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  #1  
Old 01-03-2013, 01:10 AM
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Default How to keep my chi entertained both with and without me? (Long)

When I am at work, Ren sleeps almost the whole time, which I can see because my husband set up a webcam for the kitchen, where he stays during the day. When I am home he also has access to the living room and sometimes upstairs - we are still working on some issues with him fighting with the cat, so for the time being he only goes upstairs when I am able to provide constant supervision.

Anyway, I love Ren and enjoy spending time with him, but I am having 2 problems. One is that he doesn't seem to be able to entertain himself. If I leave the house he knows I'm gone and takes a nap, but if I am in the room with him, he wants constant attention. Sometimes I'd just like to be able to watch TV or read a book - and I'd be happy to have him cuddle on my lap, but he only really sits on my lap, and stays still, if he has a bully stick or something to chew. And because I am trying to get him to lose a few ounces, I don't want to rely on bully sticks to "babysit" him whenever I want some time to myself. So if I try to sit down and watch TV or something, he will follow me and sit and stare at me, or start scratching and/or digging at my leg, or whine or bark.

The second problem is a new one - even when I am ready and willing to play with him, I can't seem to keep him entertained. We will play fetch with a toy and he will lose interest after a few throws. He will play bow or make kicking motions with his back legs and occasionally bark excitedly - like he wants me to play, but nothing I do seems to satisfy him. He has several stuffed animals and other soft fabric toys, and for a while he used to play with them himself. But for the last month or two, he isn't interested in them even when I am right there making the toys "move" or trying to engage him.

So those are my two questions: how can I get him to occupy himself when I'm not able to play with him, and how can I keep him entertained when I do play with him?

Some background:

I live in Buffalo and the weather is below freezing right now, so I do not take him outside for walks. The last couple times I tried to walk him, when the temperature was in the 40s, he shivered and refused to move. I did just recently order him a coat from Etsy that I am hoping might allow me to give him some walks during the winter - but it's a custom order and hasn't arrived yet.

I take him to an hour-long play group once a week, which he enjoys and spends a lot of time running around the room and/or play-wrestling with other small dogs. At home, sometimes I take him down to the basement for a while, where we have a big open space, and let him run around there. When we are in the basement, he can often entertain himself just by running around and/or sniffing stuff, but I try to join in by getting on my hands and knees and crawling around with him.

I feed him all of his food in Kongs or kibble-dispensing toys, but he has mastered most of them so it doesn't keep him busy for too long.

He has tons of toys, and I try to rotate them every couple of days by putting some away and taking out new ones - 2 or 3 at a time. When I first got him, this worked well and he showed renewed interest in the "new" toys whenever they were put back into rotation. Now, even when I bring out a toy he hasn't seen in a while, he's not interested in doing much except maybe playing fetch for a minute or two.

So when he starts whining at me to play with him, I wish he could speak English so he could tell me what he wants. Does anyone have any suggestions for keeping him entertained, both with and without me?

Edited to add: I just wanted to say that I don't have a problem with him following me around or wanting to be with me - the issue is that he constantly wants me to provide entertainment for him (he's not happy just cuddling with me) yet nothing I do seems to entertain him.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2013, 09:20 AM
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Well Lily is exactly the same as you have described Ren and she's 4 .The only time she will sleep is if she's had a good half an hour walk.I would get that jumper on and go walkies,i still take lily out if it's freezing even if it's a short walk,sniffing etc helps the brain work
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:37 AM
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If you can't get out, you could try leaving some pieces of material in various places outside - in the yard, if you have one, or even in the neighbourhood. After a couple of days they'll have picked up a whole load of new and exciting smells, so you can bring them in and hide them around the apartment. I've heard that's a good way of getting some novelty into a dog's life.

You could try building a mini-agility course in the basement out of stuff that's lying around too.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:55 AM
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I,m really glad i read this post, my charchi is exactley the same, he,s on me all the time even though i walk him twice a day, So Ive decided he needs a playmate, and I,m looking now for another chi. I,,m hoping this will fill the gap, have you thought about doing this?
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:38 PM
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Yeah! Get another chi for him to play with! Seriously, I have 3 and they exercise each other pretty much!
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:15 PM
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Chili is the same way, but not to the same extreme. He does want me to play keep away and sometime he will bug me to watch him chew his bone, if I turn away he will jump on my leg till I watch him again. Cute as heck but anoring.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:24 PM
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It sounds like he just needs exercise. If he has had enough exercise he will be exhausted and content. Jaxx usually gets like this if we don't get enough long walks. Jaxx doesn't like the cold weather that he learned really quickly that he was going to go outside even if it is cold. I use shirts and coats but he still goes outside for a couple hours at least every day to get rid of some of his energy. There are times when we do a lot of exercise inside when I am busy but that still consists of a lot of fetch and playing but in the end long walks work better for us.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:19 PM
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Wow, with three dogs u would think they would keep each other busy wouldnt u? do your other two do this as well ? very interrested to know.
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