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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How to Adopt a Stray Dog

Adopting a stray dog for dog lovers

As proud owners of our faithful dogs, we sometimes worry about what would happen if they got lost. They sometimes dig under the fence or find occasion to go exploring without our knowledge, but they come back most of the time. However, on the occasions this doesn’t happen, a dog ends up homeless, wandering around in the neighborhoods and streets.

What happens when you come upon a stray one? There are a few things to consider when finding a stray dog and even more to consider if you think you should keep them as your own.

Finding a stray pup

Always be cautious when approaching a stray dog. They may be aggressive or sometimes sick. Be aware of their paws and claws at all times. You don’t know them and they don’t know you, so they’ll likely be watching you just as keenly. Additionally, don’t approach an ownerless dog while your dog is with you, chances are they’ll get tangled up, which could scare off the stray.

Be aware of your surroundings even as you make the first approach. Don’t cause a scene, hold up traffic, or put yourself in harm’s way when approaching an ownerless puppy. If they run from you, don’t chase as it will only scare them even further. Instead, entice them with goodies, which you should deliver if they abide.

If you’re going to catch a dog, the best tools to use are water and food left out for them. Many dogs tend to be a little shy at first, but will quickly warm up to you once you’ve fed them and shown a little love. This will give you both a chance to examine and study one another, building that initial trust. In many cases, it’s wise not to try to catch a dog on your own, so call for assistance or back-up from a fellow pet owner or someone familiar with dogs (which is preferable).

Taking care of them 

Your own pup may be vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean the stray is. If they don’t have a collar, don’t let them mingle with your other dogs or pets. Several popular diseases, such as distemper, can affect young puppies very easily and are difficult to detect until it’s too late.

Be sure that you wash your hands regularly when handling a stray dog. This will prevent any spread of dirt and germs that could make both you and your pets sick.

Investigate

It is up to you to find out if there’s a rightful owner. Do they have a collar? A collar can hint to the fact that they’ve had a family and may have simply escaped.

While it may sound a little outrageous, you should ask them if they know where their home is (not literally). Quite simply, walk them around the neighborhood (it’s a good idea to use some of your dog’s old collars and leashes). Do they want to go somewhere in particular? Do they get excited in certain surroundings? Is someone looking for them? In most situations, a neighbor will recognize a puppy, and can help direct you towards the owners. If that doesn’t work, you can always put up “Lost Puppy” posters.

Make them comfortable

But in the meantime, you may be housing an extra boarder. So, it’s up to you to provide a good home during their stay with you. This would include a warm and comforting environment and possibly a toy to play with or chew on while you figure things out. Are they scared of being tied up or leashed? You don’t want to instill fear in your new-found friend, so begin taking note of their behavior immediately.

If you can’t find anyone to claim your stray dog, you may start considering something different. Should you adopt them? They found you, so perhaps it was meant to be. Always consider what you’ll need to do to adopt a new friend to ensure their health, comfort, and safety.

Taking them to the vet should be high on your priority list. This is to have them checked out and also see if they may have a tracking chip. If they are given a clean bill of health, take them to begin life as a new member of the family.

While not every dog that’s wandering around is necessarily stray, it doesn’t mean they all have homes. If you find a friend out wandering around, it could be a relationship destined to occur. Just be ready to take on the commitments of caring for your adopted dog- wherever they may have come from.

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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Walking Your Dog in the Rain

Dog care when taking your pup for a walk in the rain

It’s that time of day, and your faithful pup is nudging the newspaper out of your hand and handing you its leash. It is a rather clichéd situation, but every dog owner understands the importance of getting out and giving their dog plenty of opportunity to stretch all four of their legs.

But, what happens when weather isn’t too kind? You open up the door, and everything is getting wet. The rain can seem like a downer for your outdoor plans – still, there’s the need to potty that requires someone to get their paws wet.

Does your dog like to get wet? Some dogs do enjoy drizzle while others dread the fact that something keeps falling on them. Regardless of how they feel about the rain, the outcome always seems to be a stinky dog. Even the smallest amount of rain seems to bring out a rather pungent odor, and it’s even worse when they come back in and rub themselves on the carpet to dry off (or shake it off!).

So, in preparation for what is and what might be, always be sure to check what the weather is going to be like. What’s the temperature outside? Is there going to be a cold drizzle today? Dogs are like people. A cold drizzle could land them with an illness or make them feel a little under the weather. In order to keep your pup safe and happy, there are a few things to consider when it comes to walking your dog when it’s raining.

Picking a good location

The environment itself will play a part in the experience. While it might be raining, there will be places that provide a more secure area for walking than others. Avoid muddy locations. Some dogs actually like to get wet, but there are some that also enjoy rolling around in the mud. Avoid grassy areas. Grass has more surface area and that type of environment will actually get your dog wetter than a pathway or sidewalk.

Stick to pathways that aren’t immediately adjacent to roads. Passing cars can splash road-water on you and your dog, and in bad weather, visibility is decreased significantly. Accidents do happen, and it’s always best to take precautions and avoid any unnecessary situations altogether.

One thing to remember always – don’t walk your dog at night when it’s raining. It poses too many unnecessary dangers. If you do have to go out on a rainy night, (midnight potty time) carry a reliable flashlight and keep it on.

Wearing the right stuff

It is, therefore, important that you dress your pup to handle the outdoor experience. The main objective is to keep your pet covered. Pet rain coats are available through many companies; just make sure that the material and fitting is comfortable for your dog. Select one that covers their head but does not restrict their vision so that they aren’t wrestling with the attire.

There are rain boots available, but most dogs wouldn’t enjoy these (they’ll just try to take them off). Be sure that all clothes are bright and flashy so that others can spot your dog in the falling rain. If your choice outfit doesn’t seem bright enough, reflective tape can help vehicles and pedestrians to spot your dog more easily (especially if they’re a tiny breed).

Keep a few things on hand

There are a few things that you need for yourself, as well. While a rain coat and hat might suffice for you normally, an umbrella will help deal with the majority of the precipitation.  Plus, an umbrella will help improve your visibility, and says clearly: “Hey, I’m right here.”

Additionally, it’s good practice to carry a towel with you, especially for that moment right before you go back inside. With rain attire or not, your pup is bound to have some moisture on them. Dry them off before you set them loose in the home. This will help keep that pungent smell down and probably be more comfortable for your pup than air drying.

Going for a walk in the rain can be an adventure, and as long as you prepare for it properly, you can ensure the safety of both you and your pup. With the correct attire and a little cover, you can keep the falling precipitation from hindering your daily exercise activities.

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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