Yeah, yeah. This week’s K9 Kamp Challenge is actually called “Play With Your Balls.” I was afraid if I used those exact words in the title of this post I’d start getting all sorts of weird search engine terms linked to my site. After over two years of remaining creep-free, I’d like to keep it that way. (Isn’t “pimp dog” bad enough?)
Besides, we have started training some basic disc dog skills in the hopes of adding another dog sport to our list of hobbies. It’s been a blast so far and Shiva has picked it up quickly. I have already made a bet with my PH that Shiva will probably end up competing in disc dog before she ever enters an agility trial. When I saw that the second K9 Kamp challenge related to retrieving, I knew I’d be forgoing “fun with balls” for “dancing with discs.”
Disc games definitely qualify as exercise. Not only does Shiva have to run and retrieve, she also has to catch the disc mid-air. Bonus points if she catches it with all four paws off the ground. All that jumping is hard work!
The exercise for me comes into play in learning how to throw the disc properly. It’s not an ability I was born with. If I want Shiva to be able to catch it, I need to throw it high enough, close enough, and hopefully in the same direction in which she is running. It’s not easy! More often than not the disc ends up hitting a tree. Or my head.
Another game we enjoy is Monkey in the Middle. In this case, “Doggie in the Middle.” We have used balls, discs, tug toys, and even treats. I will stand on one end and my PH will be on the other, with Shiva in between. We throw the toy back and forth between us in the air, doing our best to prevent Shiva from snatching it. It is a great game for encouraging drive for an object. Shiva goes crazy when she sees something flying back and forth in front of her that she can’t have. Keeping her away is a real work-out. If she does beat us to the toy, we play a quick game of tug and then start all over again.
Tragically, we had a lot of fun participating in the challenge outdoors all weekend but when I remembered I needed photos for the blog post, the weather grew cold and rainy. Thus, the only pictures I have of our fun are blurry indoor ones. I need to glue my camera to my forehead or something so I have some better ones of the next challenge.
Adapting a ball challenge for The Cat was even more difficult. Believe it or not, he does enjoy playing with such toys, albeit kitty-sized versions, but he is a cat so he usually prefers to play solo. I think the hardest thing about K9 Kamp for cats is finding a way for us to exercise together at the same time. If I move too quickly, he gets freaked out and runs away. It’s like he thinks I am going to jump on him or something.
This week, I worked on getting him to bat at the ball when I rolled it near him. I took any movement from him as success. Sometimes I had to be sneaky. I’d roll the ball towards him and then walk away to watch him around the corner. He doesn’t like to play if he thinks it’s what I want him to do. But if I appear completely uninterested, he’ll often come around on his own.
In that sense, playing with the cat is the complete opposite of playing with Shiva. With the dog I have to act like a lunatic, leaping around and acting like the toy is the best thing in the whole world. With the cat, I have to act like a bump on a log.
If it wasn’t for the laser pointer (best. cat toy. ever.) I don’t know if I’d ever be able to play with the cat at all.