Category Archives: Active pets

Keeping Your Dog Entertained When the Weather is Bad

No matter what part of the US you live in, giving your dog his or her daily dose of exercise can be a chore at times.  When your pup looks at you like, “what’s next?” and the weather is not conducive to outdoor activities, there are always other options.

Here is a list of indoor-related activities for your pup:

  • Arrange a doggie play date with a close friend or friends.  You may want to be sure that the host has dog-proofed their house, has ample room for play, and that all dogs attending are spayed or neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations.  Also, make sure the dogs are introduced properly and have similar temperaments before play.
  • Hide-and-seek with your dog?  Of course!  Use the “stay” command, so you can hide.  Once you are hiding, command “come” and once they find you, reward them with their favorite toy or treat.  This can be done over and over until your dog is tired.  If your dog isn’t so familiar with commands, put him or her in one room of your house (don’t forget to shut the door!) while you hide treats in the other rooms to find.  Just make sure to remember how many treats have been hidden!HideSeekDog
  • Have a deer or elk antler in reserve and only bring it out when the weather calls for it.  This will keep your dog preoccupied for a while and additionally carries other health benefits.
  • Take your dog on an outing to the closest pet store (or your favorite one!)  Most love to go for a car ride, and now he or she can check out all the goodies while you pick up some essentials.  Hopefully there will be some other dog-lovers there with their furry friends, and you can say hello to some new faces.  If you’re feeling extremely generous, you might also consider buying a new toy or treat for your pet to take home, too.  (It is hard to say no, isn’t it?)
  • Drop your dog off at a reputable doggie daycare center once or twice a week.  This will give your dog the opportunity to get out of the house and exercise.  Plus, socialization is always important – your dog needs friends, too!
  • Dress up your dog and take silly pictures using your phone’s camera.  Post pictures to your social media accounts and give your friends a good laugh.  Better yet, take a video of them romping around, totally caught off guard DressUpDoggiewearing all their new clothes.
  • Find a flashlight.  Turn said flashlight on.  Shine on the floor; see if your dog reacts!  Many will chase this bright spot on the floor for hours, if you let them.
  • And a final, old fashioned game — tug of war!  What dog doesn’t love giving his human a challenge?  Just be sure not too play too rough, and let your dog “win” some rounds, too!

Whether the days are too short, too cold/hot, too windy or too rainy… there is always something new and interesting to do.  Daily attention and exercise is just as vital to dogs as it is to us.

It’s your turn to share with us!  Leave your ideas in the comments section about some things that you like to do with your dog when you’re home and feeling cooped up from the weather.

 TugOfWarDoggies

 

Walk it Out

Walk it Out

Providing structure and a routine of exercise for your dog goes a long way. One thing to note is that dogs do not often entertain themselves. For example, your dog barking can simply be out of boredom. If you have a dog that is misbehaving, one reason can be due to an over abundance of energy and not enough outlets for that energy.

This is all the more reason to take your dog on routine daily walks. This will provide them with an activity they love, a time to bond with your dog, and a great way for them to release all that built up energy.

Getting Ready

Your dog knows when it’s time to go on a walk. Most likely they’re all over you when they see you grab their leash. So it’s important to understand just how important a walk is to them. It’s a great time for them to get out and explore and expend some of that curious energy, but make sure they know the rules.

Before you go out consider having a routine with your dog. You can relay various commands to them as you and your dog get ready, such as having your dog “stay” while you calmly put their leash on. Providing a calm environment before you go on the walk will help reinforce good behavior on the walk. Make sure to also reward your dog for good behavior so they know they’re doing something right.

Who’s Walking Who?

A common problem many dog owners experience is their dog actually walking them and not the other way around. Your dog will naturally be excited by the big wide world, but that doesn’t mean they should have the freedom to pull you around your neighborhood. When you walk your dog make sure they are either beside you or behind you; this helps to reinforce your relationship and establishing you in the clear role of leader.

While your dog will enjoy their walk it should not be looked at as a time for overexcitement and play. Your dog should understand that a walk is a calm activity. You can help to reaffirm this environment for your dog in various ways.

If you find your dog is running ahead of you or becoming over excited, stop your walk, calm your dog down and wait patiently until they’re ready to continue. When you start walking again make it a casual movement so as not to pull your dog out of their calm state.

When and Why to Walk

Become-A-Dog-Walker-300x225If you work during the day and your dog is left home by themselves, you should walk your dog before leaving for work. This will put your dog in a “rest” state and help to curb destructive behaviors while you are gone. You should also walk your dog when you get home as they’ll be ready to go again by this time.

Dogs of all breeds can benefit from daily walks with their owners. By positioning yourself in the leadership role and giving your dog a daily exercise like walking, your dog will be less likely to be destructive, have separation anxiety, and have other behavior issues.

Daily walking will help ensure both you and your dog are healthy and happy.

Make a Rainy Day a Dog Day

Make a Rainy Day a Dog Day

When the weather outside isn’t the best for outdoor activities with your dog, you’re going to need an outlet for all that energy that’s normally expended in running and playing outside. The following ideas are great for keeping your dog happy, entertained and expending energy in a healthy way.

Hide and Seek

A simple game that can provide lots of entertainment for both you and your dog. Start by leading your dog to their bed or another room and make sure they stay there for a few moments. You can either leave a treat or favorite toy to distract them if need be.

Then find your hiding space and when you’re ready, call your dog’s name to signal them to come find you. Their natural curiosity will ensure your dog uses their natural abilities to sniff you out as they dash around the house looking for you. When they do find you make sure you react surprised and happy, providing a “reward” for them finding you. By reacting this way you teach your dog the rules of the game and give incentive for playing again. Consider having treats on hand if you want them to really enjoy the game!

