it floats!

My followers will know that we are the proud parents to Gibbs, a gorgeous Flat-coated Retriever.

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Gibbs is only 10 months old at the moment, and still putting on muscle.  Like all pups, he’s full of beans, and needs lots of exercise and intellectual stimulus to keep him healthy and happy.  And, like most Retrievers, one of his favourite pass times, is to splash around in water.

Now . . . there’s a huge dog park, at the kennels where we bought him.  You have to pay to go there, so we’ve taken out a subscription which gives us entry to the park all day and every day.  Living in the countryside, it might seem wierd to have paid out, to exercise the dog, but the park is HUGE . . . has a couple of lakes, and an agility course.  It’s also a great place for Gibbs to meet other dogs and socialise in.  While we enjoy a good natter with other dog-owners.

Anyway . . . Gibbs loves for us to throw a stick into the lake, and jumps in to swim after it and fetch.   However,  one stick looks very much like another, and he sometimes gets confused, when surrounded by several floating bits of wood, as to what it is he’s supposed to be retrieving.  I went on-line, to see if there were any specific floating toys for water-dogs.  There are, but I was loathe to pay out and started wondering how I could make my own.  My friend, Avis, came up with a brilliant idea.  An empty plastic bottle!  Genius, why didn’t I think of that?

A quick rummage in the recycle bin where I fished out an empty bottle of dairy cream.  An hour with my crochet hook and some cheap acylic yarn, and voilà!

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I just crocheted a circle the same size as the base of my bottle then crocheted in the round until I had something that fitted half way up.  With the crocheted base part on the bottle, I started decreasing so it would fit the shape of the neck.  And rather than sew the top closed, I crocheted a couple of chains which I knotted together.  The idea being . . . if Gibbs manages to make a small hole in the plastic with his teeth, I can still open the casing, unscrew the bottle lid and empty any water that seeps in before the bottle become too filled with water to float.  The chained bits, are also very handy to hold the toy by, as you fling it.

So . . . of we headed to the park, to try out the new toy.

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Not only does it float, but it’s very easy to spot in the water, and Gibbs appears to love it.   We don’t even have to say “Fetch!”.  He knows exactly what we expect of him.  Those Retriever genes!    So, a floaty toy (total cost, approx 20 centimes and 1 hour of my time), which is now hanging up to drip dry before we go back to the park tomorrow.  You can bet, I’ll be saving more small plastic bottles and crocheting up a few more floatable toys, so that we have a replacement to hand should Gibbs ever lose (or destroy) this first one.

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19 thoughts on “it floats!

    • lol oh dear! We had Blackjack, before Gibbs, who was a X-Labrador, and he excelled at the fetch game, but didn’t like water. With Gibbs, I started when he was very Young, rewarding him with treats when he brought back the toy, and now he does it for the pleasure of the game.

    • clever Avis really, because I knew I wanted to make a floating toy, but she’s the one who came up with the idea of a plastic bottle. Thinking about it, a tennis ball would probably be just as effective, but I do like the idea of making toys for my animals.

    • well I don’t want to encourage Gibbs to chew on this. He’s very good at fetching, and doesn’t tend to chew his “fetch” toys, so I’m hoping this will hold up for a while. He’s got plenty of other toys for chewing on. As for the hot weather . . . we’re already planning on buying him a kiddies’ plastic sand pit to fill with water so he has his own paddling pool in the garden lol.

      • Don’t spend too much – I bought our dogs a ‘specially made for dogs’ paddling pool last summer which they all wilfully ignored. They appear to prefer the fish pond 😦

      • well Gibbs does have the Stream, but that’s not within the closed wall of our back garden. Idea is to buy one of the scallop shaped plastic sand pits, so he can cool off when I’m in my spa. I’ve seen them in the Farfouille for 10€ and failing that, in Carrefour for 15€. If he doesn’t use it, it’ll go in the garage for the far distant future when I have grandkids :d

  1. This is great and it’s environmentally friendly. I’m always looking for new ways to use things in my crafting to not throw away stuff as much as possible.

  2. What a great idea! I just learned that there is such a thing as nylon yarn that is waterproof enough for outdoor coverings…if the acrylic starts to smell too much like the lake, you might keep an eye out for it. Retrievers and their fetch games are so fun! Max could care less…food and cows are what get him revved up! Corgi logic I guess!

  3. That’s such a cool toy for him! My pup Fenris really doesn’t like water though, but we have some bright tennis balls that he loves to fetch 🙂

  4. So clever!!! Gibbs is such a handsome boy! That park sounds amazing – my dogs would love something like that!! We only have a few very small dog parks in my area and none that are really even nearby. Gibbs is such a lucky doggie to have such loving puppy-parents!! 😀

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