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Archive for April, 2013

Do You Have an Olympian?

Apr 18, 2013

Dog owners and how to keep your dogs healthy and happy

Dogs are naturally competitive. They like to race one another, play tug of war (hopefully not with your winter scarf), and otherwise run around and enjoy being a dog. Many of us are familiar with dog shows, often designed to demonstrate training, style, and good cooperation between owner and pet. However, there’s another way your dog can show off their skills in a different way.

We’ve enjoyed the Olympics for years, watching the world’s greatest athletes compete through physical and mental obstacles to claim gold. But, there is another Olympic event completely dedicated to our four-legged friends- the Dog Olympics.

What are the Dog Olympics? 

Much like the Olympics we’re familiar with, these events are designed to test both dog and owner skill and cooperation. Amongst the events you may encounter are high-flying disc routines, head-to-head weave pole races, and even dog diving trials (for those that enjoy a good swim).

Others are far more in-depth, much like the triathlon designed to test agility. Here, the dog navigates an obstacle course of tunnels, ramps and weave poles, while taking cues from the trainer to help guide them on the right path.

Not every dog can become a national qualifier for the USDAA competition though. It’s an invitation-only event that often takes years of training to qualify for. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other Olympic events you can’t take part in. Some are as extravagant as the Canine Max Dog Olympics, which take place in Llanelli, South Wales this year. But others are far more local, if you keep your eyes and ears out.

Preparing for the Olympics

Working at the park is one of the best ways to start preparing your dog to be an Olympian. One of the biggest tests, one that we don’t think about when it comes to testing agility and skill, is that the crowd-factor plays a big part in your dog’s attention. Being able to handle your dog in a crowded environment is very important, not just for Olympic achievement, but because it helps keep them safe when you’re out and about.

Naturally, the act of keeping your dog active is important to their health and endurance. While your dog might be agile and strong, how long can they keep it up? Is their heart and circulation healthy enough to keep them going throughout the day when faced with prolonged activity? Many dogs spend a great deal of their time hanging around the house, often becoming a couch potato while you’re away at work. Activity games, especially puzzles and mental challenges, will help keep your dog active, even when you’re not there.

Working on their advanced training and skills, such as catching and retrieving (do they bring it back to you afterwards?) should be on your list of Olympic challenges. Keep in mind that this isn’t just a test of your dog’s abilities, but also a test of the cooperation and bond that you both share. It’s important that your dog respond to you effectively, even when there are distractions all around. Such skills would include “staying” in a difficult position, such as a balance board, or weaving properly through a channel and avoiding knocking over any of the cones (dogs as drivers?).

Your own Olympics

What about local Olympic situations? While some cities do host their own Dog Olympic events, you don’t have to be a nationally sanctioned body to enjoy the fun and entertainment this type of event presents. With the help of some of your fellow dog owners, you can set up a challenge course for dogs at the local park and invite others to take part in the fun.

In fact, most dog parks actually have a number of these athletic devices available. Tunnels, pole runs, and even balance boards can be turned into friendly competition. When it comes to disc tosses, all you need is a Frisbee and someone to throw it. And as your venture begins to grow, you might even gain the attention of some outsiders in the future, and potentially a few nationals who appreciate the abilities of the participants. Just be sure that everyone there understands the meaning of friendly competition- it’s never something to get upset about.

Don’t be discouraged if your dog isn’t the fastest or strongest though. After all, they really don’t care about that at all. They just enjoy the fun of the experience and the time they get to spend with you and their friends. Perhaps that’s a valuable lesson dogs hope everyone will someday learn.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Rocky the Puppy-Sitter

Apr 16, 2013

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

The doorbell rang again, so I could tell whoever or whatever was on the other side of it was getting quite weary about waiting. I was too, but the old man had yet to respond to my calls. I’ll just have to go get him, which I’ve had to constantly do ever since he started up with his tinker-table projects.

I crossed the couch room and popped into what used to be the old spare bedroom. Here, the old man was still engulfed in his toys and was entirely focused on playing, just like when I get a new chew bone. I called to him again, and this time finally got his attention.

