How To Maximize Puppy Development With Your Adventure Box
Are you looking to breed healthy, stable, resilient puppies?
Then you need an Avidog Adventure Box for your litter! But Adventure Boxes are only beneficial if they are safe and designed properly. In our last blog post “The Top Five Ways to Make Sure Your Adventure Box is Safe”, I discussed how to ensure that your Adventure Box is safe. Next, let’s talk about how to make it the most developmental for your puppies.
If it isn’t cute puppy photos, what is the point of the Adventure Box?
Adventure Boxes have two purposes–stress inoculation and desensitization!
They are intended to be challenging for puppies, to provide slightly uncomfortable situations while they play so they become tolerant of unexpected sights, sounds, and touches. Thus, if you want to build resilience and stress tolerance in your adult dogs, here are the first four things to consider as you build and use your box.
1. Use tough stuff!
When picking things to hang from your Adventure Box, pick quite a few hard, noisy items, such as empty paint cans, plastic cups, and metal chains. Other alternatives that I’ve seen breeders use are toilet brushes, measuring cups and spoons, and other cooking utensils.
If you just pick one challenging item, like a paint can or one chain, your puppies can and will avoid interacting with them. Instead, they will focus on the easier items, like stuffed animals or other lightweight, quiet items.
2. Intersperse tough stuff with easy stuff.
Then, intersperse many hard, noisy items with a few soft, attractive things, like paint brushes or soft toys. For example, alternate chip brushes with chains so you indirectly encourage your puppies to deal with chains hitting their faces. Pups love the bristle end of paint brushes, so they are drawn to them but in order to play with them; they have to deal with the chains hitting their faces and bodies.
3. Fill all four sides of your box!
Put a lot of things on all sides of your box. If you look at Avidog Adventure Boxes, you’ll notice that every side is filled with hanging items. One side is filled with the chains and paintbrushes with little space between them. Another side is filled with the empty paint cans, the third with hose pieces, and the fourth with hard, plastic cups and PVC pieces. Thus, the only way into the center of our Adventure Box is by going through the hanging items!
Yes, it takes a lot of items to fill each side but it’s worth it because then if a puppy so much as brushes by the box, it will be touched by an object, see the movement, and might even hear a noise. If instead, you hang only a few items on each side, the puppies are simply going to go around them. They might play with those items, but they don’t need to go through them to get into or to the other side of the box.
4. Right size your chains.
Unless you have tiny puppies, say Chihuahuas or Yorkies, plastic chains offer no developmental benefit. They are too lightweight and quiet to produce stress in a medium, large or giant breed puppy. Instead, go to a home improvement store to look for metal chains of an appropriate weight for your breed. These stores will even cut the chains to the length you need! Then if you hang them with something they love like paintbrushes, you will draw them into the chains, and the chains will become part of their play.
So there you have it–four ways to make your Adventure Box developmental for your pups! Fill up the sides of your Adventure Box and include many stressful but safe items on those sides. Next blog I’ll cover the final ways to be sure your pups get the most out of your box!