We got soaked this morning. Again. The weather has not been kind to us lately. It warmly gifted a glorious Sunday as if trying to justify a week worth of showers, but threw us back into wet and gloomy reality of wet paws and endless blow-dries in the early hours of Monday.
We returned from our walk looking like three seals. Not that anyone cared. Pups were happy – and I was pleased that we got out and stuck to the routine. By the time the blow-dry was over, the soft sun bounced out from the frothy clouds and things suddenly felt optimistic.
The pups settled down for a nap and I decided to write a little post about dealing with bad weather in the most productive way and ensure that your cocker spaniel is happy and satisfied.
Start your day by stepping outside. Even if it seems totally insane, do your best to have a walk in the morning. Your cocker will be grateful for every minute spent checking the neighbourhood, sniffing the grass and splashing through the puddles. Be mentally prepared for a long blow dry that will follow and if necessary, set yourself some extra time to have it done without messing up the rest of plans for the day.
Break your day into chunks and add 2-3 15-minute training sessions. Let your dog learn something new or practise the tricks he already knows.
Play the “find food” game. Hide pieces of kibble around the room (on the floor, in corners, hidden under scattered toys or towels, or left on chairs and sofa) and let your dog hunt for them.
Use brain and puzzle toys. They are created to suit different levels of difficulty, so you can get a few and swap them around. Start with level 1 to get the pup an idea of what to do, get to level 2 when he feels comfortable (and perhaps slightly bored) with the level 1 and move onto level 3 if your dog becomes an expert! Then you can alternate between all three – some can be used as feeders, others – to tire the brain and boost your dog’s confidence.
Choose between treat dispensing toys like Bob-a-Lot, Wobbler, Turn Around or Busy Buddy, puzzle toys including Tornado Treat Toy, Puzzle Wheel, Brick Board or Dog Casino, or simply DIY by hiding treats inside empty boxes, egg containers, rolled towel. inside scrunched up wrapping paper, or even a muffin baking tin when you cover each piece of kibble with a tennis ball.
Play the “magic” trick by hiding a piece of kibble in one of your hands and letting your dog sniff it out. Alternatively, hide the treat under three identical cups and ask your cocker find it.
Name your toys together! Pick a toy to play with your pup and remember to always name it when you hold it or throw it or ask the spaniel to find it. Eventually your dog will associate each toy with a name, so you can progress by asking him to go and get “ducky” or “teddy” from the toy basket.
Organise a pup date. Invite your dog’s best fur friend and his or her parents around for a play date. You can enjoy a conversation and a cup of tea while the pups will entertain each other.
Have a cuddle. Even the most energetic dog would enjoy a quiet moment spent next to you on a sofa. Make a cosy “nest” of blankets and pillows, choose a movie or a book and let your baby sleep on your lap.
After all, you just had a day of fun together – whatever the weather. Now it’s time to relax…
Photo source: Coop photographed by me