Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Tug-of-War Dog Toy

Lucy loves playing tug-of war.

Therapy Dog

In normal times, I pet and scratch Lucy for my own comfort as well as hers. These aren’t normal times. Everyone in our full house gives Lucy extra hugs and kisses since she’s our very own in-house therapy dog. She has a heart of gold (unless you’re a groundhog), a sweet nature (unless you’re the mailman), and is well trained  (unless you’re eating something she wants).

I was teaching After School Enrichment classes when we adopted Lucy, a Border Collie/Chocolate Lab mixed breed, so I was inspired to teach a Dog Craft Class. One of our projects was this  Tug-of-War Dog Toy. Lucy loved it!

There are two ways to get a similar Tug-of-War Dog Toy. I suspect the second way is a bit sturdier since the ends are braided together.

Version 1 (project for K-2 ASE students)

Supplies:

  • fleece, 3 strips (approximately 4-5 inches by 36 inches) in 3 colors if desired
  • masking tape

Instructions:

  1. Knot 3 strips of fleece together.
  2. Tape to a surface for resistance.
  3. Braid fleece. Knot other end.
  4. Fold braided rope in half. Feed one end of braid in and out of other side, starting in middle of folded rope until two knotted ends meet.
  5. Re-knot ends together and take out separate knots.
Version 2 (Steps and Photos Source-Raising Your Pets Naturally, craft by Tonya Wilhelm)

Supplies:

  • fleece, 3 strips (approximately 4-5 inches by 36 inches) in 3 colors if desired
  • masking tape

Instructions:

  1. Tape three strips of fleece to a surface for resistance but do not knot the end.
  2. “Start your braid from the CENTER of your fabric and braid about 5″ to each side of the center.”
  3. “After you get the center braided (the handle), bring the ends together (3 from one side, 3 from the other) and combine them in pairs so you have 3 doubled parts to continue your braid. Braid the parts together (remember to make each braid taut).”
  4. Knot the end.

Naughty Dog! (Before and After)

Before the snow.
Before the snow.
After the snow.
After the snow.
Before the snow.
Before the snow.
After the snow.
After the snow.
In between.
Before the snow.
After the snow.
After the snow.

Hon, you know how much I love Lucy!

She’s my first dog and I think she’s the–umm–cat’s meow.  She’s a sweetheart, angel, practically my fifth child.  I’ve become one of those people who shows dog photos to just about everyone she meets.  She makes me happy and I want to share the joy.

But, one day she was so naughty that I debated a return to my former cats-only status. 

Every Sunday that’s not warm enough to bike, I run in the South Mountain Reservation.  Lucy is my running partner and she always has the best day running, playing with her doggie friends and swimming in the Rahway river.  Click here to see a video of her splashing and swimming with her friends.

I let Lucy off leash so she can run (and, let’s be honest, tire herself out).  She can be cagey about returning to me, but when I say, “Bye bye Lucy, Mommy’s leaving the store now,” she usually comes.  It may take a few minutes, and bikers may stop to watch and laugh at my attempt to use reverse psychology on a dog, but it’s all in good fun.  That was BEFORE THE SNOW.

AFTER THE SNOW, my sweet, little, black dog wasn’t such an angel!  One Sunday, we went on our usual run.  I let her off leash where the water runs over a dam.  Guess what she did next?

She ran far out on the frozen river, jumped off the edge of the ice and plunged into the freezing cold water!

I couldn’t believe it!  Horrified, I thought What should I do?  Should I go out on the ice?  What if its too thin and I fall in?  Should I call the fire department?  Does anyone have a long rope I can tie around my waist so I can slither over the ice on my belly to rescue my crazy dog?

Then Lucy’s head bobbed up, she hoisted her front paws and torso over the ice, and found the strength to scramble up and out of the water.  Boy, was I was relieved!  And mad!  (Parents, you know how our kids wonder why we yell when they get hurt?  I tell my kids it’s because we’re scared, and that’s just how we react.)

Lucy, dripping wet and shivering, stood for a few seconds on the ice.  I thought she’d run into my arms but, instead, she seemed to forget the whole “I almost drowned in sub-zero water” incident and bounded down to the snowy rocks below the dam!  That naughty dog!  I yelled, “Lucy, bye-bye, Mommy’s leaving the store!”  No luck.  I yelled, “Lucy, yum-yum’s” while holding out dog treats.  No luck.  I screamed, “Lucy, get over here!”  Still no luck.  Even though the temperature hovered around 20 degrees, I was steaming!

Twenty minutes later, I caught her and yelled, “That’s it!  You’re done!” and “You naughty doggie!”

