Tag Archives: exercise

Summer 2018 – Go Away!

wp aug 15 2018

We’ve lived in Stoughton, MA 2 1/2 years, and Summer time in MA is beautiful, but this year I really want the Summer to be over and done.  Why?  I am tired of 90 degrees days and high humidity.

wp aug 15 20182

Last Summer we went to Provincetown, or P town, and we enjoyed ourselves, but this Summer none of us, and yes that includes Abby, have wanted to go out.  I know, I know.  I am complaining, but I am sure a few of you pet parents, and canine companions agree with me.  On a pleasant note, Summer is almost over!!

To Walk Or Not To Walk – Abby’s Dilemma

fb jan 5 2018

Abby, “Mom, I don’t think we’ll be able to walk today”.

That was Abby looking out the window the day we had a northeastern coming our way.  I did keep her busy, but I am pretty sure she would have preferred to go for a walk.

wp jan 11 2018

Abby, “I need to pee, but I can’t find the smell I am looking for!”

Abby and I love to walk, but please be extra careful when you are out walking because drivers may not be able to see you due to the height of the snow.  It also doesn’t help that Abby and I are both short.

wp jan 11 20182

Abby, “Mom, please stop taking pictures of me already!”

Yes, as you can see in the above picture, Abby was already done being the object of my pictures.  Fine, no more pictures . . . well, for now.

Fishy Smell, Kibble, Fiber and Dogs

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Abby, “Mom, is my breakfast ready?”

About a month or two ago, I noticed that Abby smelled a bit fishy so I took her to the vet to have her anal glands expressed, and I took that opportunity to ask questions about what to do in order to prevent this from happening again.  What was the answer?  This, “Nothing.  Just bringer over whenever she needs to get her anal glands expressed.”  Well, that was the last time I took Abby to Banfield.  When I work with pet parents and their dogs, I give them not only the tools and knowledge they need to get a balanced dog, but more important I give them a long list of the things they need to do and avoid in order to prevent unwanted behavior before it happens.

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Abby’s breakfast.

Fiber, for a dog like Abby, is very important and so with that in mind this is what she had for breakfast:

  • 1/2 cup of kibble.  This is the only amount of kibble she eats for the entire day
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon of oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of egg shell.  I washed and dried egg shells and then used a blender to make it into powder.  Excellent source of calcium
  • 8 blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of apple.  You can substitute this with 1/3 of a small banana

Since I started to feed Abby more human food than kibble: her cute butt doesn’t smell anymore; her #2 is firm and she does it either once or twice a day; she no longer licks her butt; and she has lost weight.  But when Abby had to eat more kibble than human food her fishy smell and butt licking returns.

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Abby, “Yay! Breakfast.”

I started to give Abby human food in very small portions over the last couple of months and I like the changes I see in her.  By the way, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind: the recipe in this post is for a dog of 35 to 40lbs; provide plenty of water for your dog; and make sure to exercise your furry kid.  Enjoy your weekend.

Excessive Pacing & Your Canine Companion

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I’ve had a few clients ask me, “My dog paces excessively in the house and I don’t know what to do.  What would you recommend to get rid of this annoying habit?”  The first thing I always tell them is to have their vet check their dog for it may be something related to his health.  Once the vet has cleared your dog and everything, health wise, is fine then you need to look elsewhere for an answer.

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Oliver, “I think I need a bigger bed.”

The answer could be one or all of the following:

  1. Are you providing adequate exercise to your dog?  A puppy or young dog needs at least a 1/2 hour brisk walk twice a day and this is the very minimum.
  2. Does your dog have a bed or crate?  Most dogs enjoy having a place where they know they can rest without being disturbed.
  3. How many times did you take your dog to potty?  Puppies and seniors need to go potty more often than adult dogs, but it also depends on the size of the dog.  Small dogs need to go potty more often than large ones.

IMG_4993Now, there is always that exception.  The handsome Aussie, Walter, most of the time preferred to hang out under our table, but in the evenings and night time he did go to his bed.

Also, please know that for dogs that you are adopting and/or fostering as well as those that are nervous, sensitive or were abused in the past, pacing will take a while to disappear.  Have patience and continue working with your dog.  As time goes by, you’ll see positive results.

Argo, Our Visiting Puppy

puppy1I took Alex out for a short walk in the morning before Argo, a cute puppy, came to stay with us for the weekend.  Alex is always excited when there is a dog/puppy coming to stay with us, but after the introduction period, she just goes back to doing what she does best, and that is sleeping.

puppy2I’ve been training Argo for the last few weeks on Basic Obedience so I am glad he is staying with us this weekend so I can go over what he’s learned so far.  Doesn’t he have a cute face?  Have a great weekend.

Dexter’s Energy Level

Dexter, Bella, and Alex (L to R)

Dexter, Bella, and Alex (L to R)

When we first met Dexter, a handsome boxer mix, I thought that he was a high energy dog, but I was wrong.  Dexter is actually a medium-level energy dog.  Why am I talking about this?  Because your level of energy and that of your future or current dog is very important in order to make the right match.  Dexter does well, during Summer, with a 30-40 minute walk in the morning, and evening, and a small break around noon for 15 minutes.  But, when Winter comes, he needs longer walks.  The first few days, when he comes to stay with us, I walk Dexter the most because he has an abundance of energy, but as days go by I have to use Bella for longer walksn because this handsome boy starts to walk behind me rather than next to me. 

dexenergy2Also, remember that as dogs age their level of energy will decrease.  Alex, my pit mix, so far has been the dog with the highest energy level.  If she were a human being, she’d probably be classified as hyperactive in her younger years.  Well, it only took 10 years for Alex to calm down.  How would you classify your dog’s energy level?  Have a great week.  

 

Alex’s ACL Injury – Part 3

Alex and Bella (L to R)

Alex and Bella (L to R)

Almost 5 months have gone by since Alex’s ACL injury, and I am glad that we did not put her through surgery.  Well, that is thanks to Cynthia for talking me out of it.  Years ago, Cynthia and I took a class in college and our instructor called us, the dynamic duo, and you know what?  I think he was right because we have always relied on each other, and this was one time when I truly needed her support and advice.

Here’s a little update on Alex:

  • Walks – She still wears the brace during our walks, but her speed and flexibility has greatly increased overtime.  She does not wear the brace at home.  Alex is walking longer than before, about 25 minutes once or twice a day.  But the next day, just to be on the safe side, she takes shorter walks so she does not over do it.
  • Rest – She sleeps a lot, she is almost 12 years old, but even at home she is more active.  One thing we do not allow her to do at all is run up and down the stairs like she used to do before.  Alex is probably thinking, “Mom you are a party pooper.”
  • Diet – Since I started to feed her more human food than kibble, Alex’s appetite not only opened up, I love that, but she has not skipped a meal once.

aclpart32Alex is also taking supplements to help her with her ACL injury, and I am also, little by little, trying different spices to help her arthritis.  I can’t complain.  My girl is doing fine and she is still active at almost 12 years of age. The combination of bedrest, supplements, walks, diet, etc., has certainly given Alex a new “leash” on life.  Senior dogs are amazing.

How Do I handle Walking Dogs With Different Energy Level?

energy1When Cynthia is able to help me, I walk 2 dogs and she walks the other 2.  Those with higher energy level are walked longer by yours truly.  But, when Cynthia is unable to help me this is what I do:

  • I walk Alex, my slow walker, and Bella together for about 15 to 20 mins.  Our walking speed is slow because of Alex, but that’s fine
  • I, then, drop and wipe Alex’s paws at home while Bella holds a sit/stay as a way to incorporate training to our every day life
  • I grab Bella and Roxy, the cutie pom, and we go out for a walk for about 45 mins. or longer
  • Once home, I go to the deck and clean Bella and Roxy

energy2Because Bella is the most energetic of all 3, she gets to walk the longest.  What happens once we get home and she is cleaned and fed?  She is out like a light.  I enjoy walking with them, and I know they need those walks, but I also do it because once at home they are relaxed and tired, therefore living with them is enjoyable rather than a burden.

energy3I post a lot of pictures of dogs sleeping because that is the end result of our walks/runs.  Have a great weekend:-)

Exercising Alex, My Senior Dog

exercisesenior1The above body language from Alex signals to me that she is ready to go around me making a circle while on a retractable leash a couple of times.  Oh boy, every time she does that I am dizzy, but I know she loves it.

Alex is 11 1/2 years old, and even at that age she is a very active senior dog.  After she got over her sprain, I started to walk her a little more each time and lately we have been taking walks 45 – 60 minutes long.  And you know what?  When we come home she runs around the house like the walk did nothing to her.  This past weekend she ran around me at full speed and fell down hard.  Yes, you guessed it.  She sprained her leg again, therefore she’ll be out of commission for a couple of weeks, yes, again.

Alex

Alex

Alex, to me, is the epitome of what an active dog is all about, but I know that she should not run like she used to so  I’ll do my best to stop her from running at full speed, and I’ll start looking for places that offer canine hydrotherapy.

I am a huge advocate for keeping dogs active, but make sure that your canine companion is not overdoing it, like in Alex’s case.  Even dogs that are very active will slow down as they age.  The goal is to fulfill your dog by tailoring exercise, diet, naps, etc., according to his age and needs.

IMG_4981My girl’s favorite pastime now is taking long naps, and my job now is making sure that she is comfortable, relaxed, and healthy.  Enjoy your senior dogs and have a great week.

What Is The Most Sensitive Part On Your Dog?

The first thing a pet parent should remember is that each dog is an individual, and as such his sensitive area(s) will vary from dog to dog.  With that being said, I’ll be using my girl, Alex, and some of her furry friends, Gir and Roxy, to illustrate my point.

sensitiverump1Alex’s sensitive area is her rump.  Years ago, when she was a little under a year old, I tried to move her by touching her rump and she growled at me.  I was pretty surprised because Alex, even as a puppy, was always very easy-going.  What did I do?  I worked with her, little by little, using treats so I could get her used to having someone touch her “sensitive spot,” and after a short while she was fine.  But, even after all these years, I still have to be gentle when I am brushing and wiping her cute rump.  She never growled again, but I am always aware that I need to be more careful when it comes to her sensitive area.

Roxy, Alex, and Gir (L to R)

Roxy, Alex, and Gir (L to R)

Gir’s sensitive spot is his ears.  Once, while petting him he moved away from me while trying to nip me when I touched his ears.  What did I do?  Every time I touched his ears just for a couple of seconds was after our long walk, and while he was asleep on my lap.  He seemed to mind less and less having his ears touched.

Roxy’ sensitive spot is her hair.  Yes, her hair, and she has lots and lots of hair.  Roxy’s mom told me that she did not like to be brushed very much, so from her very first stay with us I took her for long walks, followed by a nice gentle session of brushing and wiping.  I did not use treats, but rather exercise to desensitize her to the brush, and get her to associate brushing with something pleasant.  Since Roxy comes to stay with us often, she knows our routine:walk, brushing, wiping, and breakfast/dinner, and does not mind being brushed any longer.

sensitiverump3Once you figure out your dog’s sensitive part, make sure you work alongside a reputable behaviorist or dog trainer on desensitizing him to whatever it  is that is causing him to growl, nip, bite, etc.  The examples I used to illustrate my point are that of dogs that are not aggressive, exhibiting symptoms that I’d consider mild, but I’d strongly recommend to consult a behaviorist or dog trainer to help you with these type of issues, and remember that what works for one dog may not necessarily work for another.