Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Bear and his Bunny

There's nothing quite like the relationship between a pooch and his stuffie....

Happy snuggles my friends

Keep your tails wagging,
Bear's P4ws

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Simple Pleasure....

....of finding a ball at the park....

...and claiming it as yours forever and ever and ever....
(or until mum decides that it's time to go home...and the ball can't come)

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Keep your tails wagging, 
Bear's P4ws

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Benefits of Social Dog Walking

Those of us with “Dogs In Need of Space” definitely want our space, but that doesn't mean we never want our dogs to enjoy the company of other dogs. We simply want or need more structured socialization opportunities where we can count on other dog owners to respect our space.

This is especially true for reactive dogs who are learning to stay calm around other dogs.

If you've ever been in a reactive dog training class, you know that one of the best ways to increase your dog’s skills around other dogs is to practice, practice, practice. But that can be really hard to do once class is over and you no longer have a set time and place to meet up with other responsible families who are working on their dog’s leash skills.

That’s where dog walking social groups can really come in handy.

If you have a reactive dog and you’ve laid down the foundation for your leash work in a group class, a great way to continue working on your skills and exposing your dogs to other canine pals, is to join a dog walking group.

These groups are a terrific opportunity for any dog, reactive or not, to socialize with canine pals. Contrary to popular beliefs, off leash play isn’t the only game in town when it comes to socialization.  Side by side walks on leash and training classes are social activities for your dog too!
So whether you have a dog that is a social butterfly, but prefers calmer, on-leash socializing (like a senior dog) or a dog who needs exercise in a more controlled environment than a dog park (like a dog recovering from an injury), groups walks might be the perfect fit for you.
Before joining a group, you need to do two things:

Know your dog and their limitations. These groups aren’t every dog’s cup of kibble.

Know the rules of the club. Every group is different.

Many dog walking groups follow the rule that dogs do NOT need to interact during the hikes or walks and openly encourage all dogs to attend their events. But please check first. Some groups allow more interactions between dogs and might not be the right fit for your pup. You’ll also need to know if your dog is up for the challenge of being around a potentially large group of dogs. You may need to start small and work up to joining this type of social outing.

That being said, Bear (who isn't at all a dog in need of space) and I happily joined our first "Pooch Posse" on Monday.  I will admit that it took a little while to get him settled into the walk - especially with so many tails available for chasing and all the new scents on the trails we were taking (most of which he had never seen before), but by the end of the hour, Bear had settled wonderfully. 
Social dog walking is a happy occasion for both dogs and dog-parents.  You get the benefit of meeting and networking with other local pet-parents within your community while your dog is given ample opportunity for socializing and exercise.   It's like the dog park - only (in some cases) better

Bark back at us!  Would you ever join a Pooch Posse (or a social dog walking group)?

Keep your tails wagging,
Bear's P4ws

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Sometimes We Stargaze...

The happy Star-gazer

Not exactly a dog related post, but every now and then Bear and I enjoy sitting outside and watching the stars.

Tonight while we were out walking, we were fortunate enough to catch a wonderful dusk-filled sky show. Venus and the slender crescent Moon gathered in the twilight sky for a beautiful conjunction. Sky watchers across North America who happened to be looking west were able to see them only 1o to 3o degrees apart. It was a nice way to end the day
Venus and the Moon

Keep your tails wagging!
Bear's P4ws

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Them Pesky Back-to-School Blues

For many dogs this week, the big yellow bus has taken their buddies away.
Back-to-school time isn't just a daunting time for kids and their parents, but the four-legged members of the family, too. Think about it — there is nothing better in a dog's eyes than having his people around for vast amounts of time during the best part of the year, especially the youngest members of the family.
Originally sourced from this page

Dogs and people (kids especially) just go together.

But when children go back to school, they have a lot to look forward to: activity-filled days with friends, sights, and sounds - fun. Extracurricular activities fill up some of the time after the school day ends, too. Mom and Dad stay busy day in, day out.

What are dogs left with when all of this is going on? Not a whole lot, most often.

Consequently, the lack of stimulation, activity and attention can make for some very difficult days for these pooches and, in many cases, they act out in not-so-good ways. Separation anxiety is not uncommon and is more common in some breeds, typified by destructive behavior and barking.
Also, most dogs are raring to go run and play like crazy when everyone does finally does arrive home — and that can be difficult when the family is tired after a long day.

So how can humans help pets beat the back-to-school blues?

Be consistent. Keep your pooch on the schedule that he is used to: feeding, playtime, etc.

  • Burn off that energy! A fun morning walk can help start the day off right by giving dogs the exercise that they need, setting the stage for good behavior all day.
  • Keep them entertained! Use a stuffable, chewable toy that can keep them occupied while everyone is away. Kong toys are great (although Bear doesn’t enjoy them quite as much as the next dog), as are the AtomicTreat Balls from OurPets.
  • Make time for play at different times of day. Being spontaneous is a boon to canines. All dogs love attention, and doing the things that they like to do is essential. Even a quick game of fetch, chase or tug of war is beneficial. There is no substitute for your time where your dog is concerned.
  • Consider making time for a new hobby, like agility or tracking with your dog. Find something that they love doing that can continue through the school year.
  • Give your pooch more than four walls to look at all day. Having a dog walker come in can help break up the day, give him a little fun and exercise and something to look forward to — especially interaction.

Some people may suggest crating your dog for the day while you’re away…I personally am very much against this.  Yes, it may be a little harder to get your pooch to stop acting out, and it may take a little longer to come home to a clean floor and un-eaten shoes (remind me to tell you about the time Bear unpacked my groceries for me), but the end result is all that much better.

Thankfully Bear doesn’t suffer from the Back to School Blues too badly.  He gets a little more mopey when I leave, but if you keep at it and stay consistent, you pooch will acclimatize to the house-hold’s new rhythm.

Bark back at us!  Do you have any “Back to School Blues” stories you would like to share?

Keep your tails wagging,
Bear’s Pa4ws