XX Litter Enrichment Experiences 3

XX Litter Week 4
Enrichment Experiences


Today is “foot” day for enrichment exercises. I had some bubble wrap that I thought he might like to grab and carry, but he never did.  It provided a first experience of walking on unstable surfaces and hearing weird “pops,” mostly as Lovely or I walk across it since he is still too light to do any bubble popping.  I put the green piece of bubble wrap between the towel holding the newspapers on the board and the fleece pad.  I spread the other strip of clear “fat” bubble wrap on the other end of the room. I also put down two Styrofoam pieces that we use in beginning clicker-training classes when we’re teaching dogs to freely offer behaviors.  That will give him an experience of stepping up and walking on top of something.  I no sooner put down the enrichment items than he was checking them out, barely giving me time to grab and turn on my camera.  

One thing the Puppy Culture materials urge breeders to do is to help the pups learn to handle frustration from an early age.  A big suggestion is to have small barriers that the pups have to go over or around in order to get to their meals.  The last time I ordered a new fleece pad, which is 5’ wide, I asked them to cut the extra foot off (my whelping bed is 4’ x 4’) before they shipped it.  That 4’ x 1’ strip, rolled up and taped, made a nice barrier to try today.  I used a long cardboard roll that a strip of flannel came rolled onto for a second barrier.  Mr. X was definitely frustrated by the things in his way – especially the fleece roll – and told me so.

When I took his lunch in, I switched the position of the two barriers so that Mr. X had to go over the fleece roll to get to the meat.  He climbed over the fleece roll, sniffed the meat and then turned away.  I thought that was strange, so I lifted him back by the bowl to be sure he knew it was there.  When he turned away the second time, I decided he just wasn’t hungry.  Sure enough, he maneuvered over both barriers and headed to the doubled pad in the whelping bed for a nap.  I had given Lovely one long ball session early this morning and eliminated the second one since she the last few days she hadn’t done much running during it, probably because the day had heated up by then. The elimination of that second ball session shortly before lunch meant she hadn’t been away from Mr. X so he had probably been nursing.  He did eat a good bit of his supper.

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