Category Archives: Exercise

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stranger danger and dogs; people safety with dogs

Stranger Danger and Dogs

Stranger Danger and Dogs

How to Help Minimize Frightening Situations for Your Pet.

There’s good news and bad news if your pet is nervous around strangers.  The good news is that the general public is gaining more knowledge about safe ways to interact (or not) with strange dogs and their owners.  More and more people are learning to ask, “is your dog friendly?” or “can I pet him?” before reaching out their hands or telling their kids to “go say hi!”.  The bad news is that there is still a portion of the public that does not have this knowledge.

Whether your dog is a working dog and should not be distracted, gets nervous with strangers or close proximity to them, or is a rescue and growing used to their new environment there are steps that you can take to help reduce their interactions with kids and strangers.  Training, and desensitization, and avoiding situations that can be frightening are the first step, but there are some additional steps you can take to avoid these encounters.  We’ll take a look at some of them in this article.

Yellow Is a No Go

Thanks to the yellow leash project, the significance of yellow leashes and collars is making the rounds.  Yellow has become the color that signifies a dog is nervous, working, or for some other reason should not be pet.

Red Means Stop

In addition to yellow leashes and collars, some pet owners will use a red leash or collar to ward off people and children who might otherwise approach their pet.  Opt for Bright shades of red that will catch people’s attention and hopefully give them pause when approaching.

There are a few downsides with these color choices.  Some people simply like the color or like the way the color looks on their dog.  Other nondog owners might now be aware of the significance of the colors.

Spell It Out

In combination with the yellow or red options, or even on other harnesses, it’s a good idea to also spell out “No Pet” so that people clearly get the message.  These options are available both online and in certain pet stores.  Bandanas are another option for displaying the “I’m nervous” or “do not pet me” message to strangers who might assume otherwise.

Other Alternatives:

Muzzles

While it might seem mean or extreme to muzzle your dog, it can help send the message that children or untrained adults should not approach you.  Muzzles can also help to reduce bites or the perceived threat of a dog bit if the situation does progress too far.

Staying Calm

Dogs take their cues from their humans.  If you’re nervous, anxious, or even fearful of a situation and its potential outcome, your dog is going to pick up on that energy.  When you see a group of people approaching, the best, and first thing you can do for your dog is to take a deep breath and form a plan. In doing so, you now have the ability to reassure your dog that he/she is okay.

Moving to Avoid Confrontation

If you’re out for a walk or taking a hike and see people approaching, you have the time to maneuver your dog to the side or off the trail.  Another helpful move is to place your body between the dog and the source of his/her fear.  This body language can be a signal to other people that your dog is not friendly and should not be approached.

Communication

Whether it’s talking to the approaching people, or your dog, communication can be key in getting through the situation without any altercation or confrontation.  Talking out loud to your dog in a calming and reassuring tone, but loud enough for the people to hear you can be a non-confrontational way of informing the people that your dog is not one for socialization.  Making eye contact and saying hi to the oncoming people, gets their attention.  And if they’re in the middle of telling their kids or approaching your dog themselves, it gives you the ability to simply apologize and explain that your dog doesn’t do well in social situations.

 

For more activities that you and your dog can enjoy click here!


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seniors man and woman walking side by side outdoors with man walking dog

Pets & Senior Citizens

Benefits

Popular culture and media show us that people of all ages benefit from pets. Seniors especially benefit from this type of relationship. Pets not only enhance seniors’ lives but also improve their health. There are many amazing benefits that pets can bring into an elderly person’s life.

Pets provide a comfort system and help to increase the production of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. They have also been shown to reduce blood pressure and stress levels in humans and can help lower cholesterol, fight depression, and help protect against heart conditions. All great reasons for seniors to have a pet!

Pets & Loneliness

Recent studies have proven that pets can cheer up lonely seniors and enhance their quality of life. One of the most challenging aspects of aging is isolation and loss of social interaction. Many senior citizens may begin to feel cut off from the outside world and struggle with depression. Those feelings of loneliness can lead to stress, anxiety, and medical complications.

If you know an elderly person living alone and struggling to find the motivation to get out, ask them to pet-sit for you. See if they’d be interested in fostering a homeless pet. Or offer to come to visit them with your four-legged companion, especially those with no family near-by.

Pets in Senior Living Communities

Many senior living communities do have Pet Coordinators to help care for the animals to assure they are getting proper activity, food, medication, and love. These pet-friendly communities are thriving as pets have become community mascots and give residents reasons for social calls; all great for seniors’ stimulation.

Finding the Right Pet-Friendly Community

It’s important to do your research when choosing a pet friendly community as some communities offer dog grooming and dog walking services for many sizes and breeds, while others only allow small pets with a weight restriction (usually under 20 pounds) — limiting the pets to small birds, cats, dogs, fish or rabbits. Some communities only allow pets on a case-by-case basis. So, make sure to contact your communities of choice and ask about their pet policy.

Caring for an animal stimulates physical activity and gives many people a feeling of purpose. This is very important for seniors to incorporate into their everyday lives. Pets need exercise too! This companionship often promotes the purpose and healthy living, the relationship is not one-sided; the benefits are reciprocal to both parties.

Many times, the best prescription for healthier living comes with four legs and fur. If laughter is the best medicine, then pets must be the best cure!


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black and white border collie playing with toy on grass. - pet care

Daily Activity for Dogs

How Much Activity Does My Dog Need?

