Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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Why Do Dogs Whine and Cry in the Car?

Help! How to do I train my dog to not whine in the car?
dog whining in car
The Bark’s advice columnist Karen B. London answers readers’ questions about canine behavior. Got a question? Email askbark@thebark.com

Dear Bark: The local dog park is a short drive from my house, and I usually take my dog there before doing other errands. She sits right behind me in the the back seat, and within a few minutes of leaving the house, she starts whining and pacing in anticipation, which is not only distracting, it’s also irksome. Can a dog be trained out of these behaviors? What’s the best way to deal with back-seat dog whining on the way to the dog park?

It’s wonderful that you’re taking your dog somewhere that makes her so happy! Of course, her excitement about going has its downside, which is her behavior in the car on the drive there. But there are ways to help make the ride better.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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Jaguars could prevent a not-so-great American biotic exchange

In eastern Panama, canid species from North and South America are occurring together for the first time. Urban and agricultural development and deforestation along the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor might be generating a new passageway for these invasive species adapted to human disturbance.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

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Forget About Stress & Anxiety

POSITIONING THEMSELVES FOR REINFORCEMENT First off, sorry. The title was designed to get your attention. We cannot forget about stress and anxiety but rather than focus on those conditions we assume a dog is experiencing, let’s get down to the business of behavior. It has been important that people have been encouraged to […]

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Learning. Teaching. Doing.

I have a story (it gets to dogs in the end):

My husband was a patient in a teaching hospital this past week. That means doctors at various stages of training spend time learning on him – with varying degrees of competence and success.

One set of particularly inexperienced doctors came in to remove a tube in his chest. They asked him to roll on his side.  Not happening – he has nine broken ribs.

They said that’s how it’s done.

Now my husband isn’t about to be mishandled by a group of young doctors who lack for imagination so he told them they’d better do some thinking or go back to their teacher, because there was zero chance he was going to roll on his side. He can do that because he’s strong and capable of advocating for himself – a human capacity!

Consternation followed. Consultation. Finally, the nurse came in and it got worked out. The tube was pulled out some other way which was maybe less than ideal – but husband was happy and the doctors got their practice.

Afterwards, my husband chatted with the nurse about it – he was sort of flabbergasted that the trainees could be so clueless and obstinate about what was patently obvious – you cannot ask a patient with broken ribs to roll on their side “because that’s the way they learned to do it”.  Her response was excellent (now we get to the dog training part).

She said these young doctors are working so hard just to get it right that they have nothing left for bedside manner or thinking outside the box. Every ounce of their energy is tied up in the actual mechanics of the procedure – doing it correctly. And that leaves little room for exceptions to the rule. None actually. Not because alternatives don’t exist but because they have no bandwidth left.

When we train our dogs to do things that are new to us, or when we train our human students to train their dogs – we see this same thing! So wrapped up in doing it right that they absolutely miss the forest – they are staring at the bark on the trees.

This is a cautionary tale. When you train, step back and observe your learner. Is this working for them? Is there another way to approach it that might be more fun, more comfortable, or more clear, even if it is a lesser technique? Yes, mechanics matter and it does help to do things “right” but not if that takes place at the comfort and joy of the learner.

Ask yourself – if this working for the “other”? And if not, can you find another route that accommodates their needs rather than forcing your preferences onto them?  You don’t necessarily need to hold others to the standards that you hold yourself and you don’t necessarily need to do things the “right” way if it’s sucking the joy out of what you’re doing.  Always remember the big picture.

Dog training has been done for a very very long time by people with or without skills and with or without formal training.  We often get from here to there regardless of our level of skill if we focus on the bigger picture.  What is the end goal?  Is there flexibility in the actual steps that take us there?  Allow for that in your learner – keep them in the game and inspire them to stay engaged. Experiment as desired!  Feeling successful, engaged and progressing is more important than getting each step done exactly correctly. This is true whether your learner is your own dog, or a student who is struggling to master your techniques.

End note #1: My husband was in a bicycle/car accident.  He’s going to be recovering for awhile but he’s also expected to be fine – I know some of you will worry so I wanted to add that bit.  It’s going to be okay.

End note #2. Tomorrow is the start of registration for both six-week-long classes and workshops for the February term at FDSA.  I’m teaching a workshop on Disengagement.  Almost time for registration!  PPP workshops for February will also open tomorrow!

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Dogs Helping the Helpers

A new breed of facility dog supports first responders
Delray with Emergency Medical Services team

When Delray runs—ears waving like wings and jowls flying—you wouldn’t guess he’s the first of his kind in North America: an Emergency Medical Services professional peer-support dog. Purpose-bred, highly trained and heavily invested in, the big black Lab has an important job: help the helpers we rely on when catastrophes happen.

Imagine you’re a first responder. You’re routinely present for the worst moments of a person’s life, and far too many deaths. While part of the honor and reward of this high-impact profession, this also puts you at risk for psychological injury. The suicide rate among first responders (paramedics, firefighters and police) is tragically high, and services available for prevention and treatment of occupational stress injuries are still catching up.

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Zeal of the convert: Canine seat belts

Just over a week ago, I was in one of those car accidents
that remind you to slow down and not take life and health for granted. Not that
I was speeding; a crash happened about 10 or more car lengths in front of me,
and I managed to stop the car without hitting the mess in front – and so did
the guy behind me – but the car behind both of us didn’t. We were hit from
behind fairly hard. My car was banged up, and my passenger and I definitely
felt some aftereffects of whiplash, but afterward, all I could think of was
that I was so glad I didn’t have any dogs in the car. (Virtually all of my friends: “You didn’t have a dog with you??!”)

Not only do canine seat belts prevent dogs from being thrown
through the car like a dangerous projectile in a car crash, they keep dogs from
being flung out of the car onto the roadway – or escaping in a panic through
broken windows immediately afterward. The accident was somehow confined to the
middle lane of five lanes– and this being a big city on a Saturday afternoon,
traffic continued to pour past the damaged and disabled cars on both sides, at
least until the Highway Patrol came and stopped the traffic on the right two
lanes so an ambulance, a fire truck, and several tow trucks could attend to the
hurt drivers and disabled vehicles. If a dog had been thrown out of any of the
crashed cars, or had escaped from one, the dog’s death under a passing car
would have been the next horror to happen. Again, I didn’t even have a dog with
me, but I can see that happening as clearly as I can see what actually did happen.

There are many online groups that have Facebook pages where
members can share information about lost dogs, and at least a couple times a year, I see a post from someone who lost
dogs in the chaos of a car crash and is hoping beyond hope that the dog will be
found unhurt. But there’s nothing like your own crash, or one that happens to a
friend, to remind you that protecting your dog is just as important as
protecting your children and other loved ones in a car.

Let me be that friend. Buckle up those pups!

(And, yes, I’m gathering products for an updated review of
canine seat belts and other car restraints.)

The post Zeal of the convert: Canine seat belts appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

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The Eye of the Trainer

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