Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fun With A Box

It was just a box. A cardboard box. A box most people would cut up and recycle. And I would recycle eventually. But for now I eyed it with visions of all the possibilities of what puppy Melissa could do with it.

She has many interactive toys. But a box would be a bit different. What fun to disassemble, by pulling, dragging, carrying, pawing and chewing...and finally opening the box. No big deal to clean up some cardboard afterward. I would have a tired puppy, and one who had the chance to be creative. It would be a good rainy day game.

And so it was. The rain came this week. Actually a deluge, at the end of January with snow and ice already on the ground. Creeks were overflowing and causing flooding. Warnings of ice jams along river banks, and road closings filled the news.

Perfect day to be indoors and try out the box. I needed something that would entice Melissa to stay with the game of playing and opening the box. I let her watch me fill the box with some of her moist food (which would be more interesting...and smelly, then dry food). I let her put her long muzzle inside to take a taste. I then closed the top of the box loosely and placed it on a sheet I had spread on the ground and watched the fun begin.

She poked, she pushed, she picked up the box by the corner and shook it.

She dropped it, she pawed at it.

She poked a bit harder loosening the top. Melissa was getting closer to the food, her nose was leading the way, the food was keeping her in the game.

Melissa was learning how to deal with a tiny bit of frustration and also a bit of patience. She wanted something and in order to get it, she needed to work a bit harder and stay in the game to get what she wanted. She was not only using her neck muscles, her paws, her eyes, and her nose following the scent of meat, she was engaging her mind.

And finally, she had her nose inside the box and began eating.

Fun for Melissa, a good rainy day game. It took Melissa more than 20 minutes to work at getting that box open. It was good mental exercise and it sure beat putting her dinner in a boring bowl. Afterward she settled down for a nap.

What's next for Melissa? We just had a new vacuum cleaner delivered. A bigger box.....oh the possibilities!

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