Indoor Activities for Dogs When It’s Too Hot, Too Cold or Just for Fun

kong

The all mighty Kong!!! It comes in different sizes to suit all ages and sizes of canine companions. 🙂

When it’s too hot to spend time outside, I find the dogs at my house nap a lot. If you want to break it up with some fun activities, here are some ideas. Please note: Cats and other companion animals like training games, treats and playtime too!

1) Fill a KONG toy with wet food or stuff with meat or favorite treats. Serve, as is or if using wet food, you can freeze it if you want it to take longer to eat all the food.
2) I believe that training should be fun! It also can provide beneficial mental stimulation. Teach a new trick, such as “High-5”, “Shake” or “Speak.” You can work on skills like, “Sit”, “Stay”, “Come” or “Loose Leash Walking” inside too. Google “Positive Reinforcement Training” for humane training techniques. Never use training approaches or techniques that you feel uncomfortable with or that are emotionally, mentally or physically harmful to your companion animals.

Positive reinforcement training rewards the desired behaviors, which helps the animal to prefer implementing that behavior themselves. This is a great way to increase the bond with your animal friends. Cats and other animals respond to these humane training techniques too. For when it's hot out, cold out, or any time at all!

Positive reinforcement training rewards the desired behaviors, which helps the animal to prefer implementing that behavior themselves.
This is a great way to increase the bond with your animal friends. Cats and other animals respond to these humane training techniques too. For when it’s hot out, cold out, or any time at all!

3) Get creative! Think of fun game variations that will be engaging to your animal friends. “Hide and Seek” can be taught. I have played it with both cats and dogs. You can start with saying, “Peek a Boo” around a corner. Then when you go back into hiding, wait for them to find you. You can repeat several times, if they don’t investigate right away.
4) Have them wait in the other room while you go hide treats in various places. This can be a great opportunity to help teach “Stay” and “Come” also. After all is hidden, have them “Go Find It!” When teaching new games or training of any kind, you want to set your pets up for success. So start with an easy spot that they can see and say, or as I like to do, enthusiastically encourage, them to “Go Find It!” You can do this as many times as needed, until it seems they have the hang of it. Then make it a little harder and increase the difficulty if you want, so that it continues to be interesting and fun. Of course, for many, any involvement of treats is interesting AND fun!!!
5) Have a conversation with your animal friends. Even if you don’t believe they understand you, you will notice that they enjoy the attention, validation and recognition. And even if you feel like you are making it up or “just pretending,” allow yourself to receive messages and know what they are communicating to you.

Enjoy your special times with your animal friends and stay cool all! I am posting this in the heat of summer, but you may want to try these activities when it’s too cold to go outside or just for the fun of it to enhance your relationship with your animal friends.

Rock and Sindi’s Excellent Adventure

Sindi and her Chi dog, Rock

Rock makes everything in my life a lot more fun, including road trips!

Although we started planning for my Animal Communication presentation and demonstration months ago, my visit to Phoenix came and went last weekend. It was a full weekend with readings Saturday, Sunday and I was even able to sneak one last one in on Monday morning. My talk was a lot of fun and I felt very welcomed by the participants. The proceeds from my talk went to the animal loving non-profit animal rescue, Poverty’s Pets of Phoenix.

I enjoyed my time at the Noble Beast Natural Pet Market, where my presentation and the majority of my readings took place. The owner and staff were absolutely lovely and accommodating. When it comes to shopping, I would rather shop for my dog any day of the week. So I especially love visits to health conscious, independently owned pet supply stores, such as this beautiful one in Phoenix, Arizona located at 1005 Camelback Road. I bought a car harness for Rock that hooks to the seat belt. I liked the look of it and how it fit him and he seemed pretty excited about it too! Noble Beast has a variety of humane collars, harnesses and leashes, as well as healthy food and treats, beds and carriers and a wonderful assortment of toys. I loved the entire experience!

Rock and I met a number of great new friends. In addition to some related to the Noble Beast and my work, the lovely dog sitters, Brandi and Christian with Rise and Shine Petsitting. They were so kind and compassionate with Rock. I could tell that they truly loved him and he loved them too. What a relief that as a pet parent not have to worry about my beloved animal friend when I’m gone!

In addition to Rise and Shine Petsitting’s recommendation of checking out the beautiful Encanto Park, the owner of Noble Beast pet supply store, suggested I check out Dreamy Draw, when I asked her for a nice place to go for a hike. Although by the time Rock and I made it there on our way out of town on Monday, it was too hot to go for an actual hike, we enjoyed a nice walk and doggie potty break before hitting the road.

It took a while to get back, as I got a little turned around, as I was trying to leave town. I wondered if that was a sign that I wasn’t supposed to leave. 😉 But we eventually got on the right freeway, with the help of a kind, young man at a local 7-11 who took the time to help me. We stopped several times along the way for puppy and mommy snack and potty breaks. I also stopped in El Centro and got a new toy for Sir Rock at Ross there. If you don’t know, Ross stores have a pet section with beds, dog clothes, toys and more.

We finally made it back to San Diego around 10:00 PM. Before heading home, Rock and I drove straight to the site where I feed my feral kitty. My friend fed him while I was gone, so while he might have missed me, he didn’t miss out on his nightly feeding. Since I haven’t told you about my feral feline friend yet, I realize that that needs to be a blog post in the near future!

