Archive for the ‘New’ Category

Showing Your Dog: Training Tips Part 1

Gemma | November 3rd, 2005
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Showing your own dog offers many rewards. Theres a sense of achievement and pride when you successfully handle your dog to the winners circle, and a deeper bond of respect and affection is shared between you and your pet.

The grooming and other preparation necessary before a show is felt to be a very relaxing hobby for many competitors, giving them a chance to enjoy their dogs more. Besides personal satisfaction, there also exists the opportunity to meet others interested in your breed of dog with whom you can share interests and helpful hints, as well as the joys and disappointments of showing.

To start, let us assume you already own a dog of show quality, since the discussion of obtaining one is another subject in itself. A dog of show quality can be defined as one that meets, or comes very close to, breed standards, according to conformation, size, type, disposition and color. If you have reservations as to whether your pet dog is of show quality or not, you should ask breed authorities and evaluate your pet as best you can by reading a copy of your breed standard and closely scrutinizing photos of top winning dogs.

I would also recommend obtaining a copy of the American Kennel Club (AKC) rules and regulations pamphlet governing dog shows; this can be done by writing to the AKC. If at this point you and other more experienced dog show goers feel your dog has winning potential, you are ready to begin the training process.

Showing your dog is more involved than any spectator realizes. A great deal of preparation is needed for both you and your dog. The dog must be trained to stand in a show pose so that the judge can look at him and examine his conformation by feeling the dog structure and muscling first hand. The dog must stand perfectly still and submit to the handling without growling, flinching, fidgeting, or being playful or affectionate.

Start teaching your dog to stand in a show pose by standing on his right side and placing the lead high up on his neck right behind the ears. Then clasp the lead in your left hand, place the dogs head at a high, but comfortable height, and keep light tension on the lead so it remains there. Now reach down with your right hand and adjust the front, beginning with the left foreleg, then the right so that the legs are parallel from all sides and perpendicular to the ground. The toes should be pointed straight ahead, neither inward or outward like a duck.

The width between the front legs varies according to breeds and individual dogs, but the best adjustment is the one that provides the most solid base for your dog. On smaller breeds, it is often permissible to set up the front by placing a hand under the dogs chest, lifting him slightly, and letting the front drop naturally into position. If your dog drops into a good solid stance consistently, it is to your advantage to set up the front in this same manner.

Older Dog Getting The Right Amount Of Exercise For

Gemma | October 29th, 2005
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Older Dog Getting The Right Amount Of Exercise For Your Adult Dog

When your dog has reached his senior years – about 7 years old for large breeds and 14 years old for small breeds – his level of energy may be lower, he may begin to settle down a bit, and he may only need less exercise.

On the other hand, it really depends on the kind of dog you have. You may have one that is still energetic, driven, and very active – well into his golden years. If this is the case, continue with your normal exercise on a daily basis, maybe just at a slower pace. Keep going until you feel that he is ready to retire and slow down.

Keep Exercise A Top Priority

If you want your dog to stay fit, he needs exercise every day, regardless of his age. Once your canine pal reaches his old age, however, you may decrease the amount of exercise that you are giving him, but you should never stop. Many older dogs are still happy to go on long walks, fetch a ball, or catch a Frisbee. If you feel that he is getting a little slow and requires less activity, a trip to the park or going to the beach may be a better alternative for him.

To keep your dog happy and in good physical and mental condition, let him have at least 30 minutes of exercise every single day. A few example exercises that you can do with your senior dog are: A short or long walk, slow runs in the park, going to the beach, going for a short hike on a trail, or a simple game of fetch. These are activities that your dog can enjoy doing well into his old age.

Older Dogs With Injuries

If your senior dog is suffering from a joint or bone trouble, you will need to slow him down. He will still need to move and stay active, but the amount and length of exercise should be kept to a minimum. For example, instead of doing a 3 mile walk, modify it to a 1 mile walk and do it twice a day. Swimming is another alternative exercise for dogs suffering with a hip dysplasia or other bones disorder.

Keep An Eye On Him

Keep a good eye on your dog during his exercise and make sure that he is not pushing himself too hard. Dogs love to please their owners, and they will push themselves to the limit if they think that doing so will make you happy. Watch out for any signs that he needs to slow down. Such signs are: limping, panting, slow in pace, or sleeping for a long period of time after the exercise, which is a sign of severe exhaustion.

