Since we’re expecting a little pup to join our family, the last few weeks have been all about making preparations. A dog bed, a new leash and harness, food, snacks, trainers and of course……loads of toys! Our older dog has been happy as a clamb exploring all the puppy stuff. Last but not least, I decided to make a little gift for the breeder who has put in so much work, time and love into the eleven(!) little rascals that were born 7 weeks ago. Today Storm did a little test run and I’ll show you how you can let your dog enjoy this game too.
So this one is called an Amish Puzzle Ball and was originally intended for babies. You can sew or crochet them, just Google the name and you’ll find the patterns easily. The puzzle ball is made up out of 12 little rugby balls adjoined until they form a ball with holes. I discovered this ball a few years ago and have made a lot of them for dogs, because the openings and the points where the seperate pieces are sewn together give you lots of possibilities to hide little dog treats in them.
Why and when
Playing with your dog and giving them exercise all serve different purposes serving one common goal: keeping your dog happy and healthy. Playing fetch improves your dogs condition and builds stamina, but there are other ways your dog needs to keep up its health. Mental health for dogs is just as important as a greath physical condition, and games such as the Puzzle Ball improves the mental health of your dog. After a game (taught well) your dog will be tired, satisfied and totally relaxed.
To offer your dog this game, it has to be under the right conditions. You can’t expect a fully rested, eager and pumped dog to concentrate and wait patiently, at that time some walking, running, cycling or playing fetch is a better choice. But when your dog has had its exercise and is moderately rested, when it’s pooring outside and you only go for a quick walk or when your dog is recovering from surgery, those are perfect moments for a little braintainment for your dog.
Patience, my puppy
The first and most important thing you must teach your dog is to have patience: wait for you to prepare the game, wait until it’s go-time. The best way to have your dog waiting until he can start playing is to have him (or her) lie down. This position makes it more easy for your dog to enjoy the game in a relaxed way. When your dog sits down or waits standing up, more adrenalin will be flowing.
The little game this Puzzle Ball entails don’t have to be too difficult. Your dog must see what it is you expect him to do, and when he gets that, you can make it a little more complicated by building up different steps for him to complete. Use your own creativity and if you experience difficulties, ask a professional dog trainer how you can set up games which are harder to solve and how you can train your dog to increase their ability to solve these problems. You will be amazed how smart your doggy really is.
When the fun is over
At the point where all the treats have been found and eaten and my dog has convinced himself everything is really, really, really gone, I clean the lot up. I never leave games like this lying around, because then nothing will be special about it. Also, hygiene is an important factor to take into account. Every game your dog can play with must be washable. So this ball went straight into the washing machine and when we go pick up our little pup in a few days, they will recieve this ball as a fresh and clean gift
If you’re a sewaholic like me, this ball will be peanuts for you to make. Some scraps of fleece or cotton fabric and a bunch of fiberfill filling is all it takes. If you have some fishing line lying around that will be perfect to join the little parts together, if not just use some heavy duty thread. For those who would rather buy than make: you can order a ball for your own dog in my webshop. There are different sizes and color options, even having your dogs (or kennel’s in this case) name embroidered upon it is optional. In the future more of these dog toys will be added to my collection and webshop.
Thanks for reading! Please leave a message and let me know if you tried this!