After losing their beloved 15-year old golden, Barbara and Keith wanted to adopt a young golden one more time in their lives. Oakley, a handsome, high spirited golden came to them on January 15, 2018. The challenge for them would be keeping this energetic young boy busy. Here is their story and how they conquered the many needs of their active young golden.
“Oakley came into GRRMF with a broken arm due to a car accident,” reports Barbara. “After his cast came off he was still on activity restrictions due to the pins and plates in his upper arm. Our challenge was keeping an active puppy occupied and happy when he can’t run and fetch.
GRRMF provided a training session to come up with ways to keep Oakley occupied. Katie Obringer, a professional dog trainer who works closely with GRRMF, started us with puzzles and K9 Nose Work (R) games to supplement gentle walks. We created circuits that are repeated two additional times in rapid succession. The circuits start with the Nina Ottosson Hide N’ Slide Treat Dispensing Dog Toy followed by boxes and other containers placed around the living room, some with treats in them. Oakley, who is waiting in another room until the set-up is ready, has to find all the treats and then master rolling around the Nina Ottosson Treat Tumble Dispensing Brain and Exercise Game until all the treats are gone. Believe it – he is worn out!
It was not until Oakley was removed from all restrictions that we suddenly realized we had seen the subdued version of Oakley during his healing process – Yikes was that really possible! With no restrictions, everything seemed new and exciting and got him all charged up!
At our summer home in Virginia (a travel trailer on a mountain top near the Blue Ridge Parkway) we are without a fenced yard and Oakley must be on a leash at all times. We hike down the mountain and back up with his nose going full steam scenting all the wildlife in the area. The experience with Nose Work games taught Oakley how to use his natural hunting and scenting abilities. We also have Nose Work game gear in the trailer to play inside, especially on rainy days.
When Oakley gets the zoomies in the trailer, we have “go-to” games to keep him busy. One is a reserve of squeaky toys that only come out at special times – that makes them more exciting and helps wear him out. The other game is playing tug of war. Katie Obringer educated us that, taught correctly, research shows that tug of war can be beneficial in teaching the dog that they can get excited, work off energy and learn to calm down afterwards. Once we play tug of war, Oakley works through the energy burst and settles down.
“Because of our energetic boy, we truly realize why GRRMF insists that homes adopting young goldens have fenced yards. It is easy to forget how much energy these pups have,” reports Barbara.