Fun Time. This is one of the keys to keeping spirits buoyant. Take the¬†time to laugh at the fun antics and/or be the clown for them. This can help¬†for a number of reasons:
1. It gets everyone out of their heads to¬†experience joy together.
2. It gives you the opportunity to connect.
3. Creating some sort of ritual that is fun can distract them if they are stuck¬†in a state (i.e. nervous, on attack).
4. It can create a reward for good¬†behavior.
5. It can create bonding between the animals in the household.
I had Olivia since she was a puppy and then I adopted Isabella who¬†was very shy. Olivia always ran around the house with a toy very proudly¬†and I called it ‚ÄėToy Parade‚Äô. Olivia taught every dog that came to the¬†house about Toy Parade. Isabella the new dog, at the time, didn‚Äôt buy it. Initially,¬†Isabella slowly engaged in Toy Parade. And then she took full pride in the Toy¬†Parade. It made me laugh and clap, and it would bring up the energy in a minute. I¬†could use this to distract Isabella when she was nervous about something¬†because this was our game. And since Olivia invented it ‚Äď she always¬†proudly jumped in.
They taught this to Colt, a Jack Russell, Sophie a Pug, Carriss Corgi,¬†and the list goes on‚Ä¶
Toy Parade also became a security when we would go somewhere new. You¬†can also use a fun ritualistic game as a way to channel the excess energy¬†into some form of expression.
When I would walk through the door, Olivia and Isabella acted as if I had been gone forever. If I had my hands full or couldn‚Äôt quite have the desired moment of hello ‚Äď I could turn¬†the chaos into a Toy Parade in a minute and we could all catch our breath.
I can also be used as a reward after a good walk or a few minutes of obedience. Olivia would use it to engage other dogs when they came over to visit. It is really quite¬†fun.
On rainy days it would get everyone moving when we didn‚Äôt feel like going out.
At the time, I lived in the Seattle area, and we had rain!! Toy Parade was also fun for
them to do while I was working out ‚Äď then it was like we were all working out¬†together.¬†Because what we all need is…
(See next week)
What do you do for Fun Time with your animals?