Gail Ward, a dog training member of the Canine Behviour and Training Society, wanted to share the story of her beloved Norfolk Terrier, Ted. Here is Gail's story:
This is Ted or should I say was – I lost this special boy to a heart condition at just eight years old.
The condition was not discovered until he was three, but I always knew there was something amiss as he was such a laid-back boy, and he never really ran around.
I took him to the vets at eighteen months and they said they just thought he was lazy! However, as time went on he got slower and slower, unable to match the pace with other dogs on his walks. With this inability to keep up (I had another dog at the time – a busy border collie), came a degree of frustration, not on my part, on his.
I could tell he was getting fed up but he was still so keen to go out. So, I began to think about enrichment walks that didn’t involve exertion – games he could play that used his mind but didn’t stress him out.
Being a terrier, he always loved using his nose so playing ‘find it games’ by throwing bits of his daily food allowance into a patch of grass, getting him to put his paws up on low objects, teaching him to go round saplings, wooden posts etc, and letting him walk along low tree trunks, benches etc all kept him entertained.
We also had coffee mornings/socialisation with friend’s dogs who were calm so he still had contact with other dogs.
Short frequent walks to give him another sort of stimulation – he was an entire male so sniffing/scenting was important to him – he loved pavement walks where he could sniff lampposts! I also used activity toys for feeding including stuffed kongs, and a snuffle mat to keep him busy.
We also played inside games using plastic bottles that I taught him to push over with his nose, go to a mat and tricks such as high five, play dead, play bow and reversing.
All were taught giving him lots of help (food lures) as oppose to letting him work out what I wanted to keep his frustration and stress levels at a minimum. He rarely ended up having food in his food bowl as most of his daily allowance was used to keep him entertained!
He taught me a lot and made me realise that every day could be fun and stimulating for him with just a bit of work on my part.