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 that with Sam’s toy…….I rotate them since he as so many – when I bring out an new (old) batch of toys it’s like Christmas – he gets so excited. Sure is a cheap way to keep him interested in toys! HAHA


  2. Easy has a good memory. Mom keeps a shopping bag of toys in the closet and the rest in my toy box. Every now and then she switches them out and it feels like she went shopping. Everything is new! She says it helps that I have a tiny brain, so I don’t even remember the closet toys when they come back out.

    Love and licks,

  3. We are big on variety. We don’t go on the same walks all the time, and we rotate out toys too. The antlers are not rotated because Bailie is still a puppy that likes to chew, so we have them all over in case she has the urge to chew. We do know that we seem much more interested in toys and for that matter even old games seem more interesting after they haven’t been played for a while.

    • I’ve always been good about changing up where we walk but somehow completely missed applying the same principle to toys. Definitely should help keep Eko entertained.


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