My pups Newton & Fitz (and enrichment ideas for your pups!)

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Meet my pups, Newton & Fitz. Both are rescues that have brought so much joy, laughter, and naughtiness to our home. Note: scroll to the end of this post to grab some great enrichment ideas for your pups. MN winters are long & cold…our pups need all the indoor activities I can find!

Newton and Fitz, rescue pups of NellieBellie

Meet Newton (Olivia Newton John), our anxiety-filled, high-energy, mess of a loveable dog. This girl is a rescue that needs to sleep in the same exact spot (next to me) every evening, takes anxiety meds, loves wearing her sweater, and is what they call “dog reactive”. She’s a mess. But anyone that meets her can’t help but love her.

Newton, NellieBellie's rescue pup.
Newton, NellieBellie's rescue pup

Meet Fitz (F. Scott Fitzgerald), the sweetest, most loveable dog you’ll ever meet. He’s utterly stupid (seriously doesn’t know there is already food in his bowl unless you pretend to pour it in) and scared of his own shadow. But gosh is he the snuggliest thing. The BEST for sleeping with. Say the word nap and he runs and jumps and gets sooo excited! And handsome, this boy is as good-looking as they come!

Fitzgerald, an Animal Humane Society rescue pup.
Fitzgerald, and Animal Humane Society rescue pup.

Meet The Pack, starting November 20th (it’s a whole weekend of fun!)–soon, guys! The next show you need to be watching for a feel-good, make your heart happy, and give you all the good feels evening!

Hosted by Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn (did you know she is from MN?) and her canine co-host Lucy, the series features twelve teams of dogs and their humans on an epic adventure around the world.

Fitzgerald opening The Pack box

What do they win? –> $500,000 to the winners plus an additional $250,000 prize
amount for the animal charity of their choice. AND, The Pack donated $250,000
during filming to multiple charities and animal rescue organizations everywhere they went, helping to pay it forward to dogs and dog-lovers around the world.

To win the prize, the teams will have to depend on their understanding of one another’s strengths and weaknesses and prove to have the strongest bond in the pack (hence the name ;)).

So, let’s pretend Fitz & I are in The Pack. What would be our special powers?

Newton & Fitz going for a walk
  • Naps
  • Snuggles.
  • Hiding between my legs.
  • Saving me from squirrels. And the UPS man. Oh, the postman. And the random people that walk on the sidewalk.
  • Being the leader of the walks. It’s that super protection thing, I’m sure, he needs to be the first so he can bark off any upcoming threats.
  • Tug O’ War. Games that involve tugging and don’t require any chasing or cleverness are his groove. He will win a good game of tug o’ war, for sure! But ask him to figure out how to get the treat out of the toy…not for him.

Our specialty: stamina and stranger danger. We would be well rested and never kidnapped.

This little “fort” has a tunnel to get into it. She loves it!

Now Newton and I have a completely different set of powers.

  • energy
  • greeting every single person at the top of her lungs
  • great eyesight. She can spot another dog a mile away!
  • Acting. She is a drama queen.
  • Balls are both her best and worst toy. She loves them to the point that if the other teams find out, they will use them against me. When a ball is nearby she can’t focus on anything else!
  • Smarts. This girl love tunnels, toys, hide & seek, and hot//cold games. If the game involves cleverness or running…she’s got it in the bag.

Our specialty: energy and welcoming. We will never be the first to tire and everyone that meets us will feel special and loved!

Newton, Fitz, & I are going to cuddle (Newton might need to sit so she can get to the door quickly) up on the weekend of November 20th and watch The Pack on Amazon Prime to see how we would stack up against the competition out there.

I know that you would love a good evening of laughter, smiles, and cuddles. So grab your pup and join me on November 20th. We can have an evening of puppy love and happy times. Gosh…I sure need it! And tell me…what would your team’s specialty be?

Enrichment activities for your pup:

Snuffle Mat

You will need a rubber mat that’s around 27×16 in. with holes in it and around an 80×120 in. of fabric, blanket, or fleece. Cut up the fabric into 2×12 in. straps. Insert the straps through the holes and tie them. Once you’ve tied all the pieces, flip the mat over and throw kibble and let your dog snuffle.

Busy Box

Instead of throwing away that Amazon box or soda box, fill it with your dog’s favorite toys, balls, random household objects they cannot consume, and treats. Give to your dog so they can get busy.

Fitz licking is “mat” so fast I can’t get a decent pic ;)

Lick Mat

Take non-porous silicone baking sheet, ice cube tray, or even a cutting board and spread some dog friendly peanut butter then freeze it. Have your dog enjoy.

Cardboard Boxes and Brown Paper

Don’t toss those boxes right away. Put some treats into the box, give it a good shake, and let your pup dig and find the treat. Dogs love the sound of the brown paper.

Food Dispenser

Take a clean plastic container with a lid (a container with a rounded bottom works best) and cut random small holes in it. Make sure the holes aren’t too large otherwise the kibble/treats will spill out. Throw in some kibble, close the container and let your dog push the dispenser around.

Hide-and-seek

Pretty self-explanatory. Hide somewhere in your home, but make sure it’s an easy spot at first. Call your dog and praise them when they find you. Gradually hide in more difficult to find spots. Repeat.

Find the Treats

Hide treats around your home while your dog is watching you. Tell your dog to find the treats. This is Newton’s favorite game!

Tug-of-war

Braid old cut up t-shirts/jeans/unused fabric together to create a rope to play with your dog. Fitz is a pro at any and all versions of this game!

Dixie Cup Game

Use dixie cups to hide treats under and shuffle them around. Have your dog sniff out and pick the bowl he/she thinks it’s under. We can only play this with Fitz. Newton is too smart and just smashes them to get them all out of the way.

Burrito Game

Place a towel on a flat surface and spread out kibble/treats on the towel. Roll up the towel into the shape of a burrito. Have your dog forage in the towel burrito.

Muffin Tin Puzzle

Place kibble/treats in a muffin tin then cover them with tennis balls. Have your dog figure out how to get to the goodies.

Which Hand?

Have your dog pick a hand with the treats inside. Any treats will do; however, you should take the nutritional value of the treats into account. Something like chopped up carrots would be good since they are low in calories and serve as a tasty, crunchy treat.

Food Tube

Cut up toilet paper or paper towel rolls and arrange them in a shoebox. Drop some kibble and/or treats in the tubes. Have your dog figure out how to get to the kibble/treats. –you just have to remember to save your paper rolls!

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