Shall we play?

playmoreFor a busy BUSY human being I work extra hard not to short change my spaniels. So when the good folk at More Than asked me to take part in their Playmore Pledge – promising to play with my puppies for an extra 15 minutes a day – my first reaction was of course to snigger followed quickly by a ‘pfft, easy’. Not so much.

The whole thing reminded me of a conversation with a friend not that long ago, I might have told you about it (I can be a bit repetitive), about how dogs really have just three things in their lives: eating, sleeping and their relationships with the humans they own and as responsible pet owners it’s really your/my/our responsibility to make each of those things as great as they can be. Whether that’s putting a little time and effort into researching what you’re feeding them, buying (or making) the best bed you can afford to or rolling about on the floor with then every chance you get. In light of that, whilst on the surface of it I give my spaniels a lot of my time, in reality the busyness of my life means that I’m probably not always 100% present in the playing moment – I might chuck a ball in the garden and dash back in to stir the dinner or play one handed tug so I can check my emails on the side. It’s probably not all that satisfying for them.

playmoreSo, my personal playmore pledge was to spend at least 15 minutes each day giving every last drop of my attention to those fur faces. For a whole week, armed with a bundle of new toys courtesy of MoreThan, we played our pants off.

Some things I noticed:

playmoreBetty Likes Me More
She’s the husband’s dog through and through, wherever he is she is. She’ll only give me the time of day when he’s nowhere to be seen. It cuts deep. By the end of our week of committed playtime my bond with Betts was stronger, she voluntarily came and stuck her tongue in my mouth whilst I was yawning, the ultimate seal of approval. She was snugglier, more loving and I swear she didn’t give me quite as horrific stink eye when I dared smooch the husband that one time.

They Snoozed
MoreThan also sent us a Whistl, a bit like a canine fitbit. You attach it to the dogs collar, download and app and monitor their activity. In the office for the morning, I expected them to be climbing the walls, not so. When I wasn’t at home with them, they snoozed, clearly recouping for our next playdate. There were a couple of spikes in activity which I’m almost certain were them hollering at a magpie who has the nerve to land in our garden each day.

playmoreIt Compounded

15 minutes a day quickly turned into 20, 30, 40, 50. Turns out spaniel playtime is tip top procrastination. It’s also really good fun, 15 minutes passes by in a flash so we just carried on.

I Felt Better
It’s not news that switching off and playing with your pets is good for your soul but it’s easy to forget in the vastness of life. I ended the week with a much longer fuse and with significantly reduced stress levels.

playmoreThey Learnt
Spaniels are super smart but SUPER energetic, it can be hard to get them to focus when they’ve got a shed load of energy to burn off. Playing together in the garden helped wear them out just the right amount to give me their attention as opposed to a trek on the moors after which they just want to snooze. Playing each day also helped me to rank their toys (stick with me, I’m not insane). Knowing which of their playthings is their favourite makes it much easier to teach them new things – you can better choose an appropriate reward for getting the trick or behaviour right. From now on I shall only answer to Cesar Milan. Or Lassie.

playmoreThe whole week reminded me of the importance of switching off from my own life and playing with intent and mindfulness. Even better (and infinitely more tangible) for every pledge to #playmore made on their website, MoreThan will donate £1 to the RSPCA – money that will go towards building a sensory garden for rescued pooches *sniff*. Make your pledge, share your pictures on Facebook and Twitter using the #playmore hashtag and for the love of dog tag me so I can perve on your pups.

For more pooch spam come follow Pete and Betty on Instagram, yep, they don’t let a lack of opposable thumbs hold them back.


MoreThan sent Pete and Betts some toys to get us started and a Whistl to keep an unhealthily beady eye on then when I wasn’t home. All evangelising about being more mindful in your playtime is mine.

Betty's Week Off
Wonderful Wednesday Twenty-One
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  • That Instagram of your dogs. MY HEART IS BREAKING AND MELTING AND PUMPING ALL AT THE SAME TIME. ♥ ♥

    I feel like I might need to be a little friendlier to my pooch after reading this, the most she gets from me at the moment is a look of disgust as she wafts past me and smells of fox poo.

