Life is not a highway strewn with flowers,
Still it holds a goodly share of bliss,
When the sun gives way to April showers,
Here is the point you should never miss.
Though April showers may come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May.
So if it's raining, have no regrets,
Because it isn't raining rain, you know,
(It's raining violets,)
And where you see clouds upon the hills,
You soon will see crowds of daffodils,
So keep on looking for a blue bird,
And list'ning for his song,
Whenever April showers come along.
April 8, 2005
Hi all --- Nanci hasn't had time to write a message this month so I have come up with a topic to share with you. I hope all is well with our extended Nanjay family and friends and your wonderful Springers.
Tips for a Rainy Day
OK, so it may be raining out ~ it IS April. The snow has melted (hopefully), grass is beginning to turn green and puddles are everywhere!!! Just the kind of environment Springers love, but Springer-owners would rather live without. -- Ahhh, the lovely "wet dog" smell, the mucky foot-prints, the dripping ears ... it MUST be Spring!
If your dogs are getting bored -- and they likely are when you're keeping them INDOORS most of the time on these rainy days -- it's a good time to bring out your big bag of Rainy Day Dog Activities!
You may want to start off with a short obedience lesson; 5-10 minutes; practising the basics with your dog, like "sit", "down", "wait" and "come", etc., just to stimulate some mental activity (wake your dog's brain up!) ... and then play some games.
Play catch. Toss a soft toy or a ball made out of old socks toward the mouth and say "catch!" at the same time. "Hooray!", when your dog catches it, "Ahhhhhhhh, you missed, try again", if he doesn't catch it. (Don't leave your dog alone with an old sock ball, though, because they can tear them up and you do not want your dog to eat them.)
Hide a toy or treat in an adjoining room and then encourage your dog to "Find it". This is even more fun if your dog knows the command, "Wait", so you can leave your dog in one room and run and hide the toy in another, then come back and release your excited dog.
An alternative would be to put a toy or treat in a semi-difficult place and let your dog try to get it. Under the sofa, armchair, or dresser works great. Just don't let it be a time to dig a hole in the carpet or chew a chairleg. You DO have to supervise.
Put a dog cookie inside a small cardboard box and tape the box up. (Use an empty cereal box, cracker box, cookie box, tissue box, etc.) Let the dog watch you do this, then rattle the box, ask in an excited voice, "Ooooh, what's this? Is this for you?", and give this 'present' to your dog to open. Great fun! (You get to clean up the mess while the dog eats his treasure.)
Play a game of "Fetch". For some dogs, the behaviour is natural; others must be encouraged. If your dog refuses to release, play with two toys, tossing one while your dog mouths the other.
Play Hide and seek: Begin by having a family member hold on to the dog, or leave him in a sit-stay while you go and hide in another room. Then call his name. Remain quiet as he approaches. When he's off the track, call again. The reward when he finds you should be praise and some animated, excited play. As the dog's finding skills improve, hide in other places to challenge his abilities.
A ride in the car on a cool rainy day may work wonders on a restless dog. Especially if they get to sit in a parking lot for a few minutes and bark at patrons. Tip: park far, far away from the rest of the cars! (NEVER leave a dog in a car on a hot day and you should not leave a puppy alone in a vehicle for more than a minute or two.)
Place a couple of soft towels or a doggy bed in front of a glass door and teach your dog to lay there. Watching the world go by can be as good as tv for most dogs.
Roll a tennis ball down a flight of stairs. Irresistable.
This can be amusing ... put a shirt or socks or a hat on your dog. Make sure the puppy feels complimented, NOT made fun of. Calmly tell them how lovely they look and give them a treat. If it appeals to your sense of humour, take pictures of your dog's "latest costume".
Invite human friends over for a visit. Having fresh faces in the house is always exciting for a Springer --- oooh, new playmates!!!
Have a heart-to-heart talk with your dog. Just telling stuff to your dog can be very entertaining. They listen for awhile and then they go to sleep, like spouses ... only cuter!
- a broom stick propped-up in a doorway will provide an outlet for jumping.
- empty soda bottles with the paper off, offer dogs many hours of self-amusement. (The bottle should be removed after it is destroyed.)
- very hard rubber toys, like Nylabone-type products and Kong-type products, are safe and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are fun for chewing and for carrying around.
- Kong-type toys, especially when filled with broken-up treats, like baby carrots, or, even better, a mixture of broken-up treats and peanut butter, can keep a puppy or dog busy for hours. Only by chewing diligently can your dog access the treats, and then only in small bits - very rewarding!
* Double-check with your veterinarian about whether or not you should give peanut butter to your dog. (www.kongcompany.com)
- Buster Cubes, are large rubber cubes with hiding places for treats. Only by moving the cube around with his nose, mouth and paws, can your dog access the goodies. Similarly, toys like the Moleculeball, keep your dog mentally stimulated and physically active.
- Hey, you could always take the opportunity to groom your dog! Brush, comb, de-mat, trim toe-nails, clean ears, etc.
The bottom line is, rain or shine, have fun with your dogs. Play with them. Give them something to do. Keep them safe, keep them exercised, keep them happy, keep them warm and dry and loved :-)