Use Softer Ground

Also keep in mind that older dogs as well as some puppies can develop joint injuries or foot pad injuries from running on hard concrete. If at all possible, let your dog run or walk on dirt, sand, or grass. If you have no choice but to walk him on concrete, avoid running and slow the pace.

Exercise When It Comes To Exercising Your Dog, How

Gemma | October 26th, 2005
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Exercise When It Comes To Exercising Your Dog, How Much Is Needed?

In humans, the importance of exercise has been proven time and again. But what about our canine friends? Is it enough to just feed them properly and give them occasional walks? What are the benefits of exercise to dogs?

All dogs need exercise

Studies as well as experience have shown that dogs who are getting adequate exercise are healthier and happier. They are also more social when they are in public places. When dogs are given regular exercise, they are more calm at home and are less restless when left alone. However, just like feeding, choosing the right amount of exercise for your dog should depend on several factors. These factors are age, size, and type of breed.

Age: Puppies require daily exercise for proper muscle development. Their high energy levels need to be released in some form of constructive activity, and giving them their daily exercise is the best way to do it. Not being able to release their pent-up energy can lead to destructive behavior such as chewing or digging. On the other hand, a mature, aging dog needs less exercise because of their lower energy levels.

Size: Large dogs do not necessarily need more exercise than small dogs. In fact, many large breeds like the Mastiff or Great Dane would rather relax and sit on the porch all day then go out for a 2 mile run. Nevertheless, they also need their daily exercise, perhaps one or two 30 minute walks everyday. On the other hand, many types of small breeds such as the Jack Russell Terrier or Chihuahua still keep on going even after a three-mile walk.

Type Of Breed: Your dog’s breed is also a big factor on the amount of exercise required. For instance, dogs that were originally bred to herd such as the Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, and German Shepherd need to be exercise daily. Another example of a breed that requires daily exercise are those that were originally bred to hunt (hunting dogs). Examples of these dogs are the Beagle, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and German Hunt Terrier. And finally,sled dogs such as the Siberian Husky, Samoyed, and Alaskan malamute share the same high level of energy as the herding dogs and hunting dogs and therefore, need to be exercised on a regular basis.

Exercise Walking, A Great Way To Exercise Your Dog

Gemma | October 23rd, 2005
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Exercise Walking, A Great Way To Exercise Your Dog

Did you know that your dog will become inactive, dull, and overweight if he is confined inside your home for long periods of time? Not only that, but he is also likely to develop some type of behavioral problem like excessive barking or chewing, and will have a tendency to develop an aggressive, destructive behavior. Therefore, exercise is not only important because it keeps your dog happy, it is vital for your dog’s physical well-being, as well as his mental health.

Exercise is also an excellent approach for you to bond and spend some quality time with your beloved pal. In addition, exercising your dog is also a great benefit for you personally to stay fit, active, and get your heart pumping. So all in all, exercise is an activity that can benefit both you and your dog and is part of the joy of being a dog owner.

Walking

A simple exercise that you and your dog can enjoy is walking. Your dog requires daily exercise, and walking is an excellent activity that both you and your canine friend can be a part of.

The slow, gentle movement of walking helps you and your dog in several ways: It tones your muscles, provides oxygen to your heart, and is beneficial to your lungs. If your dog is not used to walking or if he is a little overweight, start him off with a short 15 minute walk. Slowly built up the pace as he gets more used to it.

If you are the type of person who loves to just go out for a walk and feel the breath of fresh air, then a 1-2 mile of daily walk is all it takes to keep your dog fit, and maybe even more if you are up for the challenge. Your dog will certainly love it, especially if you have one with a high level of energy.

However, if you do not have the time for long walks, or maybe the idea of walking for 2 miles is simply not your idea of fun, then your dog will be just as happy if you can only take him for a quick walk around the block twice a day.

Dog Tracking An Interesting Sport You May Want To

Gemma | October 20th, 2005
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Dog Tracking An Interesting Sport You May Want To Consider For Your Dog

There are many attributes of your dog that go unnoticed and completely forgotten about. Hey it’s easy to do, considering most people have dogs strictly for companionship. However, you have to remember that these animals have a long ancestry which, depending upon the type of dog breed he is, has underlying qualities and desires that you may find interesting to explore.