    Katie xx ¦ lacoconoire.com

  • Can we blame artistic license? Whilst I’m not denying the playing, that definitely happened, I may also have dropped some c-bombs and screamed into a pillow when Pete came back from the park covered in mysterious fecal matter for the fourth day in a row. And also, those burr things. WHAT ARE THEY?
    X

  • Pete made me lol at my desk. Best Friday pick me up. They are so cute as I’m sure I’ve told you a thousand times before!

    K.

  • Aww these are the cutest photos! Playing with dogs is so therapeutic, I’m dying for a pup of my own <3

    Amber Love Blog

  • Had a bit of a tear up at this! Love, love, love. Although I’m with Baker for every moment he is awake, I am guilty of half focusing on the laptop and half playing with him. I do try to have at least 20mins a day where I roll about on the floor with him and don’t look at anything else.

    Great post with great photos xo

  • Awh this is so cute! On a side note we use Morethan pet insurance and they are great! Xx

    http://thecornishlife.co.uk

  • Lisa and Stella

    Very guilty of not being 100% present in the playing moment…however, Stella has the attention span of a goldfish so often runs back indoors after just one throw anyway! We do have long sessions of snuggling though so she does get my full attention. Love those furry faces! xox

  • Bethan

    As if I didn’t want a dog enough already, this post makes me want one so bad! Unfortunately we just don’t have enough room in our flat so it would be cruel to try and fit one in, and they deserve as much attention as you can give them! One day it will happen, until then I’ll just have to keep looking at these adorable photos! xx

    http://www.bethanlikes.com

  • I really want a dog (exactly like Bethan) and am in the same situation. Just a few weeks until my parents get a puppy though so I can imagine haha.

    http://lizziedailyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Michelle what a lovely post! You’ve given me a wake up call and I vow to give my cats a little more attention each day. Your dogs are absolutely beautiful!

    My mum’s dog is a labrador greyhound cross and actually catches magpies which is both impressive and terrifying at once!

    I hope you¡ve had a lovely start to your bank holiday weekend,
    Peta
    xx

  • I love this post! I have somewhat neglected our dog since getting pregnant – it is one of the things I look forward to when the baby comes – being able to take our dog on walks again!

  • I loved this post, your photos are so great! Both dogs are so gorgeous! Such a lovely read 🙂
    x Kenzie // Kenzieblogslife.blogspot.com

  • Ahh this is so cute! I’m glad all that extra playing paid off! I am so looking forward to dedicating my attention to a furry friend… we’re working on it and maybe in the new year we might be welcoming a doggy pal into our life! eeks!

  • Pete makes me lol all the live long day. His brow game is strong.
    M x

  • Thanks lovely, it’s (as sad as it sounds) one of my all time favourite ways to spend my time.
    M x

  • Thanks so much Danielle! It made me realise just how much more I could be doing and let’s face it they’re my favourite ever so they deserve it!
    Hope you and Baker had a great week.
    M x

  • Thanks love! And actually I just switched! This is all a bit grown up so…arse.
    M x

  • Lol at Stella! These two give good snuggle too actually, has to be said. They’re my fave nap buddies.
    Hope you ladies are having a great week.
    M x

  • Sorry Beth! They’re awesome though, can’t deny it! If you need any more pooch spam before you get your own then I’m your woman! I’m obsessed.
    M x

  • Oh you’ll have some great fun with the puppy! Hopefully he’ll tide you over til you can get your own. What are your folks getting?
    M x

  • Thanks gorgeous, it’s hard to be present in the moment – there are always a million other things we should be doing. This one, playing, just shot to the top of my list of priorities though.
    Labrador greyhound cross!!! Squeeeee. I’ll be honest, any dog gets that response from me!
    M x

  • Thanks Hol! Hopefully the babba will be a source of infinite interest too (you might even get five minutes to yourself! Imagine).
    M x

  • Thanks Kenzie, they’re good models!
    M x

  • Thanks dude, I can confirm that Betts still thinks I’m alright. Although I just refused to give her my pizza so she’s turned her back on me.
    I’m SO excited for you guys to get a pooch. I like to vicariously new pooch through others.
    M x