Monthly Archives: May 2021

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

 

 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

 

 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

 

 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

 

 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

 

 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

www.thehighdrivedog.com is open!!!

 

Come visit my new business:  www.thehighdrivedog.com!

The High Drive Dog subscription service is all about your driven dogs – the ones you love for their intensity and enthusiasm!  And, sometimes you wish they would just…

Calm down.  Slow down.  Gve the toy back. Stop treating the entire world like their personal playground, at your expense.

Join a group of individuals who love their high drive dogs and who want to bring out the best in them.  Here we’ll talk about all the things!  Gaining cooperation.  Balancing drives and control.  Raising a dog who tends towards overarousal – and then seems to get stuck there.

At this time there are three classrooms open.

  1. All of my FB and IG lives where I discuss everything from recognizing your dog’s emotional state to determining the best training for your individual dog.
  2. My edited and subtitled videos detailing my daily behavior work with Dice in public.  See how I address his high levels of arousal in relation to dogs, cars, people, wildlife, etc. Ask questions in a safe space with others who share your struggles.
  3. And now…my current (daily) work with Dice – whatever is the focus on the day!  These topics may be obedience-focused (How am I addressing his forging in heeling?), impulse control work (brain games!), really good training (building up a behavior chain via foundation behaviors strung together), and a whole lot more!  Your target sport is not relevant – good training is good training.

Eventually, ALL of his puppy videos will also be uploaded so you’ll have a chance to see exactly how I taught every. little. thing.  They will be unedited. So – how does one handle the errors?  The frustrating days when the puppy is running wild? Out of control?

Oh – community!  I forgot to mention that but it’s big because – you’re not alone.  Even if you’re frustrated and embarrassed by your dog – you’re not alone.  Here you can join a community of people who understand what it’s like to raise a dog who might be prone to over-aroused or creative behavior, or simply take this opportunity to chat with other folks who thrive on the same kind of dog that you do – high energy,high arousal, driven, and a whole lot of dog.

At this time we have two focused communities.  One is specific to dogs with Big Feelings! And the other is for discussions about raising and training a high drive dog.

The program opened about a week ago, so this is the perfect time to join. Several videos are open for discussion and the community is getting to know each other – one dog at a time!

www.thehighdrivedog.com

Tuition is $9.95, renewed monthly. Scholarships are available.

 

The post www.thehighdrivedog.com is open!!! appeared first on Denise Fenzi's Blog.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

 

 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dog Muzzles: When To Use Them and How

Muzzles, and the dogs who wear them, often get a bad rap, as many people associate them with dogs who may display aggressive behavior. In reality, there are plenty of reasons why even the most mild-mannered, sociable dogs might need to be muzzled, along with numerous situations where using a muzzle is an act of responsible dog ownership.

Muzzles can be used to help keep people and other animals safe in a variety of circumstances:

✔ In an emergency. When a dog is in pain, fearful, and/or pushed past her limits, she may pose a bite risk, so the use of a muzzle keeps everyone safe. 

✔ As “insurance” when working through a training plan. A muzzle can be a valuable tool to help ensure the safety of other people and animals when working on a behavior modification program. A muzzle should never replace training to address the root of the issue that leads to the potential bite risk, but it’s a great safety net in case things don’t go as planned during a training session.

✔ As a supervised management tool. In some cases, a muzzle can be safely used to prevent the ingestion of dangerous items, while allowing the dog to explore on a walk; to prevent the dog from harming wildlife; or even as added security in situations where you aren’t sure how the dog will react. 

✔ When required by law. In some areas, dogs – or certain breeds of dogs – are required to wear a muzzle when in public.

TYPES OF MUZZLES

There are two basic types of muzzles:

* “Basket” muzzles encase the dog’s snout in a basket with straps fastened around the neck and head. They are typically made from plastic, rubber, or silicone. While a basket muzzle limits the degree to which a dog can open its mouth, a properly fitted basket muzzle allows the dog to relax its mouth enough to pant. The open weave of the basket makes it possible for the dog to eat and drink, making a good choice for muzzle-training programs. 

Muzzles like this are for brief use only, as they restrict panting. © Makidotvn | Dreamstime.com

* Then there are muzzles that encase the snout like an open-ended sheath and buckle around the neck. Sometimes called “soft muzzles,” “sleeve muzzles,” or “grooming muzzles,” they are usually made from nylon, mesh, or leather. They are more restrictive than basket muzzles, and prevent a dog from opening its mouth enough to pant, so they should be used only for a few minutes at a time, and not outdoors (where the risk of overheating is greater). These muzzles are often used in vet hospitals or by groomers for brief periods to protect handlers from a dog who is frightened or in pain.