He grunted as he got out of his chair and started towards the door, announcing that he was now coming. I rushed back to the door to double check on the situation. I sniffed around, catching a faint whiff of what smelled like a lady and another dog. It had to be a dog. I could smell the treats someone was carrying around in their pocket.

After I had been secured in my buddy’s arms, the old man opened the door and greeted the apparent guests. And just as I had suspected, it was a woman and her dog that looked almost like Izzy. She was all fluffy and had a little short tail too.

Before any formal introductions could be established, both the new dog and I were escorted out into the back yard. I was placed down on the patio, at which point I asked blatantly what the meaning of all this was, to which the old man simply replied by patting me on the head and telling me to be a good boy.

Wow, this whole situation was kind of thrown right at me unexpectedly. And it didn’t help that there was now a strange dog in my yard. I turned to study my “new playmate” with just enough time to see the oncoming tackle, which wasn’t graceful by any means. I pushed her off and set some distance between us just in case.

“Who are you?” I asked with authority.

Her head cocked from one side to the other, her floppy ears perking up halfway- one a little higher than the other. Then she just barked two woofs and a “yup” sound. So I asked again. I got a different answer this time. This is just great. I’m puppy-sitting. This young rascal hasn’t even learned to talk yet!

For her the conversation must’ve been over, as she moved on to more interesting things. One of which just so inconveniently happened to be the garden. Now, I know that dogs weren’t supposed to play there, and even Izzy and Buck know better. But how am I going to tell this puppy that?

I called to her, trying to get her to come back, but she dove right in. And wouldn’t you know it, but the old man had been watering the garden just this morning. Every dog enjoys a good dig on occasion, whether it’s checking for bugs or hiding some treasure, but digging in mud is explicitly irresistible to the younger types. And this pup was no exception.

At the edge of the carrot bed (I occasionally sneak out one when the old man isn’t looking) the mud started to fly. I did the only thing I could think of at the time- I tackled her. We both fell deeper into the mud, at which point it turned into a game for her. She bounced up and pushed me over with her paws, moving me deeper into the garden where the ground was soft and sticky. I stood back up, but my paws sunk all the way up to my belly. It was a struggle, but I managed to get out of the stickiness and back out into the grass, where I discovered that she was at it again. Now she was digging in a new spot, and the funny thing was that she didn’t even look like a puppy anymore. She looked more like a big glob of mud that was digging up even more mud and spraying it into the yard.

Hollers of surprise got my attention, and I turned to see the old man and the strange woman standing on the patio’s edge. His arms were crossed, and he had that very serious look on his face. Solemn expressions turned to shock as the puppy rushed over to them and slung mud all over the place.

Puppies, what a handful. It’s hard to imagine I was once a young and rascally nuisance too. So, I just shook off the mud and calmly told the old man the situation.

“I think we need a bath.”

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own “rocky” adventures.

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The Best Reasons to Adopt Senior Dogs

Apr 11, 2013

Dog lovers and why your should adopt senior dogs

It can be exciting to invite a new puppy into the home. They’re all full of energy and just want to explore the world around them. This often makes them the target of potential dog owners who want to adopt them into their lives. And in any case, providing a home for a dog is a great thing to do.

But the truth is, it’s just as great to adopt a senior dog as it is to adopt a puppy. These seniors have a lot of character that goes overlooked, especially at a shelter. What you should know is that seniors may have just the right qualities to fit comfortably in your home, and can provide you with the ideal companionship matched with your lifestyle.

Easy to expect

With seniors, you already know what to expect. Unlike a puppy, seniors are fully grown and have fewer changes to face in the future. In most situations, this applies directly to size. Consider a situation in which you rent housing. A puppy may start out below the lease’s required limits, but a senior will match and hold up without leaving you worrying about them outgrowing their stay.

Appetite is another thing. Young puppies will inherently demand more food as they grow bigger. With a senior dog, you already know what to expect, which means no unexpected bursts in hunger or even mood swings.

Teaching old dogs new tricks

Another considerable benefit is that seniors don’t require the same attention that young puppies or growing ones require. Needless to say, the need to monitor them isn’t a 24/7 job. They’re often potty trained as well, and while the details won’t be the same (such as their potty location), the basics are already covered, making training a much simpler task to achieve.

