s OK but wasn’t given to her – we ask her, “Are you being naughty?”.  This will get her very excited and off she runs with her prize, expecting to be ‘chased’.   It is a great game.  When she finds something ‘bad’ it is serious and after she drops it I thank her and off we go to the garbage.

The newest find:  I use a lot of rags for my art clean-up and they come from old T-shirts and Hoodies.  They are kept on my art shelf.  Recently my Chihuahua found them.  She is always checking out my art bag and my art supplies – so training is in progress.  Getting back to this new toy idea, I see that a rag about 12″x18″ is perfect wrestling  material for my pup.  This is a T-shirt with the sleeves and neck removed.  When you cut down the sides  you can make it into 2 rectangles.  I think that one of the reasons this is so interesting is that the T-shirts are from our old ones and they still must smell of us, although they have been laundered.

The Games:  Dali brings me the rag and I loosely knot it and throw it as far as I can.  Off she goes to retrieve it and worry it into submission [or whatever is going on in her imagination].   She even brings it to her bed to wrestle.  After it is open again she brings it back to be rebuilt.  Once tired of the loose knot I add the ball.  The ball is rolled inside the fabric – leave it possible for the ball to come out.  Dali loves to hunt for her ball – any ball.  The knot throws better too and bounces a bit, adding to the excitement.  When she gets the ball out she nudges it in my direction so I know she wants me to try again.  This is a good opportunity to offer praise and join her in her happiness.

Mental, creative and physical play all in one.  I really like this toy – it is simple and at the same time the dog gets to use its brain to figure it out.  I believe it encourages fantasy play as well.  Besides the ball I have added her chew antlers, the toilet rolls and scrap paper she loves. Now I have to stop her from searching for more ‘rags’ to wrestle.


2 thoughts on “Toys that Challenge & are Fun.

  1. This is great! I used to play ‘sock’ with my chihuahua for a bit of tug-of-war. But this is much more creative. I wish I’d thought of more things like this – it might have prevented his dementia :(

  2. Don’t beat yourself up about that! What happens sometimes is beyond our efforts. If you have an opportunity – use this idea or pass it on. I have added to it – or Dali did! I have put inside: a folded 8×11 paper, a pine cone and a squeaky toy. Of course they were tried out at different times. She loves the variety.

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