Keep 'Em Working

There was a time when every dog had a job. The border collie herded sheep, and the komondor guarded them. The Siberian husky moved the men of the North, while the Alaskan malamute hauled freight.
Depending on geography and game, any number of breeds helped bring home dinner. Meanwhile, back at the homestead, terriers kept busy chasing the fox out of the henhouse and exterminating any vermin that crossed their path.

Today, unemployment has hit the dog world hard. And without work, all too many of our canine companions occupy themselves with destructive chewing and digging. They liven up their days with choruses of barks and howls, and generally worry themselves into a dither. In other words, they are bored and underexercised! The
solution is increased exercise and structured play.


A walk around the block or a ten-minute romp in the backyard several times a day is minimal exercise, and is not enough to meet the average dog's needs. Active breeds (dogs from the sporting, herding, hound, and terrier groups, northern breeds, or any mixtures of these)
and virtually all adolescents (dogs who are six to 18 months old) require much, much more.

Brisk on-leash jogging, race walking, or strolling several miles can tire out Bonkers. Playing Frisbee or retrieving a tennis ball in a fenced-in enclosure is wonderful aerobic exercise. Road working your dog by bicycle or in-line skates can tire out the likes of just about any boxer or Doberman.

Make sure you have veterinary approval for any of these high-level activities, especially if your dog has been the neighborhood couch potato lately. Start slowly to build up your dog's stamina, strengthen his muscles, and toughen the pads of his feet. If your canine is dog friendly, the neighborhood dog run is the urban owner's best friend. What could be better than a safe, fenced-in area where your dog can run offleash with his own kind? But it is important to be sure that you are able to call your dog out of the play group (and
that your dog will respond appropriately) in case there is an emergency and everyone needs to swiftly get hold of his or her own dog.

Structured Play

Base your play on the jobs your dog's forefathers used to perform. Most golden and Labrador retrievers, for example, are naturals at water retrieving tennis balls or nubby rubber bumpers. Corgis and border collies are in seventh heaven when herding a giant boomer ball. Bichons frises and Maltese delight in trick training. Beagles will excel at biscuit hunts around your property.

Many dogs enjoy a rousing game of tug-of-war, but beware: teaching a dog that he is stronger than you can be hazardous to your health! If the dog growls in a menacing manner (as opposed to a play growl) or stiffly stands over the tug toy and snarls, abort the game. This activity is not appropriate for your dog. Perhaps he'll do better with one of the many food-dispensing toys on the market. Make him work for his breakfast kibbles!

Remember that as the leader you must always be in control of these games — when, where, and for how long Bonkers gets to play. Increasing your exercise time together may just add a sparkle to the eye and a spring to the step for both of you!

Information adapted from Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

Hot Weather Tips

Pets respond to heat differently than humans do (dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet), and fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people.  Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body, but if the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.

Provide ample shade and water. Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water, add ice when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat.

Take care when exercising your pet, and limit exercise on hot days. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with short-nosed pets who, because of their short noses, typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible.

Provide cool treats.  There are hundreds of recipes online for frozen peanut butter, yogurt and fruit treats for your pet.  Switch out your pet's regular bisquits or dry treats to something cool and refreshing during hot months.

hot car warningNever leave your pet(s) in a parked car!  Not even for a minute.

On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.

hot carhot car temps

Printable Hot Car Flier

Stop Jumping Behavior

Jumping problems are most often found with adolescents (dogs 6 to 18 months old). Toy, terrier and sporting breeds such as Italian Greyhounds, Poodles, Jack Russells, and Labrador Retrievers are notorious jumpers. Dogs jump up because they want to get closer to someone’s face.

For most, peak jumping behavior is observed around mealtime, when you come home, walk time, out on the walk itself and when friends/relatives come over to visit. This problem can be solved by training. The proper amount of exercise for your dog’s breed type is of great help, too! Lack of exercise results in out-of-control whirlwinds who lack the ability to focus.

What to do:

  • When you see your dog rev up to leap, say “No, off!” and turn away from the dog. Removing your attention (a reward to the dog) is a gentle, effective way to correct the dog. As soon as he has settled either with four feet on the floor or in a sit/down-stay, turn back around, drop to your knees and quietly praise the dog.
  • Give the jumping behavior a name so you can turn it on and off (“leapin’ lizards,” “paws up,” or “feet up”). Teach your dog how to jump on command, then add “no” as in “no paws up” to let the dog know when you don’t want him to jump.
  • Give the dog something else to do. Obedience training is a strong plus when trying to get a jumping problem under control. A dog holding a sit or down-stay is not a jumping dog. When attempting the sit down or down-stay, avoid pushing, shoving, flapping your arms or other fast, excitable movements. Use a lure-reward method rather than physically manipulating the dog. Avoid raising your vocal tone or whining. All extra movements and excited vocalization will incite the dog.
  • To aid the dog in holding his sit or down when visitors arrive, put him on a leash before opening the door.
  • For an unfocused bouncing maniac, give him just enough leash to do a sit or down-stay and step on the rest. When the dog attempts to move, he will correct himself. (This may not work for a 100-pound person with a 200-pound dog, but it works well for most handlers.)
  • Be consistent. Never let the dog jump up without being directed to do so. A dog cannot distinguish between dirty, old blue jeans and a designer suit. He cannot tell which days is it OK to jump on you by what you are wearing or what the weather is like.
  • Be consistent with strangers, too. Don’t let someone confuse your dog by stopping you in mid-correction by saying, “It’s OK, I just loooooove dogs” while stroking him and rewarding him for his misbehavior. There is nothing wrong with not allowing people to pet your dog unless he is on a stay command. Guests to your home are no exception. Warn them beforehand (“I’m training my dog not to jump up unless commanded. I could really use your help. Please don’t pet him or even acknowledge him unless he’s holding his stay.”)
  • For the slow learner, jumping setups are in order. On a weekend or vacation day, arrange for a friend, neighbor or relative to ring your doorbells every 10 to 15 minutes for a couple of hours. Each time, put your dog on a leash, command him to down or sit-stay and open the door and greet your visitor. Sometimes giving the dog a distinct place such as a small foyer rug helps him to focus on his job (go to your place and lie down). Your visitor can give your pup a treat or a tickle if he is behaving, but should ignore him if he is not. Once the dog is under control, the visitor leaves, only to return again in another 10 to 15 minutes. This goes on until Rover understands his job is to stay put until he is told to do otherwise.

What not to do:

  • Remember that your dog is your friend and companion. There is no need to knee him in the chest, hit him on the head, squeeze his front paws or step on his back feet. By teaching him the acceptable behavior and rewarding him for carrying it out, you become the fair, humane leader every dog needs.

Source: Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

Crate Training Benefits

Crates can be training and safety devices and can benefit dog and owner alike. Crating on a humane schedule teaches puppies bladder and bowel control and limits the amount of destruction a chewing puppy can do to a home. Also dogs that are crated in a car are more likely to survive an auto accident and less likely to cause one.

What Type, Size of Crate

  • The most common types are molded plastic airline shipping crates and the open-wire types that usually come with a metal tray on the bottom. For owners who plan on doing a lot of air travel with their dogs, the molded plastic variety is best. Wire crates are preferred in most other instances.
  • The size of the crate is based on the size of your dog. There should be enough room for him to stand up, turn around in a small circle and lie down comfortably. The crate serves as a place where the dog can rest and chew on safe, appropriate toys. It is not an exercise pen.
  • If you plan to use the crate as a housebreaking aid, size is key. If there is room for the animal to soil and then live away from the mess, the crate doesn’t serve its purpose. If you’re buying a crate for a puppy, keep the adult dog’s size in mind, but excess room should be cordoned off with Plexiglas or another type of barrier.

How Long Should You Crate

  • The rule of thumb for crating is no longer than one hour per each month of age up to nine to 10 hours maximum (the average work day). Each session should be preceded and succeeded by an hour of aerobic exercise. If this is too long for your dog, hire a dog walker to exercise him mid-day.
  • Before you leave your dog for a long stretch, make sure you have him used to the crate. A dog who panics when left alone in the crate could damage it or himself. Never crate your dog while he is wearing any sort of correction collar: It could easily get caught on something in the crate and choke the animal.
  • Crating is recommended as part of the workday routine until the dog grows out of adolescence (at approximately 18 months of age), for dogs who are heavy chewers or are otherwise destructive. Proceed slowly when it’s time to wean your dog off the crate; leave him alone for just a few hours at a time. And thick twice before leaving a curious adolescent alone in your home, even if it’s behaving well during the day.

Puppies and Crates

  • Avoid relying too heavily on the crate for a puppy’s early months. Most puppies three and a half to four months old can be crated overnight for about six hours, even though they probably cannot yet display that kind of bladder control during the daytime. Younger dogs crated at bedtime will need to be brought to their papers or outdoors at least once in the middle of the night.

Source: Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

PRINTABLE: A Crate can be Great.pdf

Prevent Dog Bites in Children

Millions of people every year in the U.S. are victims of dog bites. Sixty percent of these victims are children. Dog bites are one of the most common reason children visit the emergency room, and the majority of the dog bites to children are from dogs the child knows.

Dog safety tips for children

  • Always ask permission from an adult owner before petting an unknown dog.
  • If the owner says you can pet the dog, walk to the side of the dog and face the same direction as the dog. Stand up or squat down if the dog is small. Never bend at the waist. Gently extend your hand with the fingers curled up for the dog to sniff. If the dog backs away, he does not want to be petted. If he doesn’t back away, then open your hand and pet him over the shoulders.
  • Never try to pet a dog through a fence or care window.
  • Never pet a dog that is tied up.
  • Never pet a dog that is eating, or playing with a toy.
  • Never pet a mother dog that is nursing her puppies.
  • If a dog runs up to you, stand like a tree, with your hands at your side. Don’t run. Be quiet. If the dog knocks you down, lie like a log. Don’t move and protect your neck with your hands.

Safety tips for parents

  • Supervise your dog with your children, particularly toddlers. Dogs can behave differently with children than adults.
  • Train your dog. All dogs should attend at least one obedience class.

Source: Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association/University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

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