As thrilling as curling was to watch at the Olympics, I'm not sure if it tops the pouncy, bouncy, giggly (ok, that's me) fun that occurs when Hermes plays "Where's the Rabbit?"
It started off with a need for entertainment during the cold winter months. Hermes and Dash are not snow dogs, in fact they can barely make it back inside from doing their business if the weather is too blustery. We needed a game that would let them exercise their brain so that they wouldn't go stir crazy. Last winter I got one of those dog puzzles that have little compartments for treats. The idea is they have to figure out how to lift a lid, move a lever, slide a door, etc in order to find the treat underneath. Well, they both figured this out after the 2nd or 3rd try and then it was a mad race for Hermes to find the treats by just digging at the toy as fast as he could. He got that puzzle down to a winning 20 seconds. (So much for mental stimulation.)
This year it's all about the rabbit. Where's the Rabbit is basically hide and seek. Hermes covers his eyes..... :D (Ok, ok. But, it's a fun visual isn't it?!) I tell Hermes to stay while I go in the other room and hide the toy rabbit. Then I say, "Where's the rabbit?" and he comes running. He searches high and low for the rabbit and when he finds it I cheer and clap and squeak the rabbit when he drops it for me to hide again. The fun part for me is I try and give him hints as to where the rabbit is. (He has NO idea how to follow a pointed finger and I have no idea how to teach that particular necessity. If anyone has any pointers [ha!] I'd love to teach it to him.) Ok, back to the game... While he's looking for the rabbit, I just keep saying, "where's the rabbit?" and if he is in the wrong place I'll say something like, "not over theeerrrre." If he is close and just doesn't see it, I make encouraging noises like, "oo-oo, so close, Hermes!" (This is where I end up giggling because he puts his head in cubby holes and boots, or climbs up on the back of the couch to get a better look. It's obvious that he loves the game.) :)
To start off with, I always hid the rabbit in plain site. Here are some pictures from our first round:
He figured the game out quickly, and since it's never in plain sight anymore he checks every place that he's ever found that rabbit. Hermes loves this game and I have to admit, so do I. He gets so excited when he finds it! It's like watching little kids hunt for Easter eggs. ;)
Dash likes to play Where's the Rabbit, too, but not as much as Find the Treat... (this is my husbands very lazy version of the game and not anywhere near as much fun).
If your dog is going stir crazy from not getting to go outside, I encourage you to try something like this. Exercising their brain is important on so many levels. It not only tires and helps calm very energetic dogs, but it actually helps to slow the aging process in senior dogs. Here is a short article that I thought you might like if you have one of those dogs who has a constant supply of energy:
Mental vs. Physical Stimulation For Your Dog.
Enjoy your week!