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This Christmas Indulge Your Pooch With Some Proactive Playtime

By Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Author, Trainer, studied natural nutrition and therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT) 10 months ago 11115 Views

Balancing busy lives with dog ownership can be a juggling act, especially with the added pressures running through Christmas.

I have days even when Christmas isn’t on the horizon when I ‘guilt out’ that Prudence and Mr Binks aren’t getting enough attention while I’m absorbed on my laptop.

Punctuating our working day with at least two intense boosts of ‘proactive playtime’ enhances productivity. They’re also way more effective than a long training session.

Proactive Playtime is precision focus time that opens doors to turn your dog’s world into a game based on rules, teamwork and fun. With your dog’s focus and attention the sky’s the limit!

Whether we’re walking to heel, traveling on a bus or attending a gala evening, everything is a game for Prudence and Mr Binks.

Dogs are fun loving and there’s no better way of getting your dog’s attention and earn their respect as being ‘cool’ by being their source of fun.

From the get go I taught Prudence the art of a perfect ‘Fetch’ and the strict rules of playing a hugely enjoyable game of ‘Tug of War’.

A game of tug of war is especially good to keep up your sleeve to get your dog’s attention anywhere in any situation.

I wouldn’t dream of leaving home without a KONG Wubba in my bag when we were commuting from Shropshire to London (these are sold in Natural Instinct’s Camberley store).

I’d be seen playing tug with Prudence on Euston station platform. Motivating her if we had a monotonous wait, our game would keep her attention from the many distractions, not least pesky pigeons!

Proactive Playtime gives you the chance to really get to know your dog. It can be a chance to work through frustration, teach respect and sharing.

Remarkably Prudence’s spirit for ‘playing the game of life’ is admirable considering the innate belligerence of her breed.

She’s like a boomerang with her fetch, which I trained slowly but surely. Prudence knows how to keep my attention. She plays by the rule, which is to give the toy back to me directly after every throw.

I prefer simple rope based toys that Natural Instinct sells in store and online. Prudence is not allowed squeaky toys as they excite her too much.

There’s peace of mind with BECO’s ethical rubber as well as plenty of product choices for either a game of fetch or tug.

Up the ante and vary the reward scheme in your proactive playtime sessions. I use ‘play’ as a reward instead of food, or sometimes in addition to a tasty treat.

I keep a tuppaware in the fridge with a selection of finely chopped pieces of either Natural Instinct’s Beef Jerky or Lamb’s Lite’s. I’ll also intersperse this mix with some Natural Instinct dried Liver too.

This way I can vary the food rewards as part of our ‘proactive playtime’. Lamb’s Lites do hold a very high value, so I’ll train a new trick using these. But adding short games of tug as well, really ups the ante and faster learning.

There’s nothing that compares to the signatory erratic bounce of the iconic KONG. It adds a mental challenge to a game of Fetch as it will never go in the same direction twice. Natural Instinct also sell Kong’s in store and online.

Setting aside part of Prudence’s Natural Instinct daily allowance just for her KONG is a fabulous way of finishing our proactive playtime session.

Pru and KONG play

Getting stuck into a stuffed KONG settles her back into the grind of the day. I’ll get on the laptop with reassuring background ‘infantile’ slurping noises as she eats from her KONG.

Why not put 10 minutes aside every day through the Christmas holidays and have some fun with ‘proactive playtime’?

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