Additionally, other housetraining situations are also much kinder on your homestead. For the most part, you skip the teething years, which are often the worst on furniture and cushions as any dog-parent that has raised a puppy can vouch. In essence, seniors tend to be less destructive than their younger counterparts, and are often relaxed and more focused on spending time enjoying your company.

And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Older dogs inherently want to focus on you and provide the best attention, whereas young puppies and even mature adults are intrigued by the whole world. This extra attention may be just the thing you were looking for after a long day at work. They want to warm up with you and perhaps enjoy a good rub down while you enjoy the feel of their fur and companionship they provide while you unwind after a long day at work.

Getting along

Older dogs tend to get along better with everyone, both people and pets included. They’ve been around, have grown wiser, and often settle into their new homes very easily because they already know what it takes to become a part of a family. In many cases, introducing a senior dog to other pets is easy, since they’re often much more focused on fitting in and less competitive.

For the most part, they enjoy the more relaxing aspects of life. Not everyone has time to entertain an active puppy, spending time training and introducing them to the entire world. Senior dogs don’t want to conquer the world around them (they already have), they just want to enjoy some time with their companions and have some fun in the process.

But, that isn’t to say that seniors aren’t active. Every dog, both young and old, needs to experience an active lifestyle. Though they may have slowed down a little, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to get out and enjoy some activity. It just means that they’ve never done it with you, and that’s the best part of finding a new friend.

Most importantly, taking in a senior dog saves a life. Older dogs are often the last ones to be adopted at a shelter, and the older they are, the less likely it becomes they will find a happy home. Saving a life offers an emotional return in itself, and can be amongst the most rewarding parts of the adoption process.

If you’re considering adopting a dog, consider one that has some experience under their collar (pun intended). They may not have grown up with you, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy their life with you. And sometimes, you might find they have a few tricks they can teach you if you keep your mind and heart open.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Bored with an Attitude

Apr 9, 2013

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

Well, my cave was fun while it lasted, because now it has met with a most untimely end. First it was folded. Then it was crumpled and crushed. Finally, it found its way out the back door and right into the trash. It’s a shame really, since it was keeping me so interested and entertained. Now, I’m bored at the moment.

All those little pieces of wood ended up being assembled into a rather large table thingy, which would be cool if it had tunnels and toys that would provide a little entertainment. But it has none of that for me. For the old man, it’s a different story. The drawers open, and out pops a new toy for the old man. It’s the craziest thing. I just wish he would get something like that for me.

I do enjoy seeing the old man excited about his new table toy-making thing, but he isn’t paying very much attention to me anymore. He just sits and tinkers, while I fight my stuffed squirrel or watch the birds hop around in the yard. I’d chase them, but that gets a little old after a while.

The thing I really want is to play with the old man. Right now, he’s tinkering at his table, moving his tools around tediously with paws that don’t seem to be tiring anytime soon. He’s been at it since lunch time, and I’m pretty sure we missed our walk yesterday. I really don’t want to miss it today, so I’m going to have to get him back in the game.

My plan begins with a search through my toy box for something strategically intriguing. If I were the old man, what kind of toy would I like the best? Let’s see: there’s my squeaky carrot, but I don’t think he cares for that one much. I could try my ball, but it’s kind of iffy.

Ball in mouth, I trot over to the old man and drop it under his chair and check his expression for any signs of interest. Nothing. I paw his shoe, just to be sure, but there is still no response. I’ll have to try something else, something that he’ll definitely want to play with.

Back at my box, I dig through my assorted goodies. There’s a throwing dish that’s been chewed beyond flight, the good old little-ball-in-big-ball puzzle that I still haven’t figured out, a soccer ball, and my stuffed squirrel. I think the squirrel will get the old man going today. We always get a good game of tug going when I get this rascal out.

I bring the fiercest play toy back to the old man. There will be playtime now, there’s no doubt about it. I stare up at the old man whose attention has yet to waver from his tedious entertainment. I impatiently paw his leg, higher each time until I’m standing up against his knee. But he still doesn’t give me the attention I need. A bark of frustration is muffled by my stuffed squirrel, so to get my requests better heard, I drop my toy in his lap and bark again.

