Friday, January 6, 2012

Fridays are Golden

We think our girls are very smart.  So we decided to give them "educational" gifts this year.  We picked up a couple of toys into which we put little treats.  Both toys require that the dogs figure out a way to get to the treats.  One toy is a hard plastic bottle.  A rope is attached to the stopper so the dog has to push, not pull, the rope while turning the bottle slightly upward.  If the bottle is turned completely upside-down the stopper again covers the opening.  So there is a very fine margin between tilting the bottle enough to get the treats and tilting it so far that the stopper drops to cover the hole.

Both dogs were really interested.

 Ellie decides to use the rope as a chew toy.

 Ellie gave up on the bottle and Lucy checked it out.  Neither of them ever figured how to get the treats out of the bottle.  They had no further interest in it, so another wasted twenty bucks at the pet store.

 Lucy worked with the other toy but didn't seem to grasp the idea.

 In a quick minute Ellie figured out how to get to the treats.

 Lucy immediately joined her and started snatching the treats as soon as Ellie got them out.

 Bored with one toy empty of treats and the other toy which never gave up any of the treats, the girls went back to squirrel duty.  One of their favorite activities is guarding the deck.  They know how I hate those beady-eyed little monsters.
I am fairly certain I heard Lucy complain, "Next year they will probably give us clothes!"

The puzzles are designed to keep dogs busy especially when you are away.  These two toys would not keep the girls occupied very long.  Once they ate all the treats (in a matter of a few minutes) they had no further interest in one of the toys.  They totally ignored the toy that had stumped them.  They were not interested in it despite the visible and aromatic treats inside.  Fortunately, our dogs have no separation anxiety at all.  In fact, I think they rather like being in charge of the house.  We often leave them all day and hire a dog walker to drop by the house and take them for a walk.

Here it is 2012!  And so we begin a new year.   Hal Borland, best known for his nature books and his editorials in the New York Times had an interesting take on the beginning of the year:

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."

So friends, let's just keep on going on.



troutbirder said...

I'm glad they figured it out or I might have had to recomment you consider getting a chimpanzee. My Baron remains utterly fixated on his mega squeeky tool. No attention deficent there. I'm hoping to out and about on the back country roads with Mrs. T looking for the irruption of snowy owls visiting southern Mn. A week or so and she should be a full tilt after recovering from her surgery. :)

Rudee said...

Squirrel patrol is serious work! They should be thankful for the job security.

I loved the New Year quote.

NanaNor's said...

Hi, What a tough toy for a dog to figure out-I know there are some that would master it in a minute but for many I think it would be tough.
Love that your dogs are fine when you are away. Have a wonderful weekend.
Hugs, Noreen

Arkansas Patti said...

Ha, I am not sure I could have figured out the first toy.
How nice that they have each other and don't mind occasionally being left alone.

Ms. A said...

Isn't it fun watching their brains work!

Vicki Lane said...

Hmm, I wonder if that would work for Willa. At the moment I rely on empty soda bottles and rawhide chewies to keep her entertained.

Love the Borland quote!

KGMom said...

Educational toys? Please don't tell our dog--not only did we NOT get her anything for Christmas, but we even went on vacation while she stayed in a kennel. Of course, she is so friendly that she loves being there.
Happy New Year to you and your special golden girls.

George said...

I think it's great that Ellie figured out how to get treats from the second toy. I think they would rather guard the deck anyway.

Berts Blog said...

I just hope My Vickie never buys me one of them educational toys. I would be so emberassed if I didn't figure it out.

See, up till now, she thinks I am pretty smart.

I'd hate to ruin her illusion.

Taradharma said...

you have saved many of us a $20 expense. Thank you!

Happy New Year first weekend! Maybe you'll get some snow soon....the girls seem to like it.

Cheryl said...

Such fun. Nella shows abssolutely no interest in toys, apart from balls etc, anything that she can chase and retrieve.
I had a cavalier (who are supposed to be of low intelligence), she could get any food, out of any toy and would not rest until she had.
Have not had a dog like it since:)
I must add, she was food obsessed........

D.K. Wall said...

We have tried various toys, but they either don't last or they never get touched. Basically, The Herd would rather play with each other than any toy.

Karin said...

