Most women love to shop at Bloomingdales or Nordstrom, but sadly for my mom, my favorite places to shop are Ace Hardware, Lowe’s and Home Depot. The reason for my quirky shopping preference is my obsession with puppies. I am always looking for ways to provide learning experiences that will develop our puppies’ physical, psychological and emotional health. I know that every experience we give our puppies before they go to their new homes can help them to be the best they can be. So I wander the aisles of hardware and home improvement stores thinking of ways to use their products – usually not the way they were intended to be used – to challenge our pups as they grow.
For many years we have been filling our puppy pens with as many learning experiences as possible, from jungle gyms to bottle pools. In 2011 we got the idea to make an Adventure Box. We tried many ways to put one together but they never seemed to work quite the way we wanted them to, especially since our first priority was safety! We had to be sure that everything we used in the Adventure Box had no sharp edges, could not be stripped down, peeled off, chewed up or swallowed whole by the puppies. We also wanted to be sure it would be sturdy enough to be pulled on, jumped on, walked through and still remain upright. With our last litter we got it right and the puppies loved it!
I am the first to admit that punching the holes in the frame is not easy!!! Just check out my PVC discard bin for the proof! Once you have the framework in place, the rest is not only simple, but lots of fun! Depending on the size of your puppies you can scale the Adventure Box up or down from ours, which was designed for golden retriever puppies.
The Adventure Box stimulates puppies’ senses in a fun and safe way. Adding the Adventure Box to their play area teaches them, at a time they have few fears, that stuff that moves and makes noise is interesting and fun. We toss treats inside the box so the pups have to go through the dangling items to get to them. Within a day or two, the pups are charging into, tugging on and trying to dismantle the box. When we begin feeding pups solid food, we will sometimes put the food bowl in the center of the Adventure Box. This teaches them to tolerate things touching and bumping them while they eat.
Whether you want to make your own Adventure Box or have one shipped right to your door, go here to find our FREE ebook “How to Build and Use an Avidog® Adventure Box” and the link to order a fully-assembled Adventure Box.
If you are making an Adventure Box don’t be limited by what we used when choosing your hanging items – go the store and use your imagination but remember SAFETY FIRST! The items should be enticing to the puppies while also stimulating them as they move in and out. Choose different kinds of items for each side so they can have many different experiences.
Of course, we love to see puppies playing in their Adventure Boxes, so don’t be shy, share a video of your puppies having fun in their Adventure Box on our Adventure Box video sharing page and our Facebook page.