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Discussion Starter #1
It seems recreation time with my dog has gotten pretty stale of late. We go on regular walks/hikes, have recently started agility classes, go to a weekly obedience class, and I take her into any store I can get away with it (Walmart, Lowes, Meijer, Liquor stores ;) etc). But I have the day off tomorrow (last day of my vacation) and I want to do something extra awesome for her. I just can't think of what to do though...

What do you guys do (given that it's winter time-- no snow currently, but extra soft and muddy ground) to spice up your recreation time? How do you keep things fresh with your dogs? Humans have things like theaters, water/amusement parks, and the such to keep our lives interesting- what is the dog equivalent (omitting dog parks)?
 

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This is a good question. You could try teaching him or her extra tricks like flipping a treat of his or her nose and into his or her mouth. You could spend time cuddling.
 

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Try playing 'find it'. Even during a hike you can hide his favorite toy or tasty treat and have him find it.

I don't know if you have ever played Hide-n-seek in the house, but it is truly great fun and one of my dogs favorite games. And you get to stay warm while you play!
 

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I've seen a couple of your posts about walmart, meijer, and given that we live in the same area I'm trying to understand how she is allowed in those stores? All the ones around us are the larger ones that carry groceries, and as such don't allow dogs other than service dogs. which locations are you taking her to that allow pet dogs the size of a german shepherd?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've seen a couple of your posts about walmart, meijer, and given that we live in the same area I'm trying to understand how she is allowed in those stores? All the ones around us are the larger ones that carry groceries, and as such don't allow dogs other than service dogs. which locations are you taking her to that allow pet dogs the size of a german shepherd?
I am really on the fence about this. On one side of the coin, I realize that I am putting "real" service dogs in jeopardy by taking my dog in a store and "acting" like a service dog. On the other side, I know my dog's temperament and obedience level- and I know she can properly handle such a situation. It's really pretty easy to do. I just put a backpack on her (happens to be red) and walk in the store. Sometimes, we just walk right in like we own the place, none of those "greeters" [HA! Don't get me started on that rant...] know anything about anything. They are way too busy sitting on the handicap carts chatting it up with their buddies to give to shits about someone walking into the store. So we just do.

Other times, I will play off the "ultimate obedience" card. I'll walk her in, and the instant I make eye contact with an employee of any kind, I immediately put her in a down. They are always impressed to see a dog go from walking to down in an instant. I waste no time to pop the "You do allow service dogs, right?" question- and I waste no time moving on when they say yes. It's an exchange that I keep as quick, cut and dry as possible.

So far, I never have tried to "hide" it from anyone. We just go in the store and do our thing. In fact, I've only had employees comment on it positively ("Oh look- it's one of those working dogs" or "Hmmm... better not touch that working dog"). I've never had an employee/manager question me.

I have had a couple store patroons question me, though. One time I was sitting at walmart waiting for a prescription and some dude starting asking me about her. I always just tell them she's with "Indy Therapy Dogs" which to the best of my knowledge doesn't exist. I can go on to explain what therapy dogs are and how they benefit people. Etc, etc...

I do generally try to keep her out of the grocery areas of such stores- I don't think that's quite fair for anyone. Nobody wants dog hair in a grocery section.

Other than that- there's really nothing to it. Like I said- I sometimes feel conflicted about the potential (though almost nonexistant) for my dog to do something that would provide a bad name for "real" service dogs, or even remove the right for SDs to enter the store. That said, I believe the ADA requires the right anyway. So not sure a store could ban them. Anyway- I play it safe. If things are escalating, or if too many people are trying to gather around the dog- we simply leave.


---Anyway--- back on topic-
Try playing 'find it'. Even during a hike you can hide his favorite toy or tasty treat and have him find it.

I don't know if you have ever played Hide-n-seek in the house, but it is truly great fun and one of my dogs favorite games. And you get to stay warm while you play!
This is a really good idea! I've never figured out how to do hide-n-seek since it's just me and the dog. But find it could be very fun- especially outside! I've always wondered though- the item that is to be found- do you have to drag it across the ground/floor in order to leave a scent trail? Forgive me if this is a stupid question- but is there an easy way to do this besides bending over and walking backwards while you pull an object across the ground for however far you want to go? I've never really laid a scent trail, and the mechanics of doing so seem a bit allusive to me.
 

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On one side of the coin, I realize that I am putting "real" service dogs in jeopardy by taking my dog in a store and "acting" like a service dog. On the other side, I know my dog's temperament and obedience level- and I know she can properly handle such a situation. It's really pretty easy to do. I just put a backpack on her (happens to be red) and walk in the store.
For the record, you are not just "putting real Service Dogs in jeopardy", you are also doing something that is every bit as illegal as shoplifting or driving drunk. Passing a pet off as a Service Dog is a crime, not a bit of harmless fun, regardless of the dog's obedience level.

