Thursday, January 12, 2012

Winter Boredom Busters for your Green Dog!

Winter can be a stressful time for dogs. It's cold, it's icy, it's just not fun to go outside and get all the exercise we need everyday.

We live further south and it has been raining for five days now! Winter weather can be challenging and makes for some bored dogs; just ask me and Gracie.

So what's a green dog to do with all that pent up energy? Have fun with some great green dog boredom busters you can enjoy indoors!

We have several categories of ideas to help your dog cope with the winter boredom blues - everything from homemade interactive activities and toys, to tricks, to green, healthy and eco-friendly interactive toys and games. So let's get started!

Indoor Games

Gracie and I love to play indoor games! And on days that it's super cold or very rainy, we play for our breakfast and/or dinner. It's not only super fun, but we get a little exercise, and the best part is we work our brains, which can tire out a dog almost just as much as physical exercise.

Here are some of my favorite indoor games.

Hide and Seek - Mum puts me in a sit stay downstairs and then she hides a target (we like to use a repurposed large container yogurt lid, BPA free of course!) with some of my dinner on it. You can use super high premium kibble (like Earthborn Holistic), or a nice little raw chicken neck (big enough that I won't choke). We like the ones from RAGD Partner Dogma Online). Then she gets about half way between me and the target and says 'find target!'. That's when I go to work, searching throughout the cabin to find my prey. In the beginning, you may want to try this with shorter distances until your dog gets the hang of it. It's super fun!

Tricks - I love to learn new tricks and so does Gracie! Mum keeps a nice list of tricks stuck to our refrigerator that she wants to teach us, so she always has good training material on hand.

Just the other day Mum taught me to get in a suitcase (great for smaller dogs). And she taught Gracie to get in a larger box with a lid. We had a great time.

If you're looking for ideas and great ways to teach tricks, visit our YouTube channel. And we recommend clicker training, which you can learn through some of the great resources on the Internet. Here are additional resources:
Homemade Interactive Games and Toys

Throughout the years we've been fortunate to learn lots of great ideas for making fun homemade, interactive games and toys from friends. Here are our favs:

Muffin Tin Game - this is one of my favorite games (see video below, it's how we learned it). Just make sure that you use a muffin tin that's stainless steel and tennis balls that are safe, K?



Hide the Treats - You can play this fun game a variety of ways. One way is to hide treats under an old cotton towel; or you can reuse some old toilet paper rolls and hide treats or organic peanut butter in them, adding another layer of difficulty. You can also do some fun nose work type of exercises by hiding treats under just one of three small stainless steel bowls (or small boxes) and let your dog work to find the treats or dinner.

And you can get a nice BPA free safe water bottle, cut safe holes in the side, add high quality kibble/treats and let them work to get the good stuff. Look around your house, we know you can find lots and lots of hide the treat materials, just remember to utilize safe and healthy materials, K? And for ammunition? You can find some great treats from our RAGD Partners Clear Conscience Pet, even ones that will keep that doggie waist line nice and trim - and they break up in smaller pieces to go further too!

You can also visit this great site for lots of ideas to make your own intelligent, interactive, and fun games for your dog! (It's in German, but you can see and get a lot of info from the photos).

Interactive dog puzzles, toys and games

Sometimes after playing with our homemade toys, we are ready for more challenges! That's when we turn to the pawsome interactive and intelligent dog toys on the market. New RAGD Partner P.L.A.Y has a few great interactive fun toys that make great fun indoors. 

They have a very cool P.L.A.Y. Tunnel which can make for lots of indoor fun, especially when you combine it with a quick down on the ottoman (good practice for agility).

Also they have this really new and fun P.L.A.Y. Wobble Ball Toy will provide hours of interactive fun and enrichment for your dog. Simply put a treat in and reward your dog for their persistence and intelligence!

Those are a few ideas to help you and your dog have more fun indoors during the super cold, wet, wintery weather days.

And remember, when it gets warmer, get out there and have a fun walk or hike. Some of the best hiking we've experienced is when there were a few inches of snow left on the ground from a big storm and it warmed up to 45 degrees with sun!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Help your dog be more green and healthy in 2012!

There's no better time than the New Year to make a commitment to being more green and healthy!

And the best part is it doesn't have to be difficult. By doing little things you can make a big difference in the life of your dog and you!

Here are just a few of our top 5 things you can do in 2012 to have a healthier, happier pup and help the environment at the same time!

Take a hike, literally!

Get out there and enjoy our great, green Earth! Taking a walk, or a hike, with your best bud is not only good for your dog's health, but good for yours too! It can also really help maintain your and your dog's weight and physical fitness, as well as help your dog with boredom related behavior issues.

Just be sure to avoid contaminated areas, like chemically treated golf courses, retention ponds that harbor lawn chemicals, contaminated rivers and streams in farming country; and stick with your local and national parks where chemicals and treatments are banned. Also during the winter take care to avoid salted roads and walkways, and take extra precautions when it's colder outside.

It will be healthier and safer for both of you!

Clean up your water.

Water is a very important element to a dog's life and to yours. So resolve this year to clean up your water.

Take the time to research drinking water filtering systems that take out the bad stuff; install a filtering system on your shower and dog bathing area; investigate ways you can treat your swimming pools without chlorine and other damaging chemicals; and install a water filter on your outside faucet.
By cleaning up your water your are minimizing the damaging chemicals in your life and your dog's, for a happier, healthier life.

Go organic and healthy for you and your environment.

Look for more organic options for your dog's diet and for yours! By minimizing the unneeded and unhealthy antibiotics and hormones from you and your dog's meats, as well as pesticides, herbicides and and insecticides from your shared fruits and vegetables you can eat the way food was meant to be eaten, wholesome, fresh, and real.

Real food is much healthier and can minimize disease!

Clean it up the healthy, safe way.

Make an effort to clean up the other chemicals in your home and environment, inside and outside!

Look into healthier cleaning options, organic lawn care and more to create a more healthy environment and minimize your and your dog's exposure to unnecessary and unhealthy chemicals.

Give back.

Part of being a green dog, or even a green dog parent, is giving back to your environment, your community, to your friends and family, and to those in need.
Resolve to do something kind for someone each and every week - that's 52 acts of kindness and giving back! Just imagine if everyone in the World did something nice for someone just once a week, how it could build more community, and kindness and generosity in the World. In these tough times all people and animals need a little more help in their lives. So Paw it Forward!

These are just a few tips to help. You can visit our Learn to Be Green section an find more tips and information! We at Raise A Green Dog hope you have an amazingly healthy, green and happy 2012!


If you have ideas on how to make you and your dog's new year, healthier and greener, feel free to leave your thoughts in our comment section and share them with everyone!




















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