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 Handle a Dog with Too Much Energy

running dog
Dog owners and how to handle energetic dogs

Pawing, pacing, and sighs are all signs that your dog wants you to play. You’re taking care of some work on the computer, and the ball plops down on your lap. Your dog looks up at you and sighs a “play with me” while his eyes say “please”. You toss the ball away, but your pup brings it right back and you’re back to square one. Ball in lap becomes ball on shelf. So, your dog goes and gets a fluffy toy and puts that in your lap. Notice the pattern?

The unfortunate thing is that you really don’t have time to play right now. This leaves your pooch a little upset, and quite frankly, they’re a bottled up fountain of energy now. Before long, they’re tearing through the house, jumping on the couch and doing what they can to get your attention.

This can be frustrating for any owner. However, consider the fact that it’s even more frustrating for your dog than for you. They want to play. They want to be entertained. And the truth is that they aren’t going to be happy until they’re satisfied. So, what can you do to satisfy their urge to get out all that energy – in a positive way? Sure, a few laps around the couch might help subdue them for now, but it isn’t the real solution.

Getting the energy out

Regular exercise is the best way to help get the energy out. For many breeds, such as the Border Collie and the Australian Shepherd, frequent activity is a necessity for both mind and body. Schedule daily walks and some time outdoors where they can stretch their legs and keep their minds stimulated.

Parks are ideal for dog activity and provide your dog plenty of social exposure. If your dog is exhibiting a lot of energy and becoming frustrated with being stuck inside (looking out the window and wishing they could play outside), consider finding them a puppy pal.

Do you have any fellow dog-owner friends your companion could spend time with? Fellow canine bonding is important for every dog and helps them adjust and build confidence when around other dogs. Many owners seem to neglect this important aspect of dog-nature, and prefer limited exposure with other dogs. But, it’s important for every dog to understand that there are other dogs out there so they can find friends that can keep up with them during a race.

One thing to consider when it comes to active dogs is that they adore education. Dogs love to listen and interact with you and others. The more time you spend teaching them tricks, the less hyper and chaotic they will be.

Spend a few minutes each day practicing tricks (sit, lay, return), to help keep their minds active and strong. Teaching them to navigate obstacles is also a great idea. Going through a tunnel, jumping through hoops, or even picking up a Frisbee turned upside down (this is inexpensive and isn’t easy to accomplish without opposable thumbs). Tricks and obstacles exercise your dog’s mind and not only help focus that excess energy, but channel it to make your dog smarter and a little wiser.

Of course, the aspect of the mind also reaches out to entertainment. Dog puzzles are actually very fun for a dog. The challenge keeps them busy and helps focus their energy into something rewarding and productive. Wooden and plastic puzzles are relatively cheap and give your dog hours of fun trying to figure out how to get to the hidden treat.

Other toys that keep them entertained would include the ball-in-a-ball. Normally costing about ten to fifteen dollars, depending on size and durability, they are quite simply one ball in a larger ball with holes. Nothing is more entertaining than trying to get the ball that always evades their reach. Kong is renowned for their durable toys, many of which have pockets that can be filled with treats or wet foods (wet food is harder to get all the way out and would keep them busy longer).

An extremely active dog can be a nuisance in your home when they decide to unleash a load of bottled up energy. Though they may get a little destructive, it’s not their fault. They’re just doing what comes naturally. As your dog’s owner and protector, you’re responsible for keeping them healthy and happy. Take the time to let them release that energy in a productive and safe way, whether it’s with you, some fellow four-legged friends, or even some practical toys that will keep them busy when you can’t play.

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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What Happens to Your Dog’s Body When You Make Them Wait

Here’s why dog owners should not make their dogs wait

Everyone has to go potty. But not every potty area is convenient, especially for a dog. Most owners have to take their dog outside to potty, whether it’s out in the yard or out for walks. Regardless of where, the question is always- when?

The body naturally wants to eliminate waste. But what happens when we don’t let it? What happens when we don’t permit our dog to regularly take care of their physical necessities? Not only is it harmful, but it’s just plain mean not to let your dog potty when they need to. Consider if you had to hold in your bowel movements for a long time. Wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable? Perhaps even in pain?

Every good dog owner understands the importance of letting their dog take care of nature’s call, but it’s just as important to understand why.

Age and size matters

Not all dog’s bodies are designed the same, and every dog has different habits. As for puppies, they should not be forced to hold their potty for any longer than two hours. It goes up an hour after their first birthday. For the most part, three hours is a good schedule of elimination for the average adult dog and eight hours is the maximum hold time. Senior dogs tend to have less bladder control as well, so be sure you address their timely needs.

Do keep in mind that if you have to go, it’s likely your dog has to go too. This is one of the best ways to gauge potty time for your dog because it acts as a regular reminder about what’s necessary.

Feeding and drinking schedules play a part in potty needs. If they eat, they will need to potty, usually within the hour. Dogs are creatures of habit and will regularly need, or at least want, to go out during specific times of the day.

Physics apply- namely larger dogs have a higher bladder capacity than smaller dogs. Small dogs, therefore, need to be provided potty opportunities more often.

The waiting one

As far as your dog is concerned, they show signs whenever they need to potty. Circling, pawing at the door, coming to get your attention are all signs. A dog relies on their owner to help them fulfill a happy day. Initially, a dog feels the need to urinate when their bladder is half-full. The body senses the swelling of the bladder and informs the dog that it’s ready to be relieved. A dog may start to show signs of needing to go before it is vital that they go. This is to give you adequate time to make arrangements to allow them to relieve themselves.

Remember that if they can’t eliminate in the proper area, they will do so wherever they feel most secure- such as behind furniture. This is mostly because they understand that what they’ve done isn’t according to the rules, but as far as their body is concerned, they needed to do what is only natural.

Obstruction of potty time

The important thing to know is that when a dog is forced to hold their potty for extended periods, it can cause physical damage to their body.

A dog that can’t potty will often avoid eating or drinking as well, resulting in dehydration and malnutrition. If your dog isn’t eating, it could be because they are sick, but it is often due to constipation. Rawhide bones have a tendency to build up in the intestines, causing blockages. If they can’t potty for long periods, it can result in an impacted colon, requiring laxatives or even surgery to remove and repair the damage.

The bladder is something completely different. A bladder infection, or cystitis, is an inflammation of the bladder due to bacterial or fungal infection. When your dog is forced to hold their urine for extended periods, it gives the urine time to build bacteria. Resulting infections can occur which will only cause your dog to need to potty more frequently until treated properly.

Give them an option if you can’t be there to provide the opportunity. If you spend long hours away from home, consider an indoor litter box so they can potty at their own leisure. This will help keep them from overwhelming their body or even secretly eliminating behind the couch.

Some dogs can hold it in for a long time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay for them to. Take care of your dog properly and make sure they stay happy and healthy.

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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