One such characteristic would be a dog’s natural ability to catch a scent and then track that scent in order to hunt down and find the prey. Many dogs were specifically bred to track game of all sizes, however, every dog has this capability to some degree. In other words, if your dog has a nose, then he has the ability to track.

But you already knew this to some degree. Recall the last walk you are on with your pooch, his nose was probably going crazy at every corner and at every vertical object. You’ve seen him nose the ground every chance possible and even sniff the air catching the scent of something, or someone.

Tracking Is A Sport

There is even a widely practiced dog sport that has dogs compete in the art of tracking. This sport takes advantage of these animals’ natural ability to pick up on a scent and follow the trail to a particular object, terrain, or person. There are different levels which presents greater challenges such as additional turns in the terrain, a longer track, and even multiple objects to find.

The interesting aspect of tracking competition is that while in most other dog sports, like obedience or agility competitions where people are in charge, tracking competitions have the dog leading the way. The dog as a harness attached to him with a 30 foot leash which his handler will follow as he hunts down the trail. Some dogs take their time and are very meticulous, while others confidently track their scent at a fast pace.

When a test is given, each dog will receive their own track. There are two judges who are then assigned to follow each particular dog handler team. In order to put on such a test, it takes quite a bit of land and the operation is very labor intensive. This means that not every dog off the street can enter and compete. They must have certification on tracking abilities before even entering a particular level of competition.

Dog Sports How To Train Your Dog For Sporting

Gemma | October 18th, 2005
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Dog Sports How To Train Your Dog For Sporting Events & Competitions

Dog breeds of all shapes and sizes and from all fitness levels can enjoy and benefit from several types of dog sports. Whether you have a toy breed or one that needs a little push in order to get motivated, you can get your dog involved in one of several types of canine sports.

Dogs enjoy the freedom and challenge of the sport, while the owners gain an opportunity to create a stronger bond with their canine pals.

Finding The Right Trainer For Your Dog

Taking part in sports and dog competitions is fun for both dogs and their owners. Once youve determined on the sport, find out what the requirements are to enter the competition. Next, you need to find an instructor who can guide you through the process or help you get more information. The trainer may be able to refer you to an association or club that can help you pick the sport that best suits your dog.

Find a qualified trainer to train both you and your dog. In most cases, you wont find a piece of paper stating that the trainer is well-qualified, but one who has experience competing in the sport of your choice or other types of canine sports should be considered. The trainer should also possess knowledge on current training methods as well as information about upcoming events and trials.

Training Your Dog On How To Become An Athlete

For all the novices out there who are new to training with your dog for a specific dog sporting event, there are some key factors you must understand before beginning your training regimen.

The number one issue that comes up in the majority of dog owners who are new to dog sports is becoming overly frustrated when trying to teach dogs a new skill. It is important to remember that positive training is always the number one solution to your goals. Avoid getting angry and do not sweat the small stuff, especially when you and your dog are both learning something new together.

Always remember that you have a choice in changing the sport if you see that your dog is not learning or enjoying himself. For example, if you start training for fly ball, and your dog is having a hard time by dropping the ball repeatedly, perhaps it’s time to consider teaching him disc dog or agility instead.

Spend as much time possible at teaching your dog. I realize that this sounds like a simple, common sense tip, but many people overlook it. The more time you spend with your dog, the more fun you’ll have, and the better he will perform.

Keep training for the specific sport of your choice fun for your dog. Use plenty of toys and dog treats, along with an abundance of praise and affection. Your goal is to motivate your dog to accomplish each small task for the sporting event you are training for. In time, he will be ready to rock ‘n roll and both of you can then take your chances at the next sporting event.

Dog Sports – Two Popular Canine Sports You & Your

Gemma | October 16th, 2005
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Dog Sports – Two Popular Canine Sports You & Your Athletic Dog Will Love

Getting your dog involved in dog sports requires preparation and knowledge. What you need to do beforehand is get familiar with the type of breed you have, his physical capabilities, and his interests.

Once you have figured out the three factors stated above, youll have an easier time deciding on the best sport to choose for your dog. The sport should be something that you also enjoy, since both you and your dog are going to be in this together. If you have the time, go to different sporting or activity events and just watch the other dogs and owners perform. This is a good way to get a feel for what each sport entails.