That's an interesting story about your two beauties! Maybe they'll figure out the first toy when you're not watching and documenting with your camera, lol! They do have each other for companionship which probably eliminates any separation anxiety! Just wondering if the squirrels are quick to leave when they see your dogs? Sure hope their worst fears about getting clothes for next Christmas won't give sleepless nights!

Love the idea that time-wise we just keep going, keep trekking, keep hiking with our backpack of experiences - not burden baggage - we can leave our heavy burdens at the cross and continue light-hearted! At least those are my thoughts from your post! Thanks!

Golden Samantha said...

Girls look lovely - it's been too long! We once purchased the purple toy for Sammie, and she never "got" it either, although she's gotten several other stumpers! Just as you wrote... no interest after the first few minutes! I think it's great that you can leave the girls all day with a walker to come in - since two or three years ago, when Sammie ate that "glove," I've never trusted her again - trying sometimes to keep arranging for their care! Lucky they like the job of clearing your decks of squirrels!

Anonymous said...

I am fairly certain I heard Lucy complain, "Next year they will probably give us clothes!" >>> that made me LAUGH! :-D Those sweet babies!

(and thank you for your comment about the Petey novella *smiling* appreciate your support so much!)

Carolina Linthead said...

Your girls are fascinating and beautiful, as always. Glad they like having the house to their own. Hope it is a very good year for all of you!

Nat and Baileys the Goldie said...

I love reading about your goldies. Be warned, my goldie has the purple toy; she has learned that it is very effective if she bounces the bottle off my husband's legs, feet and even head to remove the treats :-)

Busy Bee Suz said...

Your girls make me laugh. Seriously though, I hear there is a huge calling for "squirrel duty officers"...those girls could be making cold hard cash right now!

Our dogs have no separation anxiety; thankfully. I've left them up to 7 hours if need be and they are just fine. Of course, I feel guilty about this....I think 4-5 hours is more to their liking. Usually, they are in the same spot as when I've left! (lazy!!)

Love the New Year quote!! Wishing you and yours a beautiful and memorable 2012!

How Sam Sees It said...

We can't leave those toys with our boys - if Sam get's desperate enough he has been known to crack those open. I think he might be an oddball retriever with that ability - but we are very careful about it!


KB said...

We bought that same bottle with a rope toy for our dogs. We have only hardwood floors, and in their futile attempts to get the treats, they made a cacophony of bangs that gave us both headaches. Yup, another $20 down the drain...

We find that the very best "toys" for our dogs are kongs. We freeze dog food into them, and give the dogs kongs when we go out or as extra special treats. They ADORE them.

I hope that you're having a squirrel-free weekend! You'd be horrified by our road's email group - the latest thread is about driving more slowly because one of our rare Abert's squirrels was seen squished on the road. Hmm, I thought, NCMtnWoman wouldn't approve of this discussion :)

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Dogs are so funny with what toys they like and don't like. Our first dog LOVED a sock ball....made out of old socks rolled up together, top one turned inside out. We have a basket of old dog toys....left all alone.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Troutbirder - Hope you find your owls. Glad to hear Ms T is doing well.

Vicki - Another thing that my friend uses is empty toilet paper rolls. She puts a treat inside and uses masking tape to close off both ends. Doesn't make a huge mess and keeps her dog busy.

Donna - I did at least stop my husband from wrapping the toys in tissue paper.

Cheryl - Persistence will help a great deal in solving any puzzle. Our girls will simply give up and walk away rather than take on a challenge like your spaniel.

Karin - The squirrels pretty much ignore the girls at the window. But they watch closely to see if we are getting ready to open the door. If so, they scamper quickly to the safety of the trees.

Sammie and Avalon Mom - We are so lucky that neither dog has ever grabbed a sock or glove. I would be like you if they did and never trust them outside the crate when we were gone.

Nat and Bailey - Thanks for dropping by. Actually the girls have not even smelled the toy since Christmas morning. If they start bouncing it off me, it will disappear. I did get a laugh imagining your dog figuring a unique way to stump the toy.

Sam - Ellie did try to get to the treat by biting on the bottle. Perhaps I should put it away.

KB - Oh, that would make quite a noise on hardwood! I'm all for protecting squirrels...just not in my back yard.