Do You Have an Olympian?

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

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

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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