When our greyhound, Seba, retired from racing and came home to live with us, we quickly discovered that although she’d been taught to walk on a leash at her foster home, she would go crazy at the sight of a squirrel. In the process, this seventy pound plus dog would buck around and pull so hard on the leash she could easily have hurt herself. This was a real problem–because our home in Ohio is surrounded by trees, and squirrel colonies abound. They can often be seen in groups, playing by the sidewalk, under trees and skipping over parked cars. They aren’t afraid of much, and will wait until a dog or cat is almost upon them before turning tail to leap or bound away.
Lucky for us, we were able to distract Seba in two ways from dangerous twisting and pulling on the leash. First, we carried bacon flavored treats with us at all times. Each time she saw a squirrel, we were quickly alerted by Seba’s ears coming up straight and the way that greys have of lifting onto their toes to prepare for the chase. We would then quickly pull out a treat and offer it to her instead, praising her for seeing the squirrel, but not chasing it. Seba quickly learned that the real treat was with us, and not dashing up a tree trunk. 😉
But the second way we solved our sighthound’s love of squirrels, was when I began to look for dog toys on sale, and discovered Kyjen, and their interactive toys dogs love.
Kyjen Co. began in 1988 as a wholesale distributor of pet supplies in Southern California. Now based in Colorado, their website reads:
It is our mission to make unique products that will keep dogs active and engaged. We have a passion for dogs, and feel that they deserve fun, functional products—products that last longer, challenge their minds, and stimulate their instincts. With their companionship, playfulness, and affection, our dogs keep us feeling healthy and happy. Our goal, in turn, is to design products that will enrich our dogs’ lives as much as they enrich our own.
Hide A Squirrel (pictured above) can withstand normal chewing, comes in various sizes to fit the size of your dog and comes with several squirrels. They even sell replacements! (Which became necessary for us when Seba’s sister, Castle–you remember her, right, El Destructo?–chewed some of the squirrel’s heads off.) The wee little squirrels squeak–and when Seba even sees this toy lying around as she walks by it, her prey drive engages and her lips come back over her teeth–then she pounces! 🙂 Usually, we pick up the mauled squirrels and put them back in their little log as we clean up around the house. So it isn’t uncommon to see Seba grab the squirrel filled log, shake it and send them all flying out. Seriously, my dog loves this toy!
Kyjen’s Egg Babies line also seems to be particularly exciting to pets. It features everything from fish to ducks to bald eagles with eggs inside that your dog can pull out. Talk about how to give your dog a great Easter egg hunt, right? 🙂
The smartest thing you can do to keep your genius dog out of trouble is get him a puzzle toy of some kind. When dogs love their toys they do not exhibit behaviors like chewing shoes, furniture or peeing in the house. They’re just too happy and engaged.
Here’s a fun video we found, showing another dog enjoying Hide A Squirrel, the toy my dog loves…
Looking for Kyjen dog toys on sale? Go here.
I am Seba, and I approve this message.