This is a complicated question. The amount of daily activity for dogs will differ depending on the breed, age, and health of your dog. In this post, we’ll dive into some recommendations. Ultimately, this is a great topic to discuss with your veterinarian, since you both have an understanding of your pet’s total well-being. Dogs need two different types of activity: exercise and mental stimulation.

When dogs lack either of these, they tend to get into trouble, acting out behaviorally and destroying items they shouldn’t. Proper nutrition, exercise and mental stimulation can be achieved in a variety of different ways and can be great fun for both you and your dog. Pet health experts recommend that depending on the size of the breed, the age of the dog, and the dog’s overall health, anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of activity is recommended per day.

Toy or Small Dog Breeds

The smaller the breed the less exercise will be required and the exercise should be appropriate for the build of the breed. This means we wouldn’t take a French bulldog for a three-mile trail run. Chasing a toy, indoors or outdoors, or frolicking around the yard, can achieve the 30 minutes of healthy activity in a smaller breed needs. More than this may cause respiratory problems or other injuries. Be sure to consult with an expert about your specific breed and dog.

Terrier or Medium Sized Dog Breeds

These breeds are built to work and will require more exercise and mental stimulation than their smaller, more delicate cousins. Terriers were bred to hunt or chase down a certain type of prey, from foxes to rats, and as such have more energy and durability. This results in the need for a higher amount of exercise and stimulation to keep them healthy and out of trouble. Depending on your breed you could be looking at closer to an hour or two of activity per day.

Retrievers and Large Breed Dogs

These are dogs that mature to weigh between 45 and 99 pounds. Like Terriers, Labradors, Retrievers, Huskies, Shepherds and Poodles were bred to work as well as to be companion animals. These dogs are smart and have a high level of energy, requiring between 60 to 90 minutes (sometimes more) of exercise per day. As these dogs start to age, their level of physical activity will diminish and pet owners should watch for signs of hip injuries or conditions like dysplasia. Talk to your vet about your specific breed and which types of exercise and stimulation are best for your dog.

Extra Large Dog Breeds

Extra large dogs are breeds that weigh in excess of 100 pounds at maturity. These dogs will typically require between 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day depending on their age, weight and health.  Your Mastiffs, Great Danes and other large breed dogs will have a lower energy level than their large dog breed cousins. You should talk to your vet regarding your specific breed and dog to avoid injury and ensure the best quality of life for your XL fur baby.

Exercise

From fetch, to tug, and wrestling to playing with other dogs, there are a number of different ways to exercise your dog. If you live by a local dog park, off-leash play provides both exercise and  socialization (which is a form of mental stimulation that we’ll talk about later).

Fetch

While your Fido might love to chase a good stick, there are a few dangers when using objects that can break. We prefer to a good ball, rubber disk, stick alternative, or even a partially deflated soccer ball.

Walking or Hiking

Get outside and enjoy some quality time with your pet by walking or hiking. Take in the views while your pup takes in the scents, and raise your heart rate together.  Depending on the area and ownership of the land, you may be required to keep your dog on a leash or lead. If your dog tends to be nervous or should not be approached, visit our post about how to communicate this to others here.

Jogging

When both you and your dog can use a bit of exercise, running is a great option. Running can also help keep your pets nails trimmed, but be sure to keep an eye on the pads and nails to avoid injury. Pavement can heat up in the sun causing burns in the summer, and salt from winter road maintenance can burn as well. When jogging or running with your pet, we recommend a comfortable and snug fitting harness, with a non-extendable, durable leash.

Wrestling

Whether it’s in your backyard, at daycare or the local dog park, romping and wrestling with other dogs is a total body workout for your fur baby. Dogs jump, run, and get a myriad of exercise when playing with other dogs. And, you get to stand by and enjoy their happy antics! Remember it’s a good idea to engage with other dog owners before allowing your dog to play, and staying engaged to make sure play doesn’t get too rough.

Mental Stimulation

Dogs are intelligent and sentient creatures, and just like humans, they can get bored. As they look for means to entertain themselves, it is helpful to have a variety of toys on hand so that your dog opts for something of their own rather than your shoe.

Toys

Terriers and hunting dogs have an inherent prey drive. They were bred to hunt.  Now that many of us don’t hunt they need another way to occupy their time. Toys, especially ones that make noise are a great option. You can find an array of different priced options in various sizes.

Puzzles

A number of different retailers now offer puzzles for your pet. You load them with treats and give to your pet for mental stimulation. The puzzles make the dog work to find the treats, providing an entertaining and rewarding challenge. There are also some great ways to make your own dog puzzles on sites like Pinterest.

Hide and Go Seek

Not all stimulation requires you to shell out cash. Some dogs can learn and love to play hide and go seek. The downside is that you are the one that always ends up hiding. This provides a bit of exercise as well, as they run around trying to find their favorite human who has magically disappeared.

Classes

Check in your area for canine classes – The sport of dogs has grown in the last few years. Along with Obedience classes, there are Nose work classes, Fit paws – Fun and Fitness Classes for your K-9 friend, Agility, Rally, Trick Dog, and Canine Good Citizen. All of these will stimulate your pet and you to be active, spend time together, and grow.

Activity is a great way to bond with your dog and create a beautiful, lifelong friendship. Your dog will be more healthy, content, and less mischievous, and so will you! 😊