The old man jumps and his eyes finally train on me. At last, I have his attention. He picks up the squirrel and looks at it carefully. Then he tosses it across the room. Of course, I have to chase it, no matter how long or short the distance. It lands with a squeak behind the sofa, and I have it again, squeezing it until it squeaks again to announce my victory.

My triumph is short lived however. I return to the table and the old man, but he’s right back to playing with his own toys. That’s enough of this. I hop up in his lap and squeak the squirrel right in his face. That gets his attention quickly, but all he does is take the squirrel and nonchalantly toss it away again. I don’t chase it this time.

“Play with me!” I howl. He stares at me. I stare at him. And then he noses me and rolls his eyes. I can feel him getting up beneath me, so I’m sure we’re going to do something now for sure. He rustles through some stuff and finds his outside hat and my trusty leash. Great, we’re finally going to go do something together! It only took most of the day and a little Rocky-attitude, but I got the job done. What else would you expect from a great dog like me?

You ready, old man? Let’s go play.

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own “rocky” adventures.

 

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How Active is Your Dog?

Apr 4, 2013

Dog care for your active dog

One of the key elements to dog ownership and parenting is to keep your pup active and happy. Not all dogs are going to be bouncing off the walls and chasing balls, though there are times when every dog wants and needs to get out and be active. In most situations, we take our dogs out for walks and even play a game of fetch at the park. But is that enough for them?

Aspects to consider

One of the first questions every owner should ask themselves is: What breed is your dog? All dogs need to experience an active lifestyle, but those who enjoy the company of working, herding, hound, or terrier breeds will notice they are often very active and require a lot of attention, which you must be ready to deliver. This is one of the most important things to consider when you adopt a new pup into your home, since your lifestyle may not mesh well with the activity levels your dog needs to stay healthy and happy.

Ask yourself a few questions about your dog’s personality as well, since breed won’t always determine how much activity your dog needs. Are they active and attentive to you? Are they confident about exploring new things?

Their present weight can also play a big part in their activity levels as well. Are they getting a little pudgy around the middle? If you can’t feel their ribs (be sure to account for the fur), they might be putting on a little too much weight. And it doesn’t take much for a dog to become overweight and unhealthy.

Weather will play a part in your dog’s activity levels as well, such as cold and heat. Most dogs won’t be active during the hot hours of the day, but when it gets cool and in some cases a light shower falls, you may find your pup eager to get out and enjoy some time exploring in the cooler air. In fact, most dogs, especially long-fur breeds, will want to get outside when conditions are around 60 to 70 degrees, much like we would. So be sure to make the most of the weather and enjoy some activity time together.

Also, the age of your dog matters, such as the huge difference between puppies and seniors. Puppies need early stimulation and as much attention as you can offer, while most seniors will simply want to enjoy the comfort of your company, often relaxing and getting their bellies rubbed.

How active should your dog be?

So, therein lies the real question: How often should your dog be active? All of the mentioned factors will affect their comfort, health, and trainability. Interacting with your dog consistently helps develop a special bond between the both of you. Have you ever noticed your pup rushing out to chase a squirrel or pursue a butterfly through the yard? Many dogs will find these activities irresistible, but they can pose a danger as well, especially when they run off and fail to react to your commands, such as return or stay.

The key is to keep up with your dog’s activity demands. Are they regularly stimulated? This applies to both mental and physical challenges to keep them entertained. And don’t assume that your dog isn’t smart, because they are inherently problem solvers. They enjoy puzzles and obstacles that challenge their intelligence just as much as they enjoy a good race against you and their fellow friends out at the park or even around the yard.

In fact, many dog owners may have encountered their “escape artist” companions wandering around the neighborhood unexpectedly. This often happens in dogs that have little stimulation or activity where they’re at, which can make the grass on the other side of the fence seem a little more colorful. This is often a sign that they need a lot more attention from you, and there are several forms that you can deliver to keep them settled and happy right where they are.

Keeping them active

The simplest activity that most owners consider is regular walks. Not only does it give the pup time to address their potty issues, but it offers stimulation of their mind through sights, smells, and interaction that are provided in the environment. It also naturally develops a bond between you and your dog, since the journey is shared together.

