Fun is a Cardboard Box

My guide dog, Opal love her toys. She is particularly fond of her ‘skibble ball’. Don’t go looking for anything by that name at the doggie toy store because you won’t find it. There are many variations of this ball. It’s one of the ‘smart’ toys that challenges your dog. It is a hollow, rubbery ball with a small hole in which you can deposit a few pieces of kibble. The hole has a short tubular entrance leading into the ball’s core which ensures that when your dog propels it around on the floor by using their shcnoz in an attempt to shake the kibble out, the skibble will not fall out too easily. Guide dogs enjoy toys that offer a challenge. These dogs are problem solvers in their jobs, so playtime needs to be stimulating too. Opal has tried several methods to get to the skibble out ( we adopted that word because my computer ‘spellcheck’ insists that is how to properly spell ‘kibble’). She has tried picking it up in her mouth (it’s less than 5″ in diameter) and heaving it across the room. Once she dropped it from her perch on the sofa (oops, did I just confess that she’s allowed up on the furniture?). My smart cookie figured out that when there are many pieces of kibble in the ball, there is a greater probability that they will drop out faster. So, when it gets ‘low’ on skibble, she brings it to me, expecting a top-up and a fast track to the skibble. Playing skibble ball would become a never-ending activity, if Opal had her way. I don’t want a 200 pound dog, so we vary the toys. Good, safe dog toys can be expensive. ‘Good’ is the operative word. You can pay a lot of money for something that is totally boring to your dog (dog toys are marketed for the owners). Opal’s favourite? A cardboard box. Give the girl an empty cardboard box and she is one happy dog! I discovered this accidentally when I was in the 4-month packing phase before moving. She just picked one up and took off. The chase was on. Serious ripping and shredding ensued combined with some tug-of-war. Sure, there is plenty of cardboard shrapnel to collect after, but the sheer joy she we have playing with it for five minutes is well worth it to both of us. Fun is a cardboard box. I save one or two boxes in my closet which I bring out when we need that special play time. I make sure to clean it all up. Opal won’t eat any of it, but some dogs might. Use your judgement with the toys (improvised or otherwise) you give your dog.

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2 responses to “Fun is a Cardboard Box

  1. That is so true. Things you wouldn’t think of as a toy usually young kids and or animals LOVE them. Shocker loved the wrapping paper rolls. After the rolls were empty and usually all around Christmas she had the time of her life playing with them. I can’t wait till Christmas to see if Watkins, my new dog, loves them the same.

  2. Absolutely! Kids and dogs are pretty much cut from the same cheesy cloth.

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