I may have mentioned in the past that Ayla has been a bit wild in the evening lately…or maybe I didn’t. Not really sure anymore and too busy to go back and look myself…but it seems that Ayla has more and more energy these days, especially in the evenings. Actually, she has little bursts of energy all morning where she goes from napping to wanting to play then back to napping, rinse and repeat.

We weren’t really sure if perhaps there was something more going on with her so we went to the “authorities” on the Newf-L mailing list and they mostly confirmed what we were thinking…Ayla has too much energy and needs more playtime and probably a job or two as well. Even though she’s been quite bossy and demanding when it comes to requesting playtime at night (deep play bows, barking at me, body checking and having massive FRAP’s), that’s apparently just her overexcited way of asking for us to pay more attention to her. I’ve often given in after requesting her to ask properly (making her sit first, doing a few tricks and then ask if she wants to play), but I went to the list to make sure that her requests aren’t some sort of dominance play which I’m walking right into and becoming her b*tch.

But the common consensus is simply that she’s not getting enough exercise and training during the day to fully wear her down. Which means we need to find a lot more tricks to teach her, need to create some new work for her to do around the house and should definitely start taking longer walks during the weekends to get her worn down a bit.

Since I work from home I can amuse her during the day but the weather has been really gross lately and I am not too thrilled to go play with her in the courtyard when it’s below freezing and drizzling. So that means I need to come up with something different to do with her inside.

I sit at a desk all day so games of “find the _____” could be feasible if I find several somethings to find and hide them through out the bottom level of the house. She got quite a few toys that she knows the names of so this could be interesting. But I’m not really sure if we have enough toys at the moment to play this well since she keeps devouring stuffies.

Ayla does seem to understand the concept of “hot/cold” and us telling her she’s getting warmer or colder when we play fetch in the fields and she loses the ball. I imagine we could incorporate that with finding stuff also.

I did read that another game to play would be piling all the toys up somewhere (or opening their toy box if they have one) and telling the dog to retrieve a certain toy, only giving praise and rewards when they bring the right one…this could work although she does this pretty often already when toys are scattered around the house. I’d love to teach her how to clean up her toys but she’s having trouble with dropping the toys into the toy box…she usually drops them in front of the box as soon as she sees or smells a treat!

I guess using treats would probably work better but I’ll also need to remember where they end up or I may find some unwanted goodies hiding in strange places a few months from now which could be pretty gross. We can also practice her “sit” & “wait” commands while doing something like this…maybe I could even manage to get her to go “down” in the middle of the process.

I could also do a bit of hide & seek with her, with me hiding somewhere in the house…but she doesn’t have access to too many rooms during the day so I may run out of places pretty quickly…but I guess it’s just a matter of getting her thinking a bit as well as the actually activity of running around looking for me.

Some people on Newf-L manage to get their dogs to hide toys themselves and the human goes looking for it…I’m not sure if we could manage that or not but it sounds like it definitely could be fun…and certainly would keep her occupied for a while as she tries to find the best hiding place.

As far as wearing a dog out, games like fetch and tug of war work well too…so I’ll just keep all these things in mind and go from there!

By the way, I’ve got Ayla playing “find the bone” right now…I’m hiding it in pretty hard places since she’s been chewing on it today and it must smell as heavenly to her as it does to me. We’re on round two and I have to say it’s taking her a while but she seems to be enjoying it…and it’s pretty entertaining to see her wandering around the house!