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.

Top Ten Reasons Why Lucy Is My Inspiration Puppy

Inspiration Puppy
Inspiration Puppy.

Lucy is my Inspiration Puppy.

Lucy is my chapter book’s muse. She and my main character both have silky fur, flappy ears, round, brown eyes and a fluffy tail. My muse shows me how a dog behaves, and my uncanny ability to translate WOOF adds to my main character’s authenticity. Writers are advised to “write what you know,” and I know Lucy. You know?

Top Ten Reasons Why Lucy Is My Inspiration Puppy

(with commentary from Lucy)

Lucy is not just a dog, she’s also a:

1. LEG BONKER. Lucy gets attention is by bonking her wet, black nose into legs. Again and again. “What do you want, Lucy?”

Lucy asks, “Do I have your attention now?”

2. VACUUM CLEANER.  Lucy finds the messiest eater and places herself under his/her chair.  If it falls on the floor, it’s hers.

Lucy says, “I’ll eat whatever YOU are eating!”

Hiking Bear Mountain with a stand-in for a mountain goat.
Hiking Bear Mountain.

3.  FOOT WARMER.  This canine is hot, and I don’t mean that in an inappropriate way. Got cold toes? Get a dog!

Lucy says, “Feet schmeet. It’s still petting.”

Pooch Pillow.
Pooch Pillow.

4.  POOCH PILLOW. Need a cuddle or a cry? Tired? Bury your head in a Pooch Pillow and you’ll feel better immediately.

Lucy says, “I’m an affectionate girl.”

Intelligent eyes.
Intelligent eyes.

5.  SMARTYPANTS. Maybe its the Border Collie in her or maybe I’m just bragging, but that dog knows a lot of words.

Lucy says, “First of all, I don’t wear pants and, second of all, of course I’m smart.  I watch your every move.”

Guarding from the front porch.
Front porch perch. 

6.  SECURITY GUARD. Lucy announces strange cars parked in front of our house (or anywhere up and down the street), men walking up the driveway, and delivery trucks–especially the mail truck–by barking her head off, ripping up up her doggie bed, jumping on the front door, growling like a psycho doggie and bolting down the yard at 30 mph.

Lucy says, “Don’t complain. I’m just doing my job!”

7.  TENNIS BALL CATCHER. Lucy LOVES tennis balls so much, she could play ball all day. I throw it and she catches it mid-air.  When I toss the ball up a hill and say, “Roll it,” Lucy nudges it with her nose so it rolls back down to me. See? Smartypants!

Lucy says, “Tennis balls are chewy, bouncy and roll-y. And you’re playing with me. What’s not to love?”

Teen daughter pets Lucy. Lucy reaches out and touches back.
Pet Lucy, and she reaches out and touches back.
"Who wants to scratch my belly?"
“Who wants to scratch my belly?”

8.  LOVER GIRL.  Pet Lucy and she reaches out to touch you back. Want to be greeted in the morning? Get ready for lots of licks. Trying to leave the house? Have work to do?  Too bad.  Lucy the Lover Girl will flop on her back and beg for a belly scratch. She’s very distracting!

Lucy says, “I give what I get.”

Those eyes!
Those eyes!

9.  HYPNOTIST.  Seriously! She hypnotizes us with her eyes. She stares into our souls. I read that Border Collies hypnotize their flocks of sheep or cows with their eyes, and we think Lucy’s part Border Collie. I dare you to look away when she stares at you.

Lucy says, “What’s a soul?”

Such a silly girl!
Such a silly girl!

10.  COMEDIAN.  True, I DON’T laugh when Lucy rolls in…shall I…say disgusting things? But, most of the time she’s a comedian.  Like when we put her outside to get some “fresh air” (see #6) and she stares at us through glass doors. Or when she rests her head our laps during dinner. Reaching for a napkin, instead you find a Lucy’s head on your lap and  she’s begging for people food with her hypnotizing eyes.

Lucy says, “Glad you find my begging amusing.”

Sweet Angel!
Sweet Angel!

 Hon, do you have a pet? How does he or she inspire you?

 

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?

IMG_2993

Lucky Lucy

Lucy loves water.
Lucy loves water.

One of my favorite things to do is to spend Sunday mornings in the South Mountain Reservation. Whether I’m biking, hiking, running or taking Lucy for a walk, I alway feel energized and happy.

I hope you enjoy this 1minute, 46 second video of my favorite furry, four-legged companion, Lucky Lucy.  Lucy had the best time playing with her friends Tucker the Black Lab, Max the German Shepherd, Ace, the Rottweiler mix and even Dexter, a Pointer mix.  Guess what?  Lucy’s tail stayed fluffy the whole time.  Watching Lucy play is sheer joy.

There’s just something about the air on Sunday mornings that clears my head.

What clears your head?

Puppy Power

Hon, I saw this video and just had to share it with you.

Five reasons why I love it are:

1.  Puppies are adorable.

2.  The New Year calls for an “I Think I Can” attitude.

3.  With all that is going on in the world, one dog helping another dog achieve a goal is inspiring (assigning a meaning to the video may be a stretch, but that’s the way I think).

4. The background voice of the puppies’ “mommy” is so sweet and encouraging.

5.  Puppies have the power to make us laugh and that’s the best kind of power!

Click on Puppy Video to watch the one minute forty-four second video. Type in “Skip” to skip the ad and, please, let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did!