How to Up the Fun While You and Your Dog Hunker Down
- Cristina Stavro
Waiting out the storm in a tent at basecamp is as much a part of the adventure as the push to the summit.
Right now, the human and canine employees of the Ruffwear Pack have shifted to working from home in an effort to help protect the health of our community.
As we hunker down with our dogs, we're getting creative about keeping their stoke high while indoors. And, we're being mindful about ways to get outside and soak up some fresh air with them – and giving space to those who are trying to do the same.
Here's what the pack is up to these days.
Caroline & Atka
"Atka's favorite toy is her Gnawt-a-Stick. We have started playing this new game to work on her "stay". I fill the Gnawt-a-Stick with peanut butter, hide it upstairs and make her wait downstairs. When I come downstairs, I say "find", then she can go upstairs and look for it. She has found it 23/23 times. Let's go!"
Liz & Bernie
"We play 'hide-and-seek' indoors as a way to reinforce good recall. It's great enrichment that you can do without leaving the house. We start small in the living room. I ask Bernie to 'stay' then I find somewhere to hide, like behind the couch. I ask Bernie to 'come' with lots of positive energy in my tone. When he finds me, I reward him with a treat and praise him verbally (lots of 'Good Boy's and 'Smart Dog's).
Then I ask Bernie to stay again while I find a new hiding spot. We can play this game for 15 or 20 minutes before taking a break to chill. It really seems to wear him out and strengthen our bond."
Elise, Bailey & Ubu
"I have been working on a painting of Broken Top with Bailey and Ubu by my side! Something I haven't done in years!"
Elena, Baya, Millie & Rio
"We are practicing our "place!" command and brushing up on extra tricks and skills!"
Cristina & Lennon
"It'll be my first summer with Lennon this year, so while we're indoors a little more than usual right now, we're laying the groundwork for future SUP adventures. I brought the paddleboard in from the garage to let the two of them get acquainted. So far, lots of treats, toys, and "Good Girl"s has Lennon stoked on the SUP – so stoked that she's taken to napping on the SUP instead of her bed."
Vita, Lucky & Coco
Liz & Bernie
"We have been practicing the game 'Heel, Jog, Run (Slow, Wait)'. If we notice others on the trail, I guide Bernie away from them using 'Heel' and positive food reward, so that we both have a social distance from others also trying to enjoy the fresh air. This has been great physical and mental stimulation, and has gotten me to laugh-out-loud a number of times."
Kelly & Junie
"We get out for a sunrise run. The early morning hours are less frequented, making it easier to respect that whole 3-6 feet COVID-19 buffer. It’s hard to get out of bed, even harder to step out into the winter cold, but the benefits of getting the blood pumping and getting the wiggles out of your best friend and coworker far outweigh the struggle to get out there.
Pro Tip: starting in the dark by headlamp and timing your run to maximize the sunrise will make even an urban jaunt feel like a magnificent outdoor adventure!"
Monica, Giles & Alta
"We've made a goal to spend time on a trail every day! So far we've done some trail running, hiking, and skiing. Nothing like a little fresh air to keep those tails wagging!"
Brad & Umi
"For me, having a training plan to stick to has been super helpful and Umi is the best motivator to go spend time running outside. It's impossible to not be excited when she sees me pull out my running shoes!"
Alli & Riggins
"Riggins and I have been getting outside to play in the snow that arrived over the weekend. Some of our favorite activities include ski touring and searching for pine cones under the snow. We've found peace and comfort in the fresh blanket of white that covered our landscape these past few days."