One of my weekly dog visits is with an adorable six month old German Shepard Chow rescue mix.  Her name is Addy and she is very bright.  Her “mom and dad” are first time adult puppy owners.  Recently they brought home a smart squirrel toy for their dog.  http://www.ihelppets.com/Products/Hideasquirrel.html.  Addy has taken to this game with amazing enthusiasm and concentration.  The game has three adorable squirrel toys that are hiding in a plush “squirrel tree”.  Addy’s job is to get the squirrels and remove them from the tree.  It is so much fun to play with her when I visit her for her daily pet sitting walks.  The puzzle solving dog game helps develop intelligence and keeps her young mind busy. She is challenged to focus on the task at hand and in the process fun, entertainment and bonding take place between humans and canines.

All animals can benefit from smart toys and smart play and you don’t have to spend money.  I know that every pet owner can relate to what I have experienced with my kitten, Jasper.  I buy a toy and bring it home, completely excited…and sadly she wants nothing to do with it.  Instead she wants to hang out on my vanity when I am primping and steal my hair scrunchies.  I have given in and now refer to one of my velour silver hair scrunchies as “her baby”.  I place the scrunchy on faucets, door handles and more and encourage her to find a way to remove it.  Which she does and proudly prances away with the pitifully stretched scrunchy dangling from her mouth.  Purina offers advice on their blog about puzzles and smart play.  http://www.petcentric.com/Read/Articles/Smart-Active-Cats.aspx?articleid=89c401d6-3362-432a-b475-3c3ae00e3f79

“In addition to the usual cat games, where you dangle a cat toy or pull something on a string, try some games that make her think. Dangle a favorite cat toy over a high surface, so she has to figure out how to get up there. Hide treats in places that are a little difficult to get to. Start simple, by placing one under a can or cup. Work your cat’s mind up to solving more complex problems such as getting a treat out of a small box with an easy-to-remove lid. Hide small treats in various places throughout your house.”

If you want to hire a sitter or pet trainer in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area, visit www.yourneighborhoodpetsitter.com

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