If you are lucky then there will be dog sporting events in your area. If the sport of your choice is three hours away from where you live, you may be better off participating in one that is just two blocks down the street. You can always look for other sports or activities later. Many dog owners engage their dogs in more than one activity.

Below is a list of two of the popular sports for dogs and their owners:

Agility: A very popular dog sport that gained recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC). In this activity, the handler or owner has a limited amount of time to direct his dog through an obstacle course that consists of ramps, tunnels, climbs, jumps, and other challenges.

Agility is a fun sport where dogs and owners go through the challenge together as a team. The dogs performance is determined by his speed and accuracy as he performs through the course. Obedience training and the ability to follow instructions is a must, since this activity requires the dog to be off the leash and only relies on the owners body signals and verbal commands to guide him through the course.

Obedience Trials: In this sport, the dog must demonstrate his role as a civilized human companion by accurately performing a predefined set of actions as directed by his owner or handler.

Obedience trials provide a great opportunity for the dog and his owner to work as a team. Dogs and owners are evaluated on precision, accuracy, the owners movement, and the dogs willingness to cooperate and follow directions.

The American Kennel Club obedience competitions have three levels. Beginners level is referred to as Novice, intermediate level is referred to as Open, and advanced level is called Utility. The dog needs to complete the requirements for each level before advancing to the next. Examples of exercises are: Recall (Come), Drop on Recall, Heel, and Sit.

Dog Sports – Introducing Your Dog To Canine Sporting Events

Gemma | October 14th, 2005
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Dog Sports – Introducing Your Dog To Canine Sporting Events & Competitions

Are you the athletic type that has considered starting a sports activity program that you and your dog can both enjoy together? Would you like to see him jump high into the air and catch a high-speed disc or retrieve a ball thrown out of visibility into a trial-area? Or maybe go through a maze in an obstacle course and watch your buddy come through with tremendous accuracy?

If this interests you, then youll be happy to know that there are several sports activities that you and your canine friend can both participate in. Dog sports such as agility, obedience trials, musical freestyle, canicross, disc dog, field trials, and many others are becoming more and more popular among dog enthusiasts, and for various reasons:

1. It is a great way to exercise your dog and keep him in great shape

2. It provides an excellent opportunity for you and your dog to connect on a different level.

3. It is a great way to meet like-minded dog lovers.

Warning: We strongly encourage that you take your dog to the vet for a complete physical check-up before starting any kind of sport. This is to ensure that he is in healthy shape and not suffering from any type of physical condition that can hinder his performance or cause harm to the animal.

Two Factors To Consider When Picking A Sport

What type of activity or sport does your dog like to do, one that he does really well with? If you already know the answer to this question, then the next step is to just get familiar with the types of dog sports that are out there and pick one that you think best matches your dogs favorite activity.

However, if your dog is not currently engaged in any kind of activity, consider the following factors:

1. His breed. Your dogs genetics play an important part of the type of activity that he may enjoy, as well as his ability to perform that specific activity. Understanding his history and heritage makes it easier for you to find a sport or activity that is most suited for his breed.

Learn more about your breed. Find out what type of job his ancestors did and what they were originally bred to do. For instance, most, if not all dog breeds from the spaniel or retriever family, will do great in water sports and retrieving, although it doesnt mean that water sports and retrieving are the only two things that you should consider.

2. His personality. In addition to his physical abilities, you also need to consider his personality. Some dogs love nothing more than to run a long distance course or catch a flying ball. These dogs will definitely do well in many types of dog sporting events. Other dogs are a little slow at first, but with right training and motivation, they too can have fun and benefit from participating in canine sports.

Canine Couch Potatoes: It’s Time To Get Your Dog Involved

Gemma | October 11th, 2005
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Canine Couch Potatoes: It’s Time To Get Your Dog Involved In Sports (Tracking)

Tracking is a great sporting event to get your active dog involved in which will hone in on his ability to follow a scent trail and find strategically placed scented items, such as a glove, leather wallet, bandanna, etc.

Tracking tests usually take place outside, and depending on the course, may be laid over a natural surface (such as a field of grass) or over what is called variable surface (several surface types, including gravel, concrete, dirt and grass).

Tracking isn’t an easy sport to master plenty of distractions can lead dogs astray, such as furry or feathered critters, or yummy-smelling food fragrances. Even so, your energetic sporting breed could quite possibly make an excellent tracker depending on his intelligence and willing to learn. It all depends on the dog’s ability to focus on one scent and its desire to find it.

