Sunday, January 13, 2013

Winter Walking (tips)

It's brrrrrrrrr outside and your four legged companion still needs her/his daily walks. Walking is an important part of having a dog. It has many health benefits for your pup and you as well. The walk is not just so your pup can do her/his business, it's about socializing and desensitizing your pup to the world surrounding her/him (various noises, cars, horns, other dogs etc.). Depending on the breed of choice this may be your furever family members favorite time of year. Examples of pups that love the brrrrrr weather are Akitas, Newfoundland's, Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows to name a few, these breeds have a double coat that keeps them warm during those chilly winter days and colder nights. A family member has an Akita and he loves, loves it when it snows. Max would play for hours with the kids in the snow, he didn't want the kids to come in and he definitely didn't want to come in the house. If you're fortunate to have a pup that loves cold weather make sure you're bundled up because you're going to be out on the walk a little longer as they explore their world. If you have a pup that's not fond of these chilly temperatures such as Pit Bulls, Greyhounds, Maltese, Pointers or Boxers to name a few; a sweater will be needed for the walk. These breeds do not have undercoat to trap heat which means they lose body heat quickly. So if you needed a reason to dress your pup in those adorable comfy sweaters at PetSmart, a breed with short hair is your reason. No matter the breed ALL of them need proper exercise whether they like cold or warm temperatures. A 30 minute walk accompanied with 10-15 minutes vigorous indoor play should be adequate exercise for those that aren't fond of the frigid temperatures. Indoor activities that would suffice are:

        1) Playing "Touch" what's needed stairs, treat or dogs favorite toy, and two people. How to play: one person is at the top of the stairs and one person at the bottom of stairs. The object is to say the dogs name to get her/his attention once you have the dogs attention, hold your hand out, back of the hand facing the dog, once the dog touches the back of your hand with their nose give them the toy or treat. The person at the bottom of the stairs will call the dog's name once you have the dogs attention, hold your hand out, back of the hand facing the dog, once the dog touches the back of your hand with their nose give them the toy or treat. You may repeat this as many times as desired. Usually 10 minutes should suffice. Be sure to have water close by and allow the dog to take breaks. Although the dog may not appear to be tired to periodic breaks to ensure overexertion doesn't occur.

        2) Hide N' Seek what's needed 1 person, favorite toy or treat. Object is get the dog to find his favorite toy or treat. This is a cognizant game testing your dogs ability to use her/his nose to find their favorite toy or treat. Hide the toy or treat anywhere in the house and ask your dog to find it. You can use stairs or a bed. Make sure not to hide the object near sharp objects or chemicals. This will keep your dog occupied for a little while. Never leave the dog unattended when playing this game.

        3) Doggie Daycares are a good source for your pup to release excess energy please contact your local trainer, ask friends or relatives where they take their pup or visit your local doggie daycare. Make sure you do your homework, ask plenty of questions and don't be afraid to drop by to see what goes on prior to you signing your pup up.

 As we mentioned earlier walking is vital the health of your companion, it's more than a walk, it's a time to social and become desensitized to her/his surroundings and it's a great way for you to get know your neighbors, show off your pup and it curtails mischief! Get out and walk today!

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