Archive for the ‘Amusing the Aussie’ category


November 12, 2012

Playing is the work of puppies.  Cookie takes her job very seriously.


From the start until the end of Cookie’s day, she seeks someone or something to have fun with.  Inside the house she has a collection of toys including a soft fuzzy ball we can throw without breaking anything (hopefully), a purple wubba, rope toys for tugging and toys that dispense treats when they are rolled over and over.  But Cookie doesn’t limit herself to playing just with those…socks, slippers, tupperware, and just about anything else she gets ahold of that will get one of us up and running after her in Cookie’s mind qualify as toys.  And while we four humans in the family are her preferred playmates, Cookie will happily “play” (or harass really) with S’more Cat if she encounters her.  Outside in the yard, there is an arsenal of dog toys too, but she prefers to chases squirrels, raid the garage and run out with whatever random object she can grab (usually something smelly from the trash), and rummage through the sticks, leaves, acorns and black walnuts that cover the ground these days.  There are soccer balls and squeaky Kong balls, but these are no fun unless one of us is out there to throw them for her.  On her walks, Cookie takes the leash in her mouth and “walks” us, trying hard to get us to run along with her.  She looks for big branches to drag along while she trots. She dives into the leaf and (now) snow piles. But the most fun of all for Cookie is playing with her fellow neighborhood dogs. This morning for example, at our local spot for letting the dogs frolic off-leash, Cookie played with two black labs and a standard poodle. She “herded”, ran, tussled, pounced upon, was pounced upon, chased balls, and tugged on toys and sticks with these dogs for about an hour.  Encounters like this are the best thing for Cookie, satisfying both her needs for dog-company (she really is a social-animal) and exercise.  Cookie’s playful soul can lift my own spirits when I’m in the middle of household tasks that aren’t fun.  For example, often when I’m at the sink washing dishes, I’ll suddenly feel a cold wet nose and plush ball pressing into the back of my leg. Dishes aren’t important to my dog, and in that moment, as I stop my work and reach for the ball, they become much less important to me too.  I think the greater message is that sometimes I just need to stop working so hard and play a little…and that Cookie’s here to help me with that!  Warm and Fuzzies, Diana



Loving the Leaves

October 26, 2012

Cookie here!  My first Fall season has been full of lots of fun…

and lots of leaves!

I’ve been loving the cooler days, and all the great sticks I’m finding down on the ground during my walks.  Most of all, I am loving all the leaf piles.  Sure they’re great to jump on, but the real fun is burrowing and tunneling in them.  Here’s a little demonstration:

The leaves just keep on falling around here, and the leaf piles grow bigger by the day, which means more fun for me.  When was the last time YOU jumped in a leaf pile?  Go ahead, play like a puppy!  Woofs, Cookie

P.B. & Me

September 26, 2012

An almost-empty jar of peanut butter makes a great toy and treat for me!

When my family has scraped out all that they can from the peanut butter jar, and there’s just not enough for one more sandwich, they do something wonderful – they remove the label and lid and give me the jar.  This happens outside in the yard, so my paws don’t spread the peanut butter in the house.  First I blissfully extract as much peanut butter from the jar as I possibly can.  And then I have fun carrying, nosing and batting around the jar until it ends up in the recycling bin.  

I love all kinds of dog treats, but peanut butter may be my favorite.   Your dog probably is a nut for peanut butter too, so, the next time you’re at the end of a jar, (and provided it’s a plastic one) offer it to your dog!  They’ll be glad you did.   And remember, watch over their fun and remove the jar when it shows signs of chewing and wear.

With Woofs, Cookie



June 21, 2012

While there are endless puppy toys for sale out there, some of the best ones are everyday items from your own home.

Cookie scales the climbing wall to get to her homemade milk-jug toy.

For example, empty gallon-size milk/drink plastic jugs!  Above is an action shot of Sophia and Atticus playing with Cookie.  As they dangled a plastic milk jug on a string, Cookie scaled the rock wall in pursuit.  A solid half hour of fun, a lot for  a puppy!   Our dog trainer, Sarah Hodgson, told us early on that puppies love to play with empty plastic bottles, which they can scoot after across the floor, or play fetch with, or crunch or bat…bearing in mind you must keep an eye on the condition of the bottle and discard it when it becomes punctured.  (FYI: you really have to keep an eye on ALL doggie toys and bones to make sure they remain in good condition and are still safe in condition & size to chew.)  When we first started playing “skitterpins,” as Sarah calls it, with Cookie we used 12-oz water bottles.  When she was very small I used to like that she chewed on these, as they made lots of noise, and no matter what I was doing I could hear where she was in the house and what she was up to. (Those were the days before gates, friends.)  That game was a big hit, so we quickly move up to gallon-sized milk jugs – more bang for playtime and stronger plastic.  Right now in my back yard, there are 3 of them, very chewed up and dirty, and each dangling from a long string we drag around and hurtle through the air for her.  For added puppy bliss, you can place peanut butter around the rim of the bottle opening…but that’s just the cherry on the sundae of excellent play.  (Just so you know, puppies like ANYTHING better if it comes with peanut butter.)  Really these jugs are substitutes for sheep and they bring out the herding dog in Cookie.  In the spirit of the Aussie’s love of chasing sheep, I made an indoor toy for Cookie using a long pillowcase, which I stuffed with newspaper, knotted the end of, and attached it to a string.  This is Cookie’s indoor sheep for rainy days – it is fun for her to leap on (the paper makes a crinkly sound when she does) and she can drag and pull it around the house.  We can toss it or drag it on a string during playtime.  And when playtime is over, it makes a great pillow for a nap.  Hammocks are also great too! 

Cookie rests after a workout with Sophia

Don’t forget in this very hot weather to give your dog PLENTY of water and ice!   Warm & Fuzzy regards, Diana