The next day, my daughter ran into a mom she babysat for and told her about the “Lucy Incident.”  That mom said she saw the whole thing from the other side of the river.  She saw a dog run out on the ice, recognized my voice, and knew the naughty dog was Lucy.

Lesson Learned:  Lucy is not allowed off leash if the river’s turned to ice.

Also:  Carry fresh turkey in my pocket; she always comes for that.

Also:  My voice carries.

But, how can you stay mad at a sweet angel when she looks at you like this?  

IMG_3402

And this?

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Nice Dog vs Mean Dog

Lucy so comfortable.
Lucy so comfortable.
Lucy so sweet.
Lucy so sweet.

Lucy loves our daily walks.  She is fascinated by what she sees and smells especially if another dog is involved.  That’s the best.  (“Another dog?  Yippee!”)  I’ve discovered that on the leash, Lucy is friendly and submissive, albeit a bit jumpy, but that’s the Black Lab/ Border Collie in her. Her body language says, “Let’s get to know each other,” with ears all floppy and tail all wagging.  Off the leash is another story. (Have I mentioned her herding tendencies?)

Whenever we approach a dog and his/her owner, I ask, “Is your dog friendly?”  Usually, the answer is yes, the dogs greet each other and we’re on our way.  But, the other day, when I asked an approaching man walking three small, hound-type dogs, I got an emphatic, “NO!!”  No problem.  He stayed on his side of the road and I stayed on mine.  His three dogs growled, snarled, and strained at their leashes as we passed for good measure.

I explained to Lucy that not everyone is as open and friendly as she is (she understood, trust me).  And it got me thinking…

Is a dog’s ability to greet other dogs a reflection of his/her owner?

I wondered what made the three hound dogs unfriendly and aggressive. Maybe they’re guard dogs.  Then I thought about my friend’s dog who was injured by another dog at a dog park.  My friend’s dog is nervous but not aggressive. We have met other aggressive dogs and Lucy’s body language says it all—tail between the legs, slightly hunched back and ears all flat on the head.

Some dogs are shy, sadly some have a rough start to life and some may have behavior issues.  Lucy is my first dog so I’m learning as I go.  But we had never met a person who so emphatically said, “NO!!” when we asked the question.

It’s certainly the man’s prerogative to have whatever kind of dogs he wants. And he has no obligation to stop and say hi if he doesn’t want to.  I don’t know what his dogs say about him or themselves.  And I don’t know what Lucy says about me.

But, hon, I do know what her ability to greet other dogs says about her.

Lucy’s 1 Year Anniversary (Four Season Puppy)

Lucy joins our family.
Spring–Porch Puppy.
Summer–Shady Puppy (under the car’s open back hatch).
Fall–Autumn Leaves Puppy.
Fall–Halloween Puppy.
Winter–Snow Puppy.

Happy One Year Anniversary to our adorable, sock-eating, shoe-stealing Border Collie/ Black Lab mutt (uh, I mean “mixed breed”) who joined our family last November!  She’s our very own brown-eyed, soulful sweetheart.  Sure she’s a lot of work, but she shows us how to enjoy the simple things like a belly rub and a nap.  She makes us laugh with her games of “Rip Around the Dining Room Table”, “Hide the Ball Under the Couch” and “Watch Mommy Fetch The Ball.”

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Diamonds for her white markings/ Lucy for short) wouldn’t have joined our household if it weren’t for Daughter Number Three’s Girl Scout troop volunteering at a shelter.  I tagged along with the troop and was smitten by the puppies.

Allergic hubby and two allergic teens officially “allergy tested” a bunch of pups (they rubbed different sections of their arms on different dogs until, lo and behold, one dog didn’t require an immediate dose of Benadryl to halt hives).

Hon, I was always a “cat-person.”  Truth-be-told, I still am.  But now I’m a dog lover, too.

Top ten reasons why I love Lucy:

1. She’s my running partner.

2. A furry dog makes a great personal foot warmer.

3. To her, every day is a great day.

4. She accepts herself for who she is.

5. She looks at the world like a toddler; everything’s new and interesting.

6. I don’t have to fix the broken doorbell.  Lucy announces all visitors.

7. She still believes she will be friends with our 13-year old cat.

8. I have a reason to imitate Ricky Ricardo on a daily basis. (“Lucy, you have some esplainin’ to do!”)

9. My three college freshmen say they miss Lucy more than they miss me, hubby and little sister.

10. Daughter Number Three, who was terrified of dogs for the first 10 years of her life has been transformed!  She said, “Mom, I never realized dogs had personalities.  I was just afraid because they were dogs.”