Thursday, December 24, 2015

Play Ball with your Dog

Playing ball with your dog:  You throw a ball for your dog and he runs and fetches it and brings it back to you.  What an easy way to exercise your dog while you bond with each other through play. Some dogs are naturals at this game, and most dogs can learn it with some good instruction.

Who is this for?
This activity particularly suits active dogs and is good for humans that aren't super enthused about going for a good run with their pups.  Even if you have a dog that has been banned from the dog park, you can give him a good run right in the comfort of your backyard.  Most dogs will learn to fetch a ball.  A lot of hunting breed dogs (especially pointers and retrievers) take to fetching a ball like a duck takes to water, and border collies usually love a game of ball. Most other dogs readily learn this fun game.


Mental stimulation
Physical exercise
Bonding activity
Human doesn't need to do much
Can be done at home or at an off leash area

What you will Need

A rubber Chuckit Ball, a Hockey Ball or a tennis ball
An open area
A dog that comes back when he's called
Some tiny soft  treats to teach this

How To Teach Your Dog To Fetch a Ball:

  1. Playfully Tease the dog with a treat and give it to him as he follows your hand around but doesn't bite at it.  Repeat about 5 times.
  2. Now do the same thing with the ball, and give it to him. 
  3. Tease him with the ball, but this time toss it a few feet away.  
  4. When he gets it say "Good Fetch Whatyername!"
  5. When he drops it close to you, give him a treat and praise
  6. Repeat 5 times
  7. Gradually toss the ball a little further each time
  8. To keep him interested, stop playing after about ten minutes.  You can play a little longer next time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Agility! Fast Paced Fun with your pooch

Looking for things to do with your dog that will make him a better dog, while helping you to learn great dog training and handling skills?  There are so many to choose from!  From highly disciplined canine team sports to games and activities you can enjoy one on one with your dog, there are lots and lots of dog activities to choose from. Lucky for you, I am going to post a new one on this blog every day.  I'll start with the beginning of the alphabet: Agility


Agility is a sport whose canine participants run and jump over, around and through a circuit of specially designed obstacles such as jumps, tire jumps, weave poles, walking bridges, tunnels, and a frames.  Agility is a fun fast paced time trial dog sport.  Members of each team  earn points to gain the best overall score for their team in competitions. It's alot of fun for both human and canine.  Competition Agility has particular rules about how a dog does the obstacles (for example dogs have to touch the bottom of the downward side of the Aframe rather than vaulting off the middle of it.  

Who is it for?
Agility is a great dog sport for people with active dogs who enjoy training and competing with them. Although all dogs can participate in agility, some breeds that really excel at include: Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, German Shorthaired Pointers, Jack Russell Terriers and any athletic, relatively light weight, breed. 

Most local agility clubs welcome new canine members who have basic obedience training. Generally dogs should be reasonably well behaved around other dogs.  Most teams that I talk to like to have small dogs on the team along with the bigger ones so they will be allowed to set bar jumps lower.  


For Dog:
-Muscle development and coordination
-Mental Stimulation
-Better working relationship with handler

For Human:

-Train and compete with other like minded dog lovers
-Training skills development
-More focussed and attentive dog overall
-Better working relationship with dog


Agility obstacles can be purchased online through websites like Clean Run, but all the obstacles you will need will be provided by your local dog agility club.   This is a good thing, because competition agility equipment can run a really pretty penny.  Other than the obstacles you will need:

Comfortable shoes that you can run in
Clothing suitable for the weather
Water to drink, for you and your dog
A portable water dish
A buckle collar for your dog
A leash
A treat pouch
Plenty of Small moist, easy to consume, treats

How to Check it Out:

Agility equipment tends to be on the pricey side, so you'll probably want to check it out first. Your local agility club is a great place to start.  Here are a few places you can find a local dog agility club:

Local Community Activities/Recreation Guides

No matter what you choose to do with your dog, remember that his mental health and his resulting relationship with you and the rest of the world should always come first.  If you find either yourself or your dog becoming stressed, impatient and snappy with other dogs or their humans,  one or both of you is getting stressed out. Now's a good time to re-evaluate why you took up the sport in the first place. Is it really the right activity for you?  In the end, nothing is more important than thoroughly enjoying and revelling in the all too short time we have with our dogs.

Friday, December 4, 2015

German Shorthaired Pointer is a Mountain Biker's Best Friend

German Shorthaired Pointers kick butt as trail dogs. I can't wait to get riding again with Earl and possibly Jolene too.  Not to be a nag, but Here's a few safety rules for biking with a GSP or any other dog:

  1. Leash on roadways (careful with this, walk if you need to instead of risking tumbling into a mess of spokes, front tire and pavement)
  2. Plan your route so your dog won't overdo it.   No more than 10 km to start with and you can build endurance from there.
  3. Start your ride slowly so your dog gets to warm up a bit first.
  4. Wear a helmet and eye protection (do I need to say this?)
  5. If you have a short haired dog like a pointer, it's smart to have him wear Skidplate to protect his shoulders and belly from cuts and scrapes while allowing for ventilation.
  6. Bring lots of water and a snack for both of you.