Ready, Set, Practice!

When you can’t go outside and play with your dog, take the opportunity to teach them a new trick. A good start is to run through the tricks your dog already knows how to do first. This lets your dog know the routine so when they see something new, they understand there’s a reward for successfully completing the new trick.

After you have built up a nice repertoire of tricks with your dog, try running through all of them in quick succession. This can be a fun and fast paced game as you mix the order of the tricks each time. Going through them quickly and rewarding your dog will keep them happy and will reinforce the commands and knowledge of their tricks.

Some of the most common and easy tricks to teach are sit, stay, down, come, speak, shake, and roll over. Once you master the basics you can get into the advance stuff like playing dead and waving.

Treasure Hunt

imgresYour dog is great at sniffing stuff out, especially their toys and treats. Take this opportunity to make a game out of a natural talent. If your dog has a favorite toy you can be sure they know exactly what it smells like and how to find it when they want it. For a little bit of fun, take their favorite toy and make sure your dog sees you take it. Then go hide it somewhere in your house and excitedly tell them to go find their toy. Your hiding spot doesn’t have to be hard; under the couch or on your bed will be about right.

Another way to enjoy the game is to hide their favorite treats inside simple puzzles for them. Consider putting a treat under an overturned cup or wrapping up a blanket with a treat inside. As they know a delicious treat is waiting for them, your dog will love to dig and find their reward.

As you know your dog the best, feel free to make up your own game to turn your rainy day into a dog day!

Easy Exercise for City Canines

Living in a city can have its challenges for dog owners. Parks are not always conveniently located and backyards are usually hard to come by, but there are still many options to help you and your dog get in some daily exercise.

Below are a few easy ways to stay healthy and active with your pet in a concrete world.

Walk, Bike and Park

Although real estate is pricy in an urban area, many cities have green space dedicated for dog and community parks. This is a great way for you and your dog to both get in some exercise just by walking, playing, running, or cycling. If your dog is able to run along with you, there are unique leash hooks that can connect to a bicycle to ensure the leash does not become tangled in the wheels.

While most every dog park has a “clean up after your own pet” rule, some require your dog to have up-to-date vaccinations and a basic training and understanding of how to behave around other dogs. It’s important to know the rules beforehand so your pooch doesn’t get kicked out by accident.

Doggie Day Care

Taking your dog to day care is very similar to a human day care – your dog learns valuable social skills and benefits from daily exercise and play. The fees for day cares will vary depending on the type and level of service you require. If you’re pressed for time in the morning, many day centers can arrange to pick up your pet in the morning and drop them off later in the day.

Additional services include grooming, administering medications, basic dog training, and various types of exercise suited for indoors when bad weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities. Just as you would a human day care, feel free to visit before you decide on a specific one; you will be deciding on your dog’s care and well-being.

Dog Walking Professionals

If you live in an urban area, chances are you’ve seen a dog walker or two already. Many pet owners opt for this route because they work during the day and don’t have anyone else that can take their pet for a walk during those hours. Dog walkers take groups of three or more at a time so it’s vital your dog has been trained in proper social behavior with other dogs and most professional walkers will require this before they agree to walk your pet.

Many walkers also offer additional services like play time, training or taking your dog to the park. As this person would be spending daily time with your pet, be sure to let your dog meet them first and ask any necessary questions. Be sure to ask any questions you have on credentials or special requirements such as administering medications.

Finding the Best Option for you and your Dog

To find the best solution for you and your pet, consider asking your veterinarian or research your area online for options. Many pet owners have online community based groups that can offer you tips and recommendations for what has worked with them.

How to Have Fun with your Pets While Staying Active

Walking or Running

Exercising with your dog is a great way to keep you and your best friend healthy. If part of your exercise routine includes walking or running, consider taking your dog along with you. This will help keep your dog healthy and can be considered a time to bond and build your relationship. Remember to bring along water both for yourself and your dog though; they get tired and thirsty just like you.

Swimming

If you have access to a pool or lake, swimming can be great exercise for your dog and will help keep them cool on those hot days. While most dogs can swim, you should be slow to introduce your dog to the water to first make sure they are comfortable with this activity. Although you may find they’ll leap right in without a second thought!

The Dog Park

If you have a dog park nearby, this can be a great way to spend time with your dog and provide them with lots of space for running and playing. Giving your dog the opportunity to interact with other dogs can also help your dog to get used to seeing other animals.

In terms of training, dogs can benefit greatly by watching and learning how other dogs behave and interact with their owners and one another. Wide open spaces like the park also serve as excellent places for games of fetch.

Teach Your Dog an Old Trick

While playing fetch may be an old trick, this can be a great activity for you and your pet to enjoy. This activity works better with larger breeds as they are more likely to chase after things than smaller dogs, but you should still use an object that is relative to your dogs’ size.

While traditionally you may think to just throw a stick, you can also use a ball or Frisbee. You can also throw many objects at once. When first playing fetch with your dog, it will help them to learn if you actively engage and chase after them or run with them after the object for the first few times.

Your Dog Likes to Win

Playing a game like tug-of-war with your dog is a great way to get your dog moving, but there are a couple things to note. You should use an ideally sized rope for your dog; using a rope too large will prevent your dog from being able to get a good grip and they’ll become frustrated rather than enjoy the fun.

If you get the distinct impression your dog is using all their strength to get the rope from you, you’re probably right. Your dog will treat tug-of-war as a game they want to win so don’t be afraid to lose the match. Especially since using all your strength could be dangerous for your dog as you may accidentally injure their jaw, teeth, or their pride!

There are still many things you can do with your dog to stay healthy including dancing, hiking, agility training, yoga, soccer, or cycling. Experiment to learn which activities suit you and your dog the best.