The other is mental stimulation, such as puzzles and goals that can keep your dog active while you’re away. Luckily, the pet toys industry has started to produce more “puzzle” toys for dogs, such as Kong’s bone that can be filled with various treats they need to work to get to. Others can be as simple as putting a Frisbee on the tile floor, making it a challenge for the dog to pick up. You may even hide their toys throughout the home (a bag of tennis balls is cheap and there’s plenty of them), leaving your dog exploring and active while you’re gone. Designing different challenges for your dog will help keep them busy, especially while you’re away at work.

Keeping your dog active is an extremely important part of being a dog owner or parent. Not every dog is going to be as active as the next, and with the busy world we live in, it can be difficult to always be there to keep your dog entertained. But, there are many forms of entertainment that can keep your dog active, even when you aren’t around. So be sure that whether you’re here or there, your pup stays happy and active so they can get the best out of their life with you.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Special Delivery for Rocky

Apr 2, 2013

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

I was out battling the wind and checking up on the yard when I heard the distinct doorbell sound, telling me that there was someone at the front door. The gust blew more dirt into my face, leading me to sneeze. It had been bad like this the past few days, and both I and the old man had a little nose trouble of sorts. But, he was much worse off than I was, constantly succumbing to blowing his nose.

I stepped through my little door as one last sneeze cleared me up. Now I could listen in on what was going on. I heard voices, two of them, from somewhere near the front door. I raced to protect my home from any unwanted invaders.

I leapt into the couch-room and released a mighty roar of authority from my high place on the old man’s chair. There were two unknown men here, accompanied by the old man who seemed not to care that our home had become overwhelmingly occupied by these people.

With another roar, I had their attention (okay, so they aren’t necessarily roars, but give a dog some credit). Both invaders turned their attention from the object they were carrying and gave me wide eyed stares. Now they would listen to me.

Or maybe not. The old man moved fast and had me in his puppy-hold (I have yet to escape this technique) and held his hand over my face, blocking my view. Though I couldn’t see them, I took careful note of the noises they made and the scent trail lingering in the air. But then I sneezed again.

After a fit of the nose itches, I was able to focus on the scene again, but by then the invaders had left (for their own good), and I was back on all fours, with permission to scout the area for further intrusion.

The first thing I noticed was this thing. A huge block left in the middle of the floor now filled up the majority of my runway. It had markings all over it, and was definitely not supposed to be here. I couldn’t move it though. It was huge, probably bigger than the old man. Maybe it’s a house to live in or something, but it had no doorways. It was certainly tall enough for me, and long enough for me to race around in if need be. The question remained though, how could I get in it?

The old man answered my question a few moments later. One side of the box opened up, revealing a block of wood. Cedar, as my nose knows best. But, that wasn’t the only thing to come out. By the time the old man had cleaned out the box, there was pile of wood scraps that a dog could play fetch with for a lifetime. I picked up one of the smaller pieces and offered it to the old man. He just took it away and told me it wasn’t my toy.

“So, where’s my stuff then?” I obstinately inquired, “Surely there’s something in here for me.”

After another sneezing fit, the old man gave me a sly look. With a slight push, the old man scooted me into the box, where I was surrounded by a new world. It was like being in a cave. I wandered down the way, the light growing dimmer as I explored.

Wow, my new toy was a cave and the old man had cleared out the wood blocking the entrance. Think of all the cool games we could play now. I turned and raced out, scrambling for traction. As I exited, I pounced into the air and made a lap around the room in search of my ball.

Once I remembered where I hid it, I brought it back to the old man, who was now studying some book. It’s strange how simple things can fascinate my companion sometimes. He needs to have more fun. We’ll play ball in my new cave.

I dropped my toy in his lap, but he didn’t even look up. But, he did understand what we were supposed to be doing, even if he was still fascinated with his silly book thing. He tossed the ball, exactly how he was supposed to- right into the cave. I dove in hot pursuit as the ball bounced erratically down the cave walls. We did this all afternoon, the old man sitting and looking observant of both the wood and his book while I chased the ball and played in my new cave. And I’ll tell you, my best friend sure knows how to make a pup happy.

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own “rocky” adventures.

Bookmark and Share