Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Fun Summer Backyard!

So often I have folks complaining to me that their dog doesn't want to spend much time outside in the backyard alone.  Well of course there are a few reasons, one big one is you aren't there, you are inside, so where does the dog want to be?  With you of course!  However, that said, it might be time to take a look at your backyard from a dog's point of view.  How much fun is it really out there.  If you were to put a child in a backyard with no playset or play area, they wouldn't last long!  Why do kids love to go to the park and play?  Because of all the interesting things there.  Can we make a more pleasurable backyard for our dogs without ruining it's look?  Of course!!!

First always have a water supply.  There are many beautiful ways to do this, while keeping the water fresh.  Take a peek at your local Fleet Farms, Home Depots, etc. to find one.
Shade:  Seems like a no brainer, but your pup needs it! 
Fence:  Of course!!!!
Dog Safe garden area:  Dogs love to explore - be sure the Dog Garden plants are safe for them!
Mulch:  Mulch is soft on the paws and doesn't hold the heat
Play Place:  This is where you and your dog can go and play fetch, find it, even obedience practice!!!
Their Place: I love the pic of the dog house - having a place that your dog likes to be that gets them off the ground a bit, and some shade is a great idea!
Dogs love to explore - if you have the area to put in some paths, go for it!

I keep a toy box outside during the summer.  It has safe chews, balls, and more!  Yep, before you mow you have to do a toy hunt, but it's great for the dogs to puruse through when they're out there alone.

Hide treats!  A great hunt and find exercise is just what the dog ordered!  Take three Kongs, stuff them up.  Show them to your dog.  Then while the dog is watching (but not allowed to follow you!) "hide" them behind trees, under a bush, etc.  Yes, he'll see you, but remember, he has three to find!  He'll be able to hunt them down, eat them and go for more.  A nice relaxing "game" for him.

And of course YOU are the best to have outside with them.  They love it when we're all together, don't they!  So think about making your backyard a bit more fun for your dog.  Just being outside can be boring, so jazz it up a bit and put your thinking caps on!  You'll figure out what your individual dog needs to be entertained and happy back there for some time!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The joy of Walking with your Dog

Hey, I'm baaack!  Time to get blogging again! 

Let's talk walks.  Most people look at them as a necessary thing because it gives their dogs "exercise"  You see folks letting their dogs go anywhere they want ahead of them while they talk or text on their cell phones.  Imagine you were on a walk with someone.  You really like this person and love spending time with them.  You get to go out with them and the entire time you are with them they totally ignore you except to now and then tell you to stop doing something.   I think (IMHO of course!) that we have actually trained our dogs to ignore us on a walk.  By not interacting, reacting, or be pro-active with our dogs on a walk we teach them to effectively ignore us and do whatever they want.  Now I'm not saying you have to have a nonstop conversation with your dog, but imagine your pup's surprise when you go out if 1) you insist they walk on your side  2) you carry small treats for them when they give a nice look or "check in" 3) YOU find things for them to go investigate instead of letting them drag you from tree to tree (or worse, mail box to mail box!).  I do chatter at my dog when we walk.  I stop at least once or twice on our walk to just crouch down and give them some loving, a little kiss or some nice petting.  There are times we are just walking together quitely, enjoy the air, moving at a comfortable but consistent pace and just "being" together.   When you come in from a walk with your dog you should feel like you just spent some quality time with them versus you "there, we got that done"!!  So enjoy those walks - don't be invisible to your dog!