Sunday, July 31, 2011

Exercise, Exercise, and More Exercise

The opportunity to get adequate exercise is arguably one of the most important aspects of environmental enrichment for your dog.

Exercise is not only fun but it also generates mental dividends that last daylong.

Most people think they are doing the right thing for their dog if they take him for a mile walk every day, or turn him out in the back yard to sniff around when nature calls, but that is merely scratching the surface.

Twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic (running) exercise is minimal for a healthy dog.

This can be provided by throwing a tennis ball or a Frisbee for the dog to catch, or by taking him for a jog or an off-lead hike over open terrain. Even this level of exercise may not be enough for some young, highly energetic, athletic dogs.

As long as a dog is physically capable, the more exercise he gets the better.

Remember, a tired dog is a good dog! Exercise generates mood-stabilizing serotonin within the brain producing a feeling of well-being and mental stability.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ways to Beat Doggie Boredom

Many people wonder if their dogs can get bored and the answer is YES, they can. Imagine if you were locked alone in a house all day with nothing to do! Boredom is very real and it is a very big problem for dogs today.

Here are five ways to defeat boredom-for good.

1. New Tricks - One of the best ways to show love and spend quality time with your dogs is to teach them new tricks. It will take some time and practice, but it will provide great mental stimulation and help keep your dog engaged.

2. Physical Exercise - Running and playing with your dog is another great way to fight boredom. Fetch, wrestling, or racing are simple ways to tire out your dogs before you leave so they will take a long nap when you go instead of pacing around an empty house.

3. Puzzle Games - You can find lots of puzzle games that will keep your dog entertained. But, if you want to save some money, you can simply put some food or treats into a box that your dog must open to eat.

4. Socialization - Meeting new dogs and new people is quite an interesting experience for your dog. Boredom is easily defeated when your dog is making a new friend: canine, human, or otherwise.

5. New Toys - New toys are a great way to keep your dog entertained.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Changing of the Guards

This video gives new meaning to the concept of the
"changing of the guards".

What a clever dog!

Wonder who trained who?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Is Your Dog a Cuddler?

Some dogs are sort of aloof, and others are lap dogs or real "cuddlers". What is it in their personality that makes them different? This is somewhat of a mystery.

What makes one dog standoffish and another dog extremely affectionate? It probably has a lot to do with their genetic make-up as well as their socialization skills. From an early age, your dog's breed and socialization skills (both pet-to-pet and pet-to-human) have an impact on his behavior.

This makes sense when you think about people - no two are alike. Some families and cultures are more "touchy-feely" than others. Some people like to cuddle and others don't.

The reason a dog likes to cuddle with you or with his toys probably has a lot to do with both bonding and comfort. Puppies cuddled with their mothers and littermates for warmth, and undoubtedly this gave them comfort. Dogs that are submissive are often more apt to cuddle and be near their gentle leader.

Make sure any cuddle toy that you give to your dog is also durable and safe. Supervise your dog's play and make sure that he does not ingest any parts of the toy that can cause a life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dog Power

There are working dogs that herd sheep and cows. But there is also a very cool piece of equipment called Dog Power.

Animals have been used on farms worldwide for millenniums. Horses, mules, donkeys and oxen were by far, the favorite species for most animal powered equipment. However, tucked away in American small farm heritage is a contraption that harnessed the power of the dog.

This rare but useful piece of equipment, known as the "dog power" allowed the family dog to earn its keep around the farm. The dog power was invented to help with daily chores like pumping water from a well, washing clothes, separating cream from milk and churning butter. Think of the dog power as a "doggy treadmill" that converts the dog's walking motion to power the equipment.

Maybe it is time to bring back this contraption?!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cheer Up The Lonely

Did you know that July 11th is National Cheer Up The Lonely Day?

Pets bring such joy into people's lives. One of the Comfort Care Therapists on the team at Providence Hospice in Olympia, Washington, Anne Howie takes her trained dogs to various locations to make this connection between dogs and humans.

There is something very special about how the presence of a dog melts the heart and soul of those who come into contact with them.

Today, bring a smile to someone who is lonely.