The New Game

Silas can’t have a lot of things to chew because he’s allergic to them. The ones he’s not allergic to are expensive, so they’re special occasion only. We’ve mostly filled this gap with cardboard boxes. Silas loves tearing up a good box, and he’s always very careful not to eat the pieces.

He has now used the cardboard boxes to invent a new game. Problem is, I don’t understand it. At all.

He will get a little scrap of tape off the box, then bring it to me, proudly. “Look what I’ve got!” If I act like I don’t notice it, he will push it further out of his mouth. “Don’t you see? I brought you this!”

Then he will act like he wants me to play.

This is where things get murky. If I reach up to take the tape, or the little piece of cardboard, or whatever it is, he shies away. Not like he’s playing–it seems more like a legitimate “I’m really uncomfortable with you reaching for my mouth to take this thing.” (He is not a resource guarder, so I have no qualms about respecting his rules.)

If I hold out my hand, he puts his face in it and play bows. “Why aren’t you playing tug with this? I’m trying to give it to you. See?!” If I can grab it at this stage, he’ll play tug, but who wants to play tug with a wet piece of packing tape?

I thought, “Okay, he wants to trade this for a treat.” So I ask him to give it to me, he spits it out, he gets his treat. Then he looks puzzled, finds a new cardboard, and starts the whole thing over again.

I’m perfectly happy to practice “give” with him; it’s one of his weaker commands. (He’s 100% consistent with it IF he can see the treat.) I just can’t help the feeling that I am somehow disappointing him.

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4 thoughts on “The New Game

  1. Hmmm, Sampson will pull away but it is because he wants us to chase after him and tug whatever it is he is withholding. I’ve got nothing on this one.

    As for the treats, have to seen those stuffed bones? http://www.amazon.com/Stuffed-Bone-Small-Peanut-Butter/dp/B000BYAED8

    We have a number of them around the house and they’ve been well cleaned out. I’ve taken to re-stuffing them with the treat of my choice (mostly pumpkin, applesauce, yogurt or cream cheese) now he might be allergic to what comes inside the bone, but if you scoop it out good and scrub it clean (I use the turkey baster cleaner brush or a bottle brush will work just as well) you can restuff and freeze it for some lovely chewing time.

    My guys get one every night. I usually frost one end with pumpkin in the morning and let it freeze during the day, then stand it on end and fill it with whatever else I have, re-freeze for a couple of hours and they have a really nice, healthy chew just before bed. 🙂

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    1. Oh, I’ll have to look into the bones. Amazon doesn’t give a full enough ingredient list for my allergy dog.

      The pulling back might be a chasing thing. He almost always wants my husband to chase him, though, rather than me. (I am slow. My husband runs a seven minute mile for kicks.)

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  2. Oh Silas, what a funny boy! My blind girl Breeze (who looks amazingly similar to Silas) also loves to rip up paper and cardboard. Her favourite thing is empty the recycle bin and shred paper all over the porch and yard. Then it’s an interactive fun time as I attempt to clean it up! Sure, it’d be easier to put her in the house as I clean it up, but where is the fun in that?!

    Just wondering, could Silas have a marrow bone from the grocery store? I buy them for my pack on occasion and they are very popular. Sometimes difficult to find smallish ones though, so when I do see them, I buy them and freeze until I have enough for everyone. After a few weeks, I often will stuff them with a bit of canned and kibble, yogurt, pumpkin, etc and freeze (as I do for the Kongs).

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    1. Cindy, right now there isn’t anything Silas is approved to eat that produces marrow bones. He’s still only able to eat turkey and duck. My November plan is to try reintroducing lamb, which would put marrow bones back on the menu.

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