Have the holidays left you a little thick around the middle? You’re not alone! Weight loss was the top New Year’s resolution going into 2017. That’s not much of a surprising statistic, but how about this one: experts estimate that up to 35% of pets are overweight too. Maybe you both need a little bit of exercise! January is the perfect time to get moving!
One of the easiest and most effective ways to lose weight and get into better shape is by walking. We can’t think of a more fun way to walk than with your canine companion! Make sure you have a great leash and get out there and pound some pavement. You’ll both benefit from the exercise and the fresh air.
Many runners also bring their dogs along for the trek. They make great companions, love the exercise, and can be wonderful protectors if you need them to. Running and walking with a canine friend makes the workouts seem shorter and is great for both of you. It’s a win win situation. Keep in mind, however, that the smaller the dog is, the shorter the distance they can run. Smaller dogs do better with short sprints and walks than long distances.
Is it too cold and snowy to take lengthy walks in your neck of the woods? Look into canine-friendly gyms! They do exist! A simple Google search will help you find some. If you can’t find one, why not start your own exercise group? Get together with a bunch of friends in a pet friendly place and work out together.
Exercising with your dog doesn’t necessarily have to be structured either. Play Frisbee. Throw a ball around. Hold up a bone and see who can jump the highest. Play, play, play, and then play some more. It’s good for your body and your spirits. Besides, everyone knows that the more fun you have exercising, the more likely you’ll be to make it a habit! If you need toys to play with your dog with, we’ve got a few here!
This is just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to exercising with your dog. There are many different ways to do it that will be fun and beneficial for both of you, but there are a few guidelines you need to keep in mind.
First, be mindful of the weather. If you’re hot, your dog is probably hotter. If you’re wearing a coat, he needs one too! In addition, be sure to keep your dog hydrated the same as you would keep yourself hydrated.
Start out small and go big later. Just like a human, a dog gets stronger with daily exercise. And if you’re already in shape and your dog is not, remember that it will take a little time before he’ll be able to run long distances with you.
Also, always watch for injuries in your dog. Keep an eye on the pads of his feet and make sure that he isn’t limping. Just like with a human, never let him run through an injury. It could cause permanent damage.
Getting in shape is beneficial mentally and physically for both you and your canine friend. With a little bit of thought and care, you’ll be the best looking pair in the neighborhood before you know it. Stick to it and most of all, have fun!
“Your dog is so well behaved” is one of the best comments that I could receive from an individual.
Usually that is followed by the question: How do you get them to behave so well?
So I have come up with a few basic points that you can start using with your dog and I think you will like the outcome…[just remember your ABC’s]
A: Attention- All dogs love it, but I am talking more specifically about –YOU-paying attention to your dog, Let me explain. Far to many people expect a pet or even a child for that matter to just behave and be good. Life just doesn’t work that way. You have got to put in some time and attention into your fur kids.
Start by getting yourself and your dog on a walking routine, say 3 times per week to start out. Plan it and stick to it, put it in your smart phone for goodness sake (they all have a calendar app).
This does a few things: First it is healthy for you and your dog and who wouldn’t want to shed a pound or two. Secondly, it gets you and your pet on the same wavelength, let them burn off a little pent up energy in the beginning then they will start to pay attention to you and your commands during the second half of the walk so focus your training and attention towards them on the later half.
Try sitting by a curb before you cross a street or intersection, count to 10 while your dog patiently waits by your side (your parents did teach you to look both ways didn’t they) then start the walk again. When you reach another intersection repeat the sit -10sec- walk routine.
Pretty soon if you ask this same behavior of your dog in the house when company comes over your dog already knows what to do sit -10sec- wait for another command. WOW it all makes since to your dog now!
Attention can carry over into the house also; take time to pay attention and work on small training steps.
Try this one, before your dog heads outside for a bathroom break and again before they come inside make them sit -10sec- then open the door and give them a command to go outside only after you have stepped thru the door, i.e.: [the human gets to have priority going thru a door].
Stay with me on this one, YES you can do this: SIT -10sec- STAY command-you go outside then tell your dog to COME. This should be repeated on your way back inside.
By repetition and consistency with this exercise you are subconsciously training your dog that you are the leader and they need to pay attention to you.
Keep at this one it takes time and patience, but your reward will come when the neighbors stop by unexpected and you open the door up after you have told your dog to SIT -10sec- STAY while the guests walk into the house without “Crazy Dog” jumping up all in their face. You may even here the comment: “Your dog is so well behaved”.
B: Boundaries- All pets and humans for that matter need more of this one.
Without even thinking about it by sticking with your 3 time a week walks and paying attention to your dog you are setting boundaries. You and your dog are starting to click, and the exercise puts them in a perfect frame of mind to pay attention to you with the task you are asking them to do.
I will let you in on a secret: YOUR DOG LOVES TO INTERACT WITH YOU!
One of the truly basic happy feelings any dog can get is just to be with you, the humans, no matter what you are doing.
Don’t want your dog to hop up onto the furniture, set those boundaries, try giving them a nice pet bed to sit next to you on the couch this way they are with you but not on top of you. Your dog will still feel like they are with you.
