Variety is the Spice of Pet Life, Too

Ever have a “How did I not realize this before?” moment?  Well, essentially my whole life is a never ending series of those moments. Normally these revelations are not worth mentioning (How did I not realize it would be easier to put on my pants then my shoes?) But yesterday I had an idea that – dare I say it – might just be useful to share.

Eko’s always had a solid stable of toys.  But there comes a time when he inevitably “retires” a toy and loses interest

Eko’s antler is an exception, but he generally only gives it a passing chew now and again

I’ll buy new toys from the bargain bin, but of course it doesn’t take Eko long to destroy those.  If I bought an Eko a new toy every time he destroyed the last one, I’d be broke in no time

Eko will ignore his bright, fun toys when I bring them to the park, but he is always happy to play with a stick

I have always found Eko’s practice of retiring toys a bit troublesome but I never gave it much thought.  Until yesterday when I happened to find a ball Eko retired a few weeks ago. To my surprise, when I tossed the ball to Eko he happily pranced and pawed, as excited as if the ball was new. 

And that’s when I had my palm-to-forehead realization. Pets need variety and novelty just as much as we do.  Schedules, routines and habits are well and good but it’s important to shake things up.  I wouldn’t want to play the same game every day, so why would Eko? Eko will play with a stick at the park simply because it’s not a familiar toy from home.

By unintentionally removing the ball from Eko’s environment, the reintroduction was a novel event.  And like me, Eko enjoys rediscovering an old game he hasn’t played in a while.

I brought the ball to the park and Eko was completely focused on chasing it

So focused in fact, he pretty much jumped over my head when I tried to photograph his pursuit 

My new plan is to put Eko’s durable toys into a rotating-retirement.  Rather than most of them accumulating dust , I think the toys will get a good work out when reintroduced.  Variety makes life interesting, for everyone. I will have to remember to change things up every once in a while.

Except for mealtime, of course. As far as Eko is concerned, some things should never change!

24 thoughts on “Variety is the Spice of Pet Life, Too”

  1. I do this because my dogs are similar. Sometimes they full on reject toys. If that happens I clean it and drop it off at a local shelter. I’m sure some dog will appreciate it more than my two

  2. I sort of got tired of rotating her toys, so we got a bin and threw everything in it. And then when we got sick of the toys on the floor, we just go dig in the bin. Of course, that requires us to be somewhat religious about picking up the toys and throwing them back in the bin in the first place!


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