Well… I have an animal communication session and people and pet psychic reading to get ready for. So until next time… Hug your animal babies and have a Wild and/or Tame day!

Polite Dog Calming Signals

Looking away, sniffing the ground, licking lips and seeming to ignore are polite, “calming signals” to dogs.

Just as we have information that can be helpful to our companion animals, so do they have some lessons for us. I have learned so much about myself and human behavior, from observing and interacting with animals.

My dog, Ginger and I recently moved into a new neighborhood. We go on numerous walks everyday. During our journeys we have met many neighbors. One new neighbor is a dog that barks at us, protecting her territory, every time we pass her yard. In response to the barks, Ginger, would promptly begin giving the dog “calming signals” to communicate that she is not a threat and she respects the dog’s territory. Ginger was using these behaviors and silent communication tools in an attempt to calm the other dog.

Calming signals are a communication from one dog to the other. At first glance they may appear to be one dog simply ignoring the other. In actuality, the dog that seems to not be interested or paying attention, is in fact very much aware. As was the case of Ginger in her attempt to calm the other dog. Ginger would get some distance from the fence and would look away and either keep walking by with her head looking forward, avoiding eye contact or she would sniff at the ground, while walking. When your dog looks like she isn’t doing much, she is often doing a lot! Ginger’s behaviors were clear communications to the barking, protective dog that she had no desire to harm or challenge her or invade her territory. She was a friend, not a foe!

These same interactions happened whenever we would pass and the dog was in her yard. I noticed that sometimes she had biscuits on the porch. She would stand on the porch and bark from there, very obviously guarding what was even more important than her yard; her tasty treats! Ginger never echoed the dog’s barking or responded in any excited physical, non-verbal or audible way. Then one day last week, everything changed.

On that particular day, as we began to pass by the house I saw that the dog quickly ate her biscuits when she saw us. Meanwhile, instead of slowly passing, my dog stopped. I saw that today was going to be a different type of day for these two beauties! I said to Ginger, “Oh. You want to say hi to the doggie today.” She wagged her tail as she waited for the other dog to approach. There were no barks from the other dog. She had protected her treats by eating them and then without any sound, came down off the porch. The two dogs met at the fence and sniffed each other, looking towards each other while both wagged their tails.

It took time and patience on Ginger’s part, but they were now officially friends! The dog learned that Ginger was not a threat and that it was okay for us to walk by and also to approach. I never tried to force the relationship or even encourage things one way or the other. I allowed them the space to work things out, not having any investment in whether it ever progressed beyond what it had been. On their own, they took the time they needed to get to know each other. Ginger helped create a safe place and when our neighbor dog felt safe enough, the relationship changed. The neighbor dog was able to let go of her fear, let down her guard, allow herself to trust and reciprocate Ginger’s friendly gestures.

There was something else that was different about this day. In the yard next door to Ginger’s new friend was another dog. Although he had a stockier build, he looked very similar to Ginger’s new friend, but I was told they are not related. After enjoying a few minutes of new found friendship with the female neighbor, Ginger and the male neighbor were instantly excited to see each other and approached each other with little hesitation. The two greeted, smelling each other through the fence, wagging tails and showing genuine excitement to have met each other. Ginger started bowing, exhibiting her desire to play. She went to the gate and looked at me, trying to convince me I should open it so they could play. Instant puppy love! Although I couldn’t open up the gate or take away the fence barrier between them, I did share in the excitement of this new bond. I enjoyed watching both friendships blossom.

How people express politeness when greeting, is very different from how a dog with “good” manners might greet another dog.

Obviously there are a number of lessons that can be taken from this experience. But the main one that I want to share is that all relationships are different. All friendships are different. Each individual soul is unique. It is the two unique souls coming together that create the interaction. Since no two souls are exactly alike, it is impossible for any union to be exactly the same.

Some meetings are immediate connections of kindred souls. Others have challenges and may take time, patience, kindness and compassion to work through. Even if there is fear, avoidance or not seeing eye to eye in the beginning, that doesn’t mean there isn’t the potential for friendship or at least, civil communication.

Below are some examples of canine calming signals. Watch dogs’ interactions to see if you can spot them while they are happening! You can even try them yourself, with your dog to enhance your communication and display greater understanding.

  • Turning the head or body to the side or away
  • Looking away or averting the eyes
  • Licking lips
  • Yawning
  • Sniffing the ground
  • Moving very slowly
  • Moving in a curve or arc, not a direct path or head on towards another dog

My name is Sindi Somers. I am an animal communicator and energy reader with a desire to assist with people and animals understanding each other better. Instead of training, I like to use the word, education. Because that is really what I see it as. Using a foundation of energy awareness and positive reinforcement techniques, I approach each situation individually. No being is the same, regardless of the body it is housed in. Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, rabbits, fish and people; regardless of the species, each soul is unique. I offer long distance sessions for anyone, anywhere in the United States and the world. However, at this time I am only able to conduct sessions in English, so an interpreter may be needed. I also offer in person sessions, including home visits in San Diego County, and at times other areas of southern California, including Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Counties. I am available to travel to your location outside of southern California, in certain instances, depending on the situation and requested dates. Although I am available on short notice, at times depending on my schedule, advance notice is generally required for all appointments requiring short or long distance travel. I can be reached at 619-797-0705 or sindi@apetpsychic.com. Thank you for reading my blog!