In a comment on my last post about activities to keep Penny thinking, Jess the Dog Shopper mentioned a game where dogs have to fetch a toy that matches the one the human is holding. (At least, I think that's what she meant.)
Well, of course that was an excuse to pop into my favorite pet shop, Murphy's in Hawthorn, to buy a set of new toys. I could have bought a new copy of a toy we already have, but I thought it would be better to get two new ones so they could age together, with the same appearance and smell.
Two toys looked good, so I bought a pair of each.
I was attracted to the little animal toys because the label said 'eco naturals' but when I got them home and looked, there was no information on the label about why they should be called 'natural'. And they're made in China. Seeing I have the greatest respect for Murphys as an ethical business, I'll assume the toys are as good as they look.
Penny loved the little creatures. They seem to have a squeaker and what might be a little crackly bottle inside. However, I don't let her have toys unsupervised, unless they are specifically 'home alone' toys like Kongs.
Anyway, back to the game. As I've learned from reading Honey's blog, I started with the simplest version of the game. Penny sat in the kitchen while I hid one little creature-toy. I came back with the other little creature in my hand, held it near Penny's nose so she could sniff it, and said 'Find this one'.
She already knows to wait in the kitchen after I've held a treat or a toy near her nose, waiting for me to hide it at the other end of the house. But this task is different, in that she sees me with a duplicate of what she's meant to find.
I was amazed. She shot off into the other end of the house and came back with the matching toy. Then she waited for her reward - the exactly identical one I was holding!
I guess it's a reward because she wants the one I have.
At last, at long last, we have a game that doesn't involve food. Hooray!
After we had played a few times with the little creatures, we played with the dumbell-ball toys.
Next step will be to put two different toys at the other end of the house and see whether she can bring the correct one back. But we won't move to that step until she's had lots of success with this simpler version.