To get started in tracking, look for a professional trainer who trains and competes in AKC tracking events. Look in your phone directory under dog training and contact trainers who specialize in obedience. Many obedience training facilities also offer tracking training.

To compete in an AKC tracking test you must first arrange to have your dog certified by a tracking judge. The judge (or tracklayer a person chosen by the judge) will mark out a Tracking Dog (TD)-level (most basic) scent trail. If your dog successfully follows the track under the gaze of the judge, you’ll receive four tracking certificates which are viable for one year.

Next, find a real tracking test and sign up, presenting one of your certificates with your entry form. The TD-level test calls for your dog to follow a 440 to 500-foot-long track with 3 to 5 turns that has been aged 30 minutes to two hours. The dog must clearly indicate or retrieve the scented item at the end of the trail.

You can’t yank, pull or otherwise tell the dog where the trail or scented items like. You can, however, offer verbal praise and commands. Two judges decide to pass or fail a dog depending on how well it follows the track and whether it actually finds the article. A dog can earn its first title after passing only one test, or leg.

To earn a Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) title, you must follow an 800 to 1,000-foot-long track that has been aged 3 to 5 hours and has 5 to 7 directional changes. This task is made more challenging because other human scents cross the true track.

Variable Surface Tracking (VST) tests are the most challenging. Your dog must follow a three to five-hour-old track over a minimum of three different surfaces, including two that have no vegetation, such as sand, gravel or concrete. A dog that has earned all three of these titles is awarded the Champion Tracker (CT) title.

Canine Couch Potatoes: It’s Time To Get Your Dog Involved

Gemma | October 8th, 2005
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Canine Couch Potatoes: It’s Time To Get Your Dog Involved In Sports (Sledding)

Do you live in the snowy, ice-filled regions of the world? If so, consider training your dog to master the art of snow sports, particularly dog sledding.

You may think that dog sledding is a little out of your league when it comes to your dog, but you you’ll be surprised to learn that most breeds can mush right along with the husky leaders in the cold region.

Clearing Up The Fallacies

First let’s clear up some fallacies when it comes to snow sports for dogs. Any dog can mush as long as it weighs more than 30 pounds and is in good health. You don’t need a northern breed (such as a Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute) to run a sled team, and unless you’re planning long distances you only need one to three dogs.

Being in top shape is important for sled dogs, so before you start, have your veterinarian okay your dog’s health, then spend some time jogging with your dog or running it beside a bicycle to get it physically fit. Every dog is different, but in general it’s a good idea to begin running him short distances about mile a day until it has had a chance to improve.

Gradually lengthen the distance until your dog can easily run for 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Once he is able to run up to three miles a day without showing signs of strain (heavy panting, overheating), you can begin to train for sledding.

Sledding Details

Two dogs make a team when it comes to sledding. If you decide you want to do more than mush around the local park, you’ll need a minimum of three to four dogs for competitions.

Sledding can get a little pricey when it comes to equipment. You need a sled, gangline (which hooks up the sled to the dogs), X-back harnesses (made of nylon) for each dog, snowhooks (which are sled anchors), snublines (which hold the sled when you’re stopped), and a sled bag to hold extra gear.

Most well-seasoned dog sledders do not recommend doing long-distance runs (from 20 to 250 miles) with the breeds that are not naturally bred for this type of activity, such as most sporting dogs like Labrador Retrieves, Setters, Pointers, etc.

Most of these dogs do not have the thick, insulated coats of the northern breeds to protect them in extreme conditions. The average dog may indeed have a lot of stamina, but when it comes to dog sledding, most breeds’ physical makeup are not ideal for long-distance pulling.

To be competitive in sledding (for racing distances under six miles), your dogs should have completed a minimum of 300 to 500 miles of training that season before your first race. This seems like a lot, but running your team three miles a day is a good goal to shoot for. If the weather is cool enough, you can begin your training in September, and have the 300 miles under your belt by your first race on December 15th.

In addition to learning how to pull, your dog will also need to learn the standard voice commands in dog sledding: whoa (stop), hike (go), gee (right), haw (left), easy (slow down) and hike it up or a tongue click (go faster). These skills are often best taught when a beginner dog is harnessed up with experienced dogs.

For more information about sled dog events and training, contact the International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA) or the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS).