June 9, 2013

Is My Dog Dumb, Or Just Not as Bored as I Thought?

... Or is she really, really smart?

Rita is usually fine with just a walk every morning and a bit of play time in the afternoon or evening. The rest of the day, she generally entertains herself checking things out in the yard, napping, and following me around. But she often has this bored-out-of-her-skull expression on her face.
"Ho-hum. Another day. Another 37 naps."

Plus there are the odd days here in So Cal when it's actually raining too much for a walk. For both these reasons, I thought I should find her some form of entertainment for when it's raining or when she just seems bored.

We started with a Tug-a-Jug.

She kinda hates it.
"I know the treats are in there, but they won't come out!"
I think she has a problem with it partly because she only really likes to play on the carpet (our wood floors are too slippery) and we don't have much carpeting for her to fling it around like a pup is supposed to in order to get the treats out. So she generally just gets frustrated with it and jams it up against something at an angle until a treat falls out.
When I saw the Holobal on Roxy the Traveling Dog's blog, I thought it looked much easier for getting treats out of, so I thought Rita might like it. We entered Roxy's giveaway and won! (Whoohoo!)

Rita was very excited when the Holobal arrived!
"Whoohoo! I won something AGAIN! What is it??"
"This looks cool, Momma!"

"Wait.. you put treats in here? Even cooler!"
But since then, she only will play with it if I play along. And by me "playing along" I mean, I play with the ball until the treats fall out, and then point them out to her. I try my darnedest (yummy treats, etc.) to entice her to play with it on her own, but nope. She only will play with it if I do too. I would have thought any self-respecting, constantly-pretending-to-be-starving pup would play with that thing until every last treat was out of there. But nope, not our girl.

So, either she's really dumb and can't even begin to figure out how to get the treats out (so she doesn't even try), or she's not as bored (or as a hungry) as she often seems to be. Or... she's really really smart and patient and is fine with waiting for me to get the treats out for her.

It's probably the latter. And I think that qualifies as Monday Mischief!

Thanks again to the gorgeous Roxy and Torrey for the Holobal! She does love the Holobal... as long as I'm playing along. Maybe I should try putting some cheese in it? I bet then she'd be all over it!
 Happy Monday Mischief!


  1. Funny, Slimdogy Jack loves his tug a jug. He lies down with it and holds it between his paws and turns it upside down...and works the treats out. I used to have to play with a similar type halobal with Maggie but after a few times, she's doing it on her own. She quits pretty fast, but is getting better.

  2. LOL that is our what we going to do today look? Usually it ends up in a walk. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Jeffie would say Rita is a smartie. In fact, only peanut butter in a Kong is worth his time and trouble. Otherwise, no matter the toy, no matter how yummy the treats... he is above all that silly stuff ;-) Rudy and Rosie? Highly entertained by anything involving food!

  4. Rita is training YOU, that's how smart she is ;-)

    You sure seem to win a lot of giveaways! You best be playing the lottery!

  5. I'm voting for really smart. I think dogs quickly learn how to train humans and are very patient in their approaches. I mean, really, what else do they have to do?

  6. BOL, ya cheese would be a good enticement. I'm glad she likes it though, even if she makes you play with her. I think she wants your company and has you all figured out.

  7. Luna loves her tug-a-jug, but we have plenty of room to flail around with it. The Holobal looks fun too! We will have to give that a try.

  8. It's all an act! I concluded several years ago that dogs are much smarter than we give them credit for - that is to say, smart enough to make us think they're dumb! And we think WE'RE training THEM!

  9. I've tried to do things like this with Leroy because he always looks so bored, but he also has a very short attention span!

  10. Ha ha ha! Rita has gotten you well trained. :)

    Honey loves all kinds of food toys. And although she's much more interested in playing with us than playing by herself, she will entertain herself with a food toy.

    I think it's because we started her right off as a puppy. Her first food toy was a soda bottle. We put her kibble in it, turned it upside down, and showed her how to knock it over. As she got smarter, we gave her more complicated toys.

    All her meals are in a food toy so she's very motivated to figure them out. If Rita gets her regular meals in a bowl, she may wonder why you're making her work so hard for a treat. :)

  11. LOL I love Rita, she reminds me of Sampson. He would do the same thing.

    Delilah would eat the container if she couldn't figure out how to get the treats!

  12. BOL I love Rita's idea of play! Kelly has tug a jug and loves it, but watch out, it ends up flying around the house and crashing into furniture and walls. She has mastered the trick to getting out the treats so it isn't much of a challenge any more. I think that Rita is probably a very content dog who is living the good life!

  13. My 2 nephews (an English Bulldog and a Boston Terrier) would LOVE that thing!

  14. I love that. Huffle would just reject the toy entirely if he had to work for it, or he'd whack it over to us - he's just not interested in figuring things out :)

  15. Hehe I have to agree with the latter too!

  16. They are so good at training US. I mean, why put forth effort if you can get the human to do it.
    Or maybe she just loves playing with you!

  17. Here's something to entertain her for long periods of time (and no humans involved after you set it up) - buy one (or 10) of those cow hooves at the per store and then shove a chunk of cheddar cheese way down into the pointy tip and give it to Rita. My dog Nigel will lick it for quite a while and he eventually ends up chewing on it!

  18. Li'l Girl loves her toys... some she chews as I suppose the manufacturer intended and they last a long time. Some she chews into smithereens and their lives are cut tragically short. Either way, she doesn't swallow any part of them. Austin, on the other hand, will absolutely obliterate any/every toy and often swallow the pieces he chews off. Sooo... we haven't tried any toys that you put food or treats into because we're afraid that it will only further encourage him to also eat the toy itself. It's too bad, because I think Li'l Girl would really enjoy such a toy. Or it would just really annoy her. She's kinda got a short fuse.
    Now me, I'm with Rita. "There's food in here. I want it. I do. But getting it out is stupid. You get it out. Then I'll eat it. Now get me out another piece. Yes, yes... good girl!" Well-played, Rita, well-played! ;)

  19. I'll bet it's the treats. You need to put some Beef Liver Taffy (Jones, of course) in there. Then she'd be all OVER it.

  20. I see she has trained you well. I say smart, very smart. :)

  21. Haha - I guessed she was actually super clever and was getting you to do all the work! Actually I'm sure she'd love some cheese in there too! :)

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  22. I think she wants more interaction with you so by your playing with her toys she gets it and she gets the treat without having to do the work :) Smart dog!

  23. The Holoball looks neat!

    My Elka has trouble differentiating between "play by yourself' toys and "play with people" toys. Or just wants to play with people with everything!

  24. Gizmo is right there with Rita...I've tried two different types of treat dispensing toys and he totally ignores both of them...I say it's "smarts" and knowing that sooner or later I'll break down and feed him no matter what and I'm sure it's the same with Rita.


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