Keeping the boys entertained

There’s an interesting trend on Facebook. People post photos of their dogs with a sign around their necks which tells about they awful things those dogs have done.

Usually the photos are taken in such a way that the dog looks incredibly sheepish and remorseful. The signs say things like – “I?shredded the boy’s math textbook” or “I chased the cat through the house and knocked over the potted plant.”

It’s called dog shaming. I’ve seen the same thing done for cats as well, but mostly for canines who have been naughty. The photos can be quite funny – unless, of course, it’s your dog.

I would say my dogs have a high liklihood of doing some of those naughty little tricks. So we decided we needed to do a preemptive strike, especially with Buster, our little Lhasa Apso.

Buster’s little mind is always at work. You can almost see the little wheels turning in his head. He’s very curious and he’s very smart – which makes for a dangerous and often disasterous combination.

But we found this wonderful treat ball which seems to keep the little stinker interested for hours at a time. The bright orange ball has divots all around it and one hole in the middle. The idea is you fill the vessel inside with kibble and a few tasty treats. See, the dog can smell those yummy treats and will do just about anything to get them out. But in order to get a treat, Buster has to roll the ball around until a little morsel pops out of the hole.

It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s like a Rubik’s cube for a dog. It keeps in occupied for the longest time. Or until the treats in the ball are all gone. At that point he tends to stand in front of you and bark incessantly, which means, “Come on, fill’er up!?Let’s go. I need more yummies.”

The best part about the ball is it actually keeps both Buster and our big retriever Toby busy. As Buster pushes the ball around the house, he leaves a trail of kibble (he’s only interested in the tasty special treats). But that’s OK, because Toby follows him around the house and gobbles up the trails of dog food.

When I first saw Buster dumping the food as he pushed the ball along, I worried about having to vacuum up all the crunchy bits. But Toby is just as good as my vacuum cleaner when it comes to food.

My little Buster has always been quite the foodie. He’s always interested in what anyone might be eating. He sits quietly by as dinner proceeds, waiting, hoping and almost mentally urging one of the family to accidentally drop a little morsel on the floor. He’s even been know to knock over the garbage in the kitchen which then becomes a canine buffet.

But since the treat ball arrived, he’s been a much more well-behaved little fellow. He’s not bored so much anymore and I think it’s helped him with his separation anxiety. We just fill up the ball before we leave the house and he hardly notices were gone.

It’s hard to keep an curious dog entertained but we hope this will continue to work.