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 ‘Toy Parade’. Olivia taught every dog that came to the house about Toy Parade. Isabella the new dog, at the time, didn’t 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 – she always proudly jumped in.
They taught this to Colt, a Jack Russell, Sophie a Pug, Carriss Corgi, and the list goes on…
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’t quite have the desired moment of hello – I could turn the chaos into a Toy Parade in a minute and we could all catch our breath.
It 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’t 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 – then it was like we were all working out together. Because what we all need is… Tip #5: Exercise!
What do you do for Fun Time with your animals?