Playing nice

April 21, 2009

We do our best to provide our dogs with everything they need, and that of course includes playtime!

Here at BHS, playtime is also learning and bonding time!  We practice “play training” to teach the dogs self-control and good manners during what can be a really exciting time!

Some things we teach dogs during play training:

  • To sit for each throw of  a toy in a game of fetch.
  • To wait in a sit until they are released to chase their toy.
  • To extend the length of time they are able to wait for a release.
  • To “drop it” on command.

Play training turns a normally unstructured activity into co-operative and interactive play. This interaction and deliberate structure has lots of benefits for both dog and human!

Some benefits of play training:

  • Reinforces self-control and good doggie manners.
  • Enhances the bond between human and dog.
  • Helps reinforce the human’s leadership role (Especially with dominant dogs.)
  • Helps make dogs more adoptable!

You can try play training with your dog at home, too!  If her repertoire includes commands besides “sit”, use those during play as well, and vary what you ask for.

Check out our Play Training Video!

[Vimeo 4257439]


Playing With Food: Feeding Enrichments for Dogs

January 8, 2009

Most animals (especially those in the wild) spend an awful lot of time and energy working for their food: hunting, foraging, rooting, pecking,traveling, etc.  All these actions are part of feeding behaviors and are an important part of animals’ lives, on both physical and mental levels.

For domestic animals such as dogs, food in a plain ol’ dish just doesn’t offer much in the way of mental stimulation or physical challenge.  (It also takes about 30 seconds to eat if they’re really excited about it.)


Some feeding toys we use.

That’s why we give our dogs Feeding Enrichment Toys!

Feeding enrichments help to give animals something to do and think about while they eat.  They encourage the dogs to use their minds and bodies.  They can also help food-gulpers to slow down!

To use them,we fill them with one (or more) of the following:

  • A dog’s whole meal
  • Small, dry treats
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chicken meal
  • Wet dog food

Check out our shelters dogs demonstrating the use of our feeding enrichments!

All the dogs featured in the video are available for adoption.  For more information on them, visit the shelter’s dog page!

PS: These toys are great for dogs at home, too!  They are available for purchase  at the shelter, or can be found in some local pet supply stores or online.

PPS: Since we use our feeding toys so much, they get lots of wear and tear and need to be regularly replaced.  We can always get LOTS of use from donations of large size Kongs, Twist N’ Treats, Buster Cubes, and Atomic Treatballs/Molecuballs!

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