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Day Campers Celebrate Success with New Year’s Resolutions

February 15, 2011 | Daycare

As pets become more and more a part of our families and we study animal behaviors to understand them better, we try to make slight adjustments that will help your pet enjoy their time at daycare, camp and during their boarding stay.

Our normal camp day runs approximately 6 hours and we break it down into three basic functions: free play first thing in the morning to expend all that pent up energy, an interactive session where the camp counselors interact with the dogs individually and as part of the pack playing ball, chase, and fetch or doing individual and group commands such as sit, stay, down and leave it. During the heat of the day we like to let them have a rest period to sun and be lazy. When they are returned inside many receive purchased treats such as frosty paws or peanut butter Kongs, as a nice afternoon snack, to round out their day.

As you can imagine there is a lot of excitement within the facility as the entire pack is vocalizing and greeting each other. We play a series of music ranging from classical to jazz which has a calming effect on the animals and helps them to gear down before their excursion home. We especially like the Music for the Dogs Ear series which features classical favorites specially composed in a lower register with fewer beats per minute to slow the heart rate and instill a sense of calm. Other favorites include Canine lullaby’s and the occasional “show tune” such as a featured song from “CATS” like Memory. Real cats however, tend to prefer Mozart or a nature video.

We are incorporating more and more hand signal communication and striving hard to accomplish the “sit” before entering and exiting doorways and gates. This helps with calming nervous energy and makes for a safer environment for both the pets and staff. Any practice at home is sure to help your pet get a gold star on their next report card.

Is Bowser Fit?

Most dog lovers are well aware of the benefits of exercising for their pets as well as themselves! But frequently the appropriate amount of exercise is difficult to find the time for. Does your dog have destructive behaviors like digging, or tearing up your house? Or related issues like biting, endless pacing, or other absurd behavioral issues? If not, great! Continue to prevent these problems and let your canine friend get out more and enjoy life too. Give your dog plenty of exercise and activity. Your bowser also requires quality attention from you (the dog owner), in addition to activities in day campsand time spent with others. Read on for a few tips.

The key to good exercise is work up the heart rate so that the dog reaches a good pant. This is the dog’s reaction to body heat, so it is a good indication they are working hard. If the pant is too strong, you may hear a harsh wheezing breath, that sounds unpleasant. Be sure to give your dog rest, especially older dogs and provide plenty of water when finished. Your dog may be very thirsty after even 5 minutes of aggressive play.

Playing with your dog is not only beneficial for the mind and body of your pet, but also for you! Daily exercise is required and most ideally more than once in a day. There are numerous ways to exercise/play with your dog including: walking, playing fetch (with different toys), hiking with your dog, playing “chase”, taking him to a dog park, beach or running wildly through the mall (just seeing if you read this far, strike that last one).

You can vary what you do with your dog. Perhaps take your dog on a long hike in the woods one day and you may want to go easy the next. A light amount of fetch or a shorter walk in the neighborhood, would be fine. Choose something that you enjoy doing because its important to continue these activities regularly. You may call it exercise, but your dog thinks of it as playtime and adventure. Think like the dog. Bowser will be fit, and you will be too!

Health Bulletin— for Winter Months:

Pricey couture is optional, but some breeds do need outerwear in winter. Some veterinarians say small, short-haired, inactive dogs without a thick fur undercoat are more susceptible to cold weather. These breeds include the Chihuahua, dachshund, Boston terrier, shih tzu, bichon fries, miniature pinscher and the xolo, a Mexican hairless dog. “There is no question in winter with rain, snow and ice that these dogs are more at risk because of their size and inability to keep body heat,” says Rene Carlson, president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Although our weather in California tends to be milder along the beach, it can still get pretty chilly during the winter months and snow is not out of the question if you travel to the mountains.

Normal dog body temperature runs 101 to 102 degrees. A drop in body temperature of five or six degrees can put dogs at risk of low blood pressure and kidney damage, as well as decreased blood flow to the liver and brain, which can possibly lead to hypothermia. Elderly or ailing animals may need to don extra layers, regardless of their breed, says Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“When we think of the working and sporting dogs, these are the ones less likely to need protection,” Dr. Zawistowski says. “Lap dogs need it the most.” It is not recommended to put hats or goggles on your pet as it may have a negative effect on their equilibrium.

Great Activities You Can Enjoy With Your Dog

Here are some great things people do with their dogs. Most activities welcome all dogs, whether purebred or of mixed breed heritage. Some dog activities are purely recreational in nature, while others are competitive dog sports. Many of these activities may be new to you.

Why do dog activities matter? Why promote them? Dog activities matter because they help dogs keep their homes. People who play with their dogs stay with their dogs. When people and dogs do things together it is good news all around. Many of these activities provide the structure that helps people learn to better communicate with their dogs. The dogs have a better opportunity to learn good manners. That makes them easier to live with and less likely to be given up. The activities help people get in touch with one another to share information. That also helps people to learn about dogs, to avoid problems, and to solve them in a healthy way. The activities provide exercise in a fun way that boosts the relationship. The exercise, in turn, reduces boredom. A dog that exercises with its human is less likely to have behavior problems. A wonderful side benefit is that these activities can be a mental boost for humans and dogs alike.

Do we need lessons on having fun with our dogs?

All the evidence is, yes, we need to learn how to have fun with our dogs. Too many people just don’t know how much fun their dog can be. Their relationship is one way; they haven’t learned to communicate. They need help learning how to have fun with their dog. When they enjoy their dog they are motivated to work through problems, to solve them instead of giving up on the dog.

“And yes, your mutt can play too”

Mixed breed dogs can play a variety of sports, games, and participate in many other good time activities as well. Many of the activities listed here may be new to you. Some of them you may have seen on TV, but never thought of getting involved in yourself. Well plunge right in and explore. You and your dog will be glad you did. Additional ideas and information can be found at http://www.dogplay.com/index.html.

Fun things to do with your dog in the New Year!

  • Agility – in, out, over and through this sport is all about working as a team Animal Assisted Activities & Therapy – the warm head of a friendly pet can soothe a lonely heart.
  • Canicross – dog powered running for those who want to share their running goals with their best friend.
  • Carting – channel the desire to pull into harness work that lets the dog feel useful and skilled.
  • Coursing and racing – root instinct drives the joy of running with purpose in coursing and racing.
  • Day trips and vacations – the dogs need not be left behind, bring them along for even more fun.
  • Disc Dog or Flying Disc – if there was ever meaning to jump for joy this is it.
  • Dock Jumping or Dock Diving – dogs who excel in this sport love to show they can do it further and better.
  • Dog Camps – Activity Sampler Try our Day Camp and let us tell you about other great options as well.
  • Dog Parks & Dog Walks: Socialization & Off-leash Play – a joy for the social dog, think tot lott.
  • Flyball – excitement