You should only take your dog into stores that will allow pets into the store. I have taken my dogs into many, many stores and all it ever took was to ask nicely and be prepared to take "no" for an answer if they do not welcome dogs. A lot of smaller mom-and-pop stores have no problem allowing dogs in, nor do many Tractor Supply or pet supply or outdoor stores. Even some book stores allow dogs, as long as they don't have a cafe or otherwise serve food inside.

I always just tell them she's with "Indy Therapy Dogs" which to the best of my knowledge doesn't exist. I can go on to explain what therapy dogs are and how they benefit people. Etc, etc...
Just FYI, Therapy Dogs are NOT Service Dogs and do NOT have public access like Service Dogs do.
 

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I wouldn't count on everyone being as gullible as the Wal-mart greeters you have encountered. I work in restaurant and we encounter these "service dogs" on a weekly basis. They range from large labs that are pulling on their leash and sniffing the table's/merchandise to quivering 5lb Yorkies.

It's pretty easy to distinguish actual working dogs, and those who just want to bring their pet into the restaurant. It does make it more difficult for actual service dogs as they now are
scrutinized from the moment they walk in.

We can, and will ask them to leave, or put their pet dog back in their car.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would never take her into a restaurant.

I should have replied to Rerun via PM; that was my mistake. Let's keep this thread on topic...

Any other fun ideas to keep things fresh with your dog?
 

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This is a really good idea! I've never figured out how to do hide-n-seek since it's just me and the dog. But find it could be very fun- especially outside! I've always wondered though- the item that is to be found- do you have to drag it across the ground/floor in order to leave a scent trail? Forgive me if this is a stupid question- but is there an easy way to do this besides bending over and walking backwards while you pull an object across the ground for however far you want to go? I've never really laid a scent trail, and the mechanics of doing so seem a bit allusive to me.
My GSD and I don't really play by any formal rules as we have never had any formal tracking training. I think he pretty much follows my scent trail, and not the object he is looking for. He loves his tennis balls, so I'll hide the ball somewhere close by and then ask him, "Where is your ball?" When he begins to search, I'll tell him "Find it". When I say 'Find It' he'll start looking everywhere - when he is just looking for his ball he'll look in places where he might of left it. "Find it" he has to work harder. I started by easy places, like on top of the coffee table to harder places like on the tire of my truck. I do keep my physcial self close to him to help guide him if he drifts too far (like playing 'Hot & Cold'). Sometimes when he begins to loose the plot, I'll ask again, "Where's your ball?" That energizes the game again.

Hide and Seek in the house is much more fun. I'll make him down stay and then go hide in the house. I'll whistle to release him and he'll come looking for me. Again, I started hiding in easy places - like just a seperate room, to hiding in a closet or under the bed. I tried the attic this weekend but he couldn't follow the scent. Hubby closed the stairs to the attic and tried to help Hondo, but it was much too confusing for him and I was getting the heebie jeebies in the attic. When I am found I'll make a big deal out of it and sometimes I'll even have a treat. Mostly now I just jump up and down and make a big fuss over him. He likes that best.
 

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Very helpful Lille- thanks! I figured that if I hide and then call her, she should easily be able to find me based on the sound. If I had another person to release her- then it would be a lotta fun. I'll have to give it a shot and see how it works out.

As to activities today- I just found a new 90 acre park up in Carmel I've never been to. We're getting ready to go hiking around there!
 

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My GSD and I don't really play by any formal rules as we have never had any formal tracking training. I think he pretty much follows my scent trail, and not the object he is looking for. He loves his tennis balls, so I'll hide the ball somewhere close by and then ask him, "Where is your ball?" When he begins to search, I'll tell him "Find it". When I say 'Find It' he'll start looking everywhere - when he is just looking for his ball he'll look in places where he might of left it. "Find it" he has to work harder. I started by easy places, like on top of the coffee table to harder places like on the tire of my truck. I do keep my physcial self close to him to help guide him if he drifts too far (like playing 'Hot & Cold'). Sometimes when he begins to loose the plot, I'll ask again, "Where's your ball?" That energizes the game again.

Hide and Seek in the house is much more fun. I'll make him down stay and then go hide in the house. I'll whistle to release him and he'll come looking for me. Again, I started hiding in easy places - like just a seperate room, to hiding in a closet or under the bed. I tried the attic this weekend but he couldn't follow the scent. Hubby closed the stairs to the attic and tried to help Hondo, but it was much too confusing for him and I was getting the heebie jeebies in the attic. When I am found I'll make a big deal out of it and sometimes I'll even have a treat. Mostly now I just jump up and down and make a big fuss over him. He likes that best.
"Find It" and "Hide n Seek" are the best games ever! My GSD loves playing those games and so do I.
 

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"Find It" and "Hide n Seek" are the best games ever! My GSD loves playing those games and so do I.

Please note that it does not work if you attempt to hide in the attic. Especially if you have an evil partner who takes his time pulling the attic stairs back down........:eek:
 
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