Another Example: Don’t want your dog to be up in your business at the dinner table, stick to your boundaries, patiently move them 6 feet away from you and tell the SIT – STAY, you will no doubt have to repeat this a couple of times but your dog will get it and you will feel amazed…Set those [Boundaries]
C: Consistency- This one is hardest for us the humans!
Yes we are busy with the job, family, bills etc. but nothing worth doing ever comes easy so stick to your guns and be consistent in your training.
The fact that you are reading this says you are a passionate pet parent and want the best dynamic for you and your dog.
Our Home has been volunteering as a Foster Family for rescued dogs and although you can never tell the background of these great dogs when they come into the program I can say that by applying these simple ABC’s of Dog Training you will see results, and the end reward is worth the effort when you hear someone comment: “Your dog is so well behaved”
Our passion is pets!
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I cannot tell you how many times we are approached and ask if we have any indestructible toys or we get the comment “my dog can chew through a tire”. Sadly if that is true I hope they keep their dog far away from cars. While I sure hope Fido is not in the garage snacking on the family car, I do understand the need for durable toys. Durable does not mean “indestructible” and almost nothing is, in fact indestructible.
So how can you make your dogs toys last? Dogs are basically furry children when it comes to toys, however most of them never get past the “teething” stage. So children should play in moderation, quite play indoors should be combined with outdoor activities and they should have time for mind stimulation, so should your dog. If you leave Fido all alone with nothing to do all day but chew on a tire, that’s what he’s going to do. When a child gets rough and destructive with a toy, you take it way, same with a dog. If they have stopped playing with it and lay down and decided it’s time to rip its guts out, it is time to take it away before that happens. When children are quite too long, they are usually doing something they are not suppose to, same with your dog.
All toy use should be monitored and understand the way each toy is designed to be used. Active throw toys are designed for just that, going outside and playing fetch with your dog, not for them to sit alone and actively chew on. If it is quiet time you are after with a toy then you need a toy designed for chewing like a Kong, but understand if the toy is not interesting and does not engage them in some way, they won’t chew on it. So if you’re going to do a Kong make it interesting, if you don’t mind the mess, stuff it with something exciting. Stuff inside peanut butter, a dry treat or freeze a treat inside during the summer. Still in the category of chew toy, try antlers or actual bones for strong chewers. Antlers have tasty morrow inside like a bone but they do not splinter apart. As for bones, you have to do your homework, not all are the same and you need to be careful. Things like chicken bones and bones from your leftovers are never what your dog should have and stay away from baked and broiled bones, this process can leave them more apt to splinter causing a choking hazard. Always make sure you pick a bone large enough for your dogs size and supervise they while they are chewing. Only let them chew on any item in the chew category for short periods of time, too much can lead to bloody gums or worse yet broken teeth.
So if your dog is one who destroys it’s toys, moderation is the key to making any toy last. Let them have “active” play time and then put it up to play with again at another time. Our pets get bored and boredom can lead to destructive behaviors if you do not give them the proper channels for their energy. So get out and play, run in the yard chasing after a favorite throw toy. Go for a walk, play in the house, just do everything in moderation. Know your dog and understand how they play, then moderate and monitor toy use and your toys will last a lot longer!
Having your dog help you make new friends probably isn’t something you’ve ever thought about, but the truth is that when it comes to making friends (or even meeting your future spouse!) your dog makes a great wingman. Dogs are a great judge of character. There are actually people who believe that if their dog doesn’t like someone, they’re not worth knowing.
Want people to be drawn to you? The answer is not in wearing the latest fashion or “appearing approachable” to others. It’s walking your dog. Dogs sort of magnetically attract others naturally. Who doesn’t want to see the cute little Boxer puppy or the beautiful Papillon? Think about it. How many times have you been drawn to someone with a dog yourself? You know what they say – great minds think alike. All you have to do is take that opportunity and make something of it.
Exploring your surroundings with your best friend is actually a great way to get acclimated to your neighborhood. First, you’ve got instant company. Secondly, it’s great exercise for both you and your dog. Another benefit is that walking through town may let you see things you’ve never seen before, even if you’ve lived there for years. It’s easy to “get used” to things and walk by without noticing them. Let your dog guide you. You’ll find that he notices a whole lot more than you do, and your next human companion might just be what he notices first!
If you don’t live in a town that you can simply walk your dog around exploring, find out if there are dog parks. Many cities, even smaller ones, have dog parks where people bring their dogs for doggie play dates. The concept here is basically the same as it is for parents of small children - the more you participate in activities surrounding your kids the more “parents” you will meet, including parents of furkids.
Should you be buried in snow and unable to take the dog to the doggie park, why not see if there are other dog-friendly places near you? Some hardware stores allow you to bring your pup, and places like Petco and PetSmart allow them as well. Bring them along and strike up a conversation with someone browsing the same aisle. Notice that someone is buying their dog the same food you buy yours? Feel free to strike up a conversation about it while the dogs get to know each other too!
Bringing your dog everywhere you go is fun as well as rewarding, and let’s face it – even if you spend all day walking and playing in the park with your dog and don’t run into another person, it’s still not a day wasted. Get out there and make some friends!
Note: While exploring your town, please be respectful of others and follow local regulations concerning your dog at all times.
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