SLOW IS FAST

Teaching your dog to be comfortable in a muzzle is important. We don’t want our dog to simply submit to the muzzle, letting us put it in place without an objection. We want our dog to feel really good about the muzzle. 

It’s important to build a slow, thoughtful development of a positive association with the muzzle – as opposed to simple tolerance – because behavior degrades under stress. If under the best circumstances – relaxed at home, free from pain, away from potentially scary things – your dog only tolerates wearing a muzzle, the introduction of such stressors can lower the dog’s tolerance to “I hate everything that’s happening!” 

In contrast, however, if you’ve taught your dog to feel really good about the muzzle, even if the behavior of wearing a muzzle degrades, it may only decrease from “I like my muzzle!” to “I can tolerate my muzzle.” 

Muzzle training is not just about physical safety; it’s also an investment in your dog’s emotional health and well being. 

Muzzle Must-Haves
Mask-style mesh muzzle for a brachycephalic dog; this one is sold by VetMed Solutions. See vedmedwear.com or call (888)976-8696

A quality basket muzzle should be lightweight, adjustable, and have options for added security to prevent the dog from removing the muzzle. We like the Baskerville Ultra muzzle. It has an additional strap that connects the top of the muzzle to the neck strap, along with a loop to further secure the muzzle to the dog’s collar. It can also be heat-shaped with a hair dryer or hot water to create a customized fit. 

When properly fit, there should be a small gap between the dog’s nose and the end of the muzzle, and the open-end of the basket should sit below the dog’s eyes. The diameter of the basket should allow the dog to partially open his mouth to pant. You should be able to fit one finger between the edge of the muzzle and the snout, as well as between the straps and the dog’s neck. 

Brachycephalic breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs can be more challenging to fit with a muzzle due to their short snouts. Many do better in a mask-style mesh muzzle (designed specifically for such breeds) that covers more of the dog’s face, but has eyeholes to keep from obstructing the dog’s vision.

MAKING MUZZLES MAGICAL

These three steps will help your dog develop positive feelings about seeing and wearing a muzzle. We recommend working with a basket muzzle, as it’s less restrictive and easier to use with treats. 

1. Muzzle means delicious treats. Hold the muzzle in one hand and feed your dog tiny, delicious treats from the other hand. After a few treats, put the muzzle behind your back and stop feeding. Continue this process, moving the muzzle closer to your dog’s face, until you can present the muzzle right next to your dog’s face and he’s happy to eat offered treats. 

Repeat this process three to five times per day for several days. Practice in different rooms. After a few days, your dog starts to think, “I’m not sure what this is, but when it comes out, I get treats. Cool!”  

2. A basket of treats. After a few days of being fed by hand when the muzzle comes out, we’re ready for the dog to move toward the muzzle. 

If you have already taught your dog a nose-target behavior (often called “touch”), ask for a touch as you present the muzzle. Reward your dog for targeting any part of the muzzle – but to encourage him to actively insert his snout into the muzzle, deliver the treats within the basket. 

If your dog is leery of putting his snout into something restrictive, work on that ahead of time with an easier object, such as a food bowl or water bucket. If your dog shies away as you move to adjust his collar, work on this separately, to prepare your dog for having your hands over his head as you buckle the muzzle and adjust the straps.

The goal is to work this step until the dog is happily shoving his face into the muzzle basket for treats. You can test the strength of the behavior by slowly moving the muzzle away from your dog as he moves toward it, making him try harder to land his snout in the “sweet spot.” The dog should move toward the muzzle; don’t move the muzzle toward the dog.

3. Buckle up, buttercup! Once your dog is happily shoving his snout into the basket, it’s time to work on keeping the snout in the basket as you buckle and adjust the straps. A dollop of squeeze cheese (or peanut butter or something similar) applied to the inside of the basket frees up your hands to handle straps. Time your strap-handling so that you’re able to buckle or adjust – and then remove the muzzle – before your dog finishes licking the reward. We want the dog to think, “Hey! I wasn’t done yet. Put that back on!”

Work up to the point that your dog accepts the muzzle for longer periods of time and, eventually, in the absence of frequently flowing treats – especially if your dog will need to wear a muzzle while on walks or when with other dogs. If your training is primarily for emergencies, don’t forget to periodically revisit the “magic muzzle” training to remind your dog the muzzle is a good thing. 

The post Dog Muzzles: When To Use Them and How appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

 

 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dog Tear Stains: What You Should Know

It’s frustrating to see rusty brown tear stains on your dog’s beautiful face. With so many tear-stain-removing products for sale in the pet supply stores, you may be tempted to buy one. But if your dog has watery eyes, before reaching for products that may help remove tear stains, please have your dog examined by a veterinarian. There are many conditions that can cause the eyes to water excessively which, left unaddressed, can result in pain and loss of vision.

The list of possible underlying issues is long. Some of the most common include allergies, inflammatory conditions (like conjunctivitis, corneal irritation, or ulcer), foreign bodies, glaucoma, distichiasis (eye lashes growing from the wrong place), entropion (eyelids that roll in so that haired skin rubs on the cornea), facial nerve paralysis (eyelids can’t blink), and nasolacrimal (tear duct) obstruction. 

It should go without saying that if you notice any sign of pain or discomfort, such as a yellow or green discharge from the eyes, redness, itching, or pawing at the eyes, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible. 

If your veterinarian identifies an underlying medical issue that can be managed or corrected, tear staining will no longer be an issue. It’s also good news if no underlying issues are identified. Epiphora (excessive tears that overflow onto the face) is neither painful nor dangerous for your dog. It is simply a cosmetic issue. Sometimes simple changes in grooming habits will help.

GROOMING SOLUTIONS

If your dog has long hair on her face and near her eyes, keep this hair  trimmed back. Long hairs rubbing on the eyes are very irritating. Long hairs around the eyes also wick tears down onto the face. 

Cleanse your dog’s periocular (around the eyes) area at least once a day with a clean moist cloth or cotton ball. Eye-wash solutions containing boric acid are safe to use. 

Rubbing a tiny amount of petroleum jelly onto the hair near the inside corner of the eye after cleansing can help keep the tears from penetrating the hair between cleanings, which helps minimizing staining.

HOME REMEDIES MIGHT WORK

As a veterinarian, I’ve heard about all sorts of things that some people do to try to reduce tear staining. Some people report success with things like adding buttermilk flour, parsley flakes, or apple cider vinegar to the dog’s food. Probiotics are purported to help with tear staining. Using Bausch + Lomb Renu contact lens solution for cleansing around the eyes has resulted in improvement.

Sometimes a simple diet change results in resolution of epiphora and tear staining. When this happens, it is likely the dog had an underlying allergy to some ingredient in his former diet.

The bottom line for all these home remedies: As long as they are not harmful to your dog, there is no harm in trying them. You’ll need to give anything you’re trying at least three months before expecting to see results. As always, your veterinarian is your best resource regarding the safety of anything you are thinking of trying.

AN OTC PRODUCT THAT WORKED

Eyedrops or ointments that contain antibiotics should be reserved for dogs whose excessive tear production leads to secondary problems, such as a foul odor or skin irritation. Indiscriminate use may lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”.

The most popular and widely known over-the-counter product for reducing tear stains is called Angels’ Eyes. Years ago, this product really worked, thanks to its active ingredient, an antibiotic called tylosin tartrate. 

In 2014, the FDA cracked down on using this product for this purpose in dogs and cats, and the tylosin was removed from the Angels’ Eyes’ product formulations. In the opinion of many users, without tylosin, the product seemed less effective. 

Today, Angels’ Eyes offers several supplements (in soft-chew and powdered form) that contain cranberry extract. The bioflavonoids in cranberry extract alter the ability of bacteria to stick to body tissues. I don’t know if it will reduce tear staining, but it should help alleviate the odor that sometimes comes along with the stains.

Angels’ Eyes also sells an external wipe, used to clean the area around the dog’s eyes. I prefer to use a clean damp cloth for this purpose.

Tetracycline is another antibiotic that has proven to be an effective treatment for tear staining, as it works via a number of mechanisms. Tetracycline biochemically breaks down the hydrostatic bonds in the dog’s tears, making the tears thinner and thereby better able to drain through the dog’s tiny tear ducts. It binds to iron, which is in porphyrin, the pigment responsible for tear staining. Tetracycline has also been found to diffuse into cells and alter the genetic expression of tear type and production. 

The problem is, it’s an antibiotic – and antibiotic resistance is a real danger. Indiscriminate antibiotic use contributes to the development of “super bugs” that are resistant to common antibiotics. These resistant bacteria can cause life-threatening infections. When doctors have no effective treatment options, humans and animals die. With that moral and ethical issue on the table, the question becomes, is it appropriate to use an antibiotic for a purely cosmetic issue in dogs?

ASK YOUR VET

Talk to your veterinarian. If your dog has severe epiphora and tear staining, especially if it’s accompanied by odor and/or some underlying skin irritation, perhaps your veterinarian will prescribe tetracycline or tylosin to get the current problem under control. Improve your dog’s grooming, too: Keep the hair on his face trimmed away from his eyes and clean his face daily. Once the condition is controlled, you should be able to maintain his clean face using the grooming techniques and anecdotal suggestions mentioned above.

And don’t think all those people showing dogs know something you don’t know; they often cover the tear stains with chalk! 

The post Dog Tear Stains: What You Should Know appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment