Exercise and Keeping Your Dog From Being Bored

dog runningExercise makes dogs happy.  I love to go for a long run and then lay on the ground and pant.  Regular walks and exercise keep dogs healthy and content.

dog with leashA dog should walk on a leash so he won’t run away.  Only very obedient and reliable dogs should walk in a large, open space off-leash.

A dog should not pull their human down the street.  That is what I call bad manners.  I mean, who wants to be dragged down the street?  A dog should walk contently at heel on their human’s left side.

Sissy smiling

Sissy, smiling after a long run

How much exercise a dog needs depends on the type of dog.   Some canines enjoy short walks while others will walk their humans off their feet.  Large dogs will need more exercise than little dogs, and puppies do not need very long walks at all.

Another good way for a dog to get some exercise, besides walks, is a game of fetch or a throwing disc.  A dog can also participate in some fun dog sports such as flyball, agility, herding and many other activities.

dog chewing kong

Toys are good things to keep a dog busy

We dogs can get bored sometimes.  Our humans get too busy with work and other things to play with us.  Some dogs pick up bad habits in their boredom such as digging, chewing, or barking.  A good way to avoid these nasty habits is to give a dog a toy.  Hollow toys stuffed with peanut butter and treats are loads of fun.  Dogs can spend hours just trying to get a lick at that peanut butter or bite into a treat!

Teaching a dog tricks in dog training gives us pooches something to think about.  Tricks help dogs avoid boredom, too.  Teach your dog to fetch to keep him busy, and give him some exercise!

lab in water

A dog fetching a toy out of the water

How do you teach a dog to fetch?  Some dogs dislike having anything in their mouth (that is, everything but food!).  Try coating the toy with peanut butter to encourage the pooch to take the item.  Take your dog’s favorite toy, and start playing with him.  Throw the toy a short distance, and, if the dog fetches it, give him a treat (or play another game of fetch as his reward).  Then, shower the dog with praise.

There are many ways of exercising and keeping your dog occupied.  Whether it be training, swimming, agility, fetch, or just running around in the backyard, it is all fun to your dog.  Just remember, we dogs just want to be with our humans, no matter what they are doing.

dog leash

 

 

Collar and ID tag

A black dog with a collar and ID tag

A dog with a collar and ID tag

I have a collar with an ID tag that I wear at all times.  The only time it ever comes off is during baths and grooming appointments.  Every dog should wear his collar at all times and it must include an ID tag.  An ID tag is a flat, metal disc that is attached to a dog’s collar.  On the ID tag is the human’s phone and address.  It can also contain the human’s name.  The ID tag helps us dogs when we get lost.  If a dog ever runs away and is picked up by someone, the person who found the dog can call the dog’s human and tell them they have their dog.  Please, PLEASE, dog owners, don’t ever let your dog go without an ID tag.  If a dog is not wearing an ID tag, he is at risk of running away and their human never seeing their beloved four-legged friend again.  This should be the #1 item on your “dog shopping” list.

Bath Time

dog hiding

Did someone say, “bath time”?

The mere thought of a bath makes my tail go down.  I hate baths! Despite all the soothing words and warm water, I hate them.  I do believe the majority of dogs hate baths too.  Some dogs hide when the word “bath” is mentioned.  They may go under beds and chairs.  I prefer to hide under the table.  I feel very hidden there, but for some odd reason my humans always find me.  I do know, though, that if I don’t have a bath I start to get the itchies.  I begin to scratch everywhere, and my humans say I stink.  I think I smell wonderful.  Why would I want to smell like lavender when I can smell like trash?  My humans just don’t have a great concept of what smells good.  I suppose, though, that all dogs must have baths every once in a while, and I like to make my humans happy.  I do feel very good after a bath too (so good that I want to roll in the grass!).

dog shaking

When a dog shakes, he loses 50% of the water on him.

Let’s face the fact. Every dog gets fleas at some point in his life.  A dog just can’t escape the wretched creatures.  Many of my fleas come off in a bath.  It is important to wash a dog properly so the fleas will not escape during a bath but go down the drain.  Make lots of suds around the dog’s neck because during a bath the fleas try to make their way to our ears.  Also lather up on the dog’s feet and toes.  This is another one of the flea’s favorite getaways.  Try not to get any water or dog shampoo in a dog’s eyes.  That can really smart.  Here is a good tip when bathing your pooch: don’t let him shake.  When a dog shakes 50% of the water comes off of him.  Dogs can’t shake very well when a human holds their muzzle.  This is a much better way of solving the problem than yelling at your dog every time he shakes all the water off.

Even though baths aren’t very fun, it sure does feel good when I’m all clean!small dog taking bath

My Favorite Dog Biscuit Recipe

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The dog biscuit made with whole wheat flour

This is my favorite homemade dog biscuit recipe ever!  This recipe makes a good amount of biscuits, so I suggest freezing some of them to keep these scrumptious treats fresh.

You will need:

1 cup oats

1/3 cup margarine or butter

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons chicken or beef instant bouillon

1/2 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg, beaten

2 cups white or whole wheat flour

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Grease your cookie sheets.  In a large bowl combine oats, margarine, and water; let stand for 10 minutes.  Next stir in cornmeal, sugar, bouillon, milk, cheese, and egg.  Mix it all very well.  Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition to form stiff dough.

On floured surface, knead in remaining flour until dough is smooth and no longer sticky (this might take 3 to 4 minutes).  Roll or pat out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a cookie cutter.  Place one inch apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.  Let it cool completely.  Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer.  Makes 3 1/2 dozen large biscuits.  Hope you enjoy these treats, fellow canines!

What Dogs Should NOT Eat

rainsins

Raisins are toxic to dogs

Every dog loves food.  Some dogs will eat anything they can find…whether it be food or not.  There are a few foods, though, that can be harmful to us dogs.  They can make our tummy’s hurt, and we can feel very ill.  Chocolate is poison to us. Onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs.  Green tomatoes can also be toxic to dogs, but when the tomato becomes red it is safe for dogs to eat.  Human food can make dogs sick and lead to obesity.  It is much better for dogs if we stick to eating dog biscuits and dog food.

chocolate

Chocolate is dog-poison

Don’t freak out if your dog eats a little bit of chocolate.  A little won’t hurt him too bad (I’ve even eaten a little on accident myself), but if a dog ate a good amount of chocolate, such as a chocolate bar, it could harm the pooch.

Basic Training

A dog learning to sit

For me, training is an outlet for all of my energy.  Training strengthens the bond between us dogs and our humans.  Every dog should know these three basic commands:  sit, lay down, and heel.  I like it when our humans use hand signals with the commands.  It makes learning a lot easier.  Just remember to always use the same hand signal because using different ones can confuse dogs.

The method my humans used to teach me “sit” was to first push my rear on the ground and then say, “sit”.  Next, they would give me a treat and shower me with praise each time I sat.  I finally caught on and now sit on command.

To learn “lay down”, the dog should have his leash on so he can’t run off.  The human sits on the dog’s left side and puts the leash under his/her knees.  He then takes out a treat and holds it by the dog’s nose.  Next, he takes the treat to the ground. The dog should follow.  When the dog lays down, give him the treat and loads of praise.

To teach a dog to “heel”, or walk at their human’s left side, the human holds a treat at his left side and the dog follows .  Next, the human walks a few steps and then gives the treat to the dog with lots of praise.  Later on, the dog will learn to heel without having a treat.