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Canine University 71 Clinton St. Malden, MA

Summertime Fun With Dogs: The Bubble Game

This fun and exciting game can be played anywhere. Who would have thought that a simple bottle of bubbles and a bubble wand could entertain a dog and four people for a whole hour straight? We first played this game with our dog, Reggae who is a very energetic 5 yr old golden retriever. He went bonkers over bubbles, leaping, twisting, spinning and diving in a spectacular display of athleticism and stamina until he ate every last bubble!! Who knows what motivates him to play this silly game with us: it could be his intense abilities to retrieve, or his instinct to give chase, but I really think his immense appetite to eat anything that fits in his mouth describes his motivation best. Who doesn't know a golden that would eat lint if you gave it to him?! Regardless of his motivations, we have really enjoyed playing this game with him.

It gives the dog quite a workout, so you may want to start slow at first with a short 5 minute session and then build from there. For safety reasons we try to keep the bubbles low enough so that he has two paws on the ground at all times. We play two versions of this game; one way is with the old fashioned wand that you dip in the soap and blow air through. This version I find to be very therapeutic and relaxing after a long hard day chasing toddlers. The second version involves a battery operated 'bubble gun'. It runs on two AA batteries and forms a continuous stream of bubbles that quickly fill the yard and makes Reggae absolutely nuts. Maybe he thinks of it as little dog cookies raining down from the sky (but without the calories).

For a beginner dog I think it's better to start with the dip and blow method. It's a calmer version of the game and gives you a chance to point and encourage the dog to play with you. Don't be surprised if your dog seems offended or even afraid of the bubbles at first, some dogs don't catch on right away. Since Reggae is so hooked on this game, we have found it is a great way to exercise him and burn off his excess energy. He will chase bubbles for an hour straight and still quit wanting more.

Our German Shepherd, Stryker, did not fall in love with this game right away. It took him a few days of watching Reggae have so much fun before he ate his first bubble. It didn't take long however to change this casual interest into absolute bubble lunacy. In fact they get so excited about chasing bubbles that they often crash into each other trying to catch the same one. We take short frequent breaks to make sure that the dogs don't get over heated and we always try to follow the two feet on the ground rule so that neither dog twists or turns too much and hurts himself.

If your dog doesn't seem too enthusiastic at first don't despair, but instead make it upbeat and fun. Mark and Eric love to watch the dogs chase bubbles, they cheer and laugh and giggle so much it feels like we should be paying for this entertainment. We're still trying to talk our senior golden, Samantha, into playing the bubble game...she sort of just stares at you blankly and looks annoyed, and will snap at only the occasional bubble that floats across her nose. She does like to chase Reggae and Stryker and bark at them for being stupid and bumping into her, so I guess that's better than nothing. We hope you enjoy the bubble game with your family as much as we do, it's a great way to enjoy being out having fun in the sun with your best pal !

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