During my talks one of the more frequent questions I am asked is do Guide Dogs ever get time off. All the Guide Dogs I know only work outside the home, when their handler is at home they are off harness and get to enjoy their down time and just being a dog. Just like people the way they want to spend their off duty time differs from dog to dog.
Wiley seems to equally enjoy sleeping, going for a recreational walk and playing with his toys. He really enjoys it when I play games with him such as fetch or hide and seek or when we go to the dog park but his absolute favourite off duty pastime is eating or playing with a food interactive toy. (He is a lab after-all :))
Each day he gets a walk, playtime with me, a massage and around 1/3 of his daily rations in some sort of food dispensing toy- kong, wobbler, tug a jug or a chew etc.This combination of activities seem to keep him entertained and stimulated, the rest of the time he is either playing with his toys by himself, chewing on a nylabone or deer antler or sleeping.
Even when we are out and about he gets time to rest and recharge. Wiley is very good at resting whenever I am seated. So on buses or in cafes and restaurants he will happily lie down and have a snooze.
He knows that when I am giving talks he gets to have a sleep until I stop talking. It can be embarrassing if he starts to snore! It always amuses me that if people start to clap he will jump up as if to accept their applause.
Talking of playtime I really need to take Wiley out for a wee walk and then have a game of fetch with his new favourite toy – Mr Elephant.