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Don't Distress, De-stress!

Posted by [email protected] on February 20, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Is your dog doing any of the following:

 

  • tearing up couch cushions?
  • nuisance barking?
  • digging?

 

I can pretty much guarantee you it's because they've got energy to burn, and they've got nowhere else for it to go.  Many dog owners have busy schedules, and it's a challenge to find the time to engage their high-energy dog.


Ways to Make It Work

 

  • Walking:  It's a beautiful day today.  Why not get outside and enjoy it with your dog?  Walks are awesome for reducing stress for your dog *and* for you, too!  And who couldn't use less stress, right?  Inertia can be powerful, I know.  But trust me.  It's SO worth getting off the couch!
  • Hiring a Dog Walker:  Not to get too repetitive, but walking is absolutely essential for dogs.  They need it like they need food and water.  So what happens when you want to walk your dog but can't?  Sprained ankle?  Flu?  No problem!  There are plenty of people like me and my crew who are willing and able to get your dog the exercise they need!  Generally, a good pet sitter/dog walker who really knows what they're doing will run you about $20/hour.  And as a pro, I recommend that a healthy dog with no mobility issues gets no less than an hour of walking in every day.
  • Giving Your Dog a Job:  Originally, all dogs had a job.  They were bred for their line of work, and as an owner, it's up to you to honor their instincts.  Take a look at the AKC list of breeds on their website.  Find your dog there, and see what they were born to do!  If you can make the time to involve them in their specialty, they'll be extra happy!
  • Play:  Why have a dog if you're not going to have fun with it?  Dogs are the perfect excuse to get silly, so go for it!  Get out in the yard and run around in circles.  Play fetch.  One of my customers goes out with his tennis balls and racket.  He'll practice his serve, and the dog will bring the ball back nice and slobbery!  Let yourself be a kid again.  Go play!
  • Visiting Dog Parks:  Dogs need socialization as much as they need walking.  They're pack animals, and a lack of social interraction can lead to all sorts of difficulties like xenophobia, aggression towards other animals and worst case scenario, aggression against humans.  A dog's mind needs exercise, too.  So get out and do some social stretching.  The earlier you begin socializing your dog, the better.  Keep in mind, though, when you're at a dog park, it doesn't mean you can just sit there and let your dog run amok.  Keep an eye on your dog's behavior at all times, especially if you and your dog are new to the park.  It's not always the other person's dog who starts a scruff shaker.
  • Tweaking Your Exercise Routine:  I know many of you understand the runner's rush.  Not everyone is slumped on the couch, right?  Brilliant!  If you're out there getting your endorphins on your morning run, why not take your dog with you?  Try adjusting your route.  Start off with a mile loop that runs the dog back to the house.  Drop the dog off, and finish your route.  You know your dog best.  If they can handle another mile, cool!  Just be careful with overheating.  It's time for the weather to start warming up, and they don't sweat like we do, so respect their limits.  Stop for a couple laps of water or drop them off before they get heat sick.  Before you take your dog running with you, always, always, always talk to your vet first.     
You love your dog, and you want to keep it. Your dog has energy. You prefer your couch intact. So find an outlet for your dog's natural enthusiasm.  Life is sweet as it is.  When the ones you love in your family are happy - and dogs are family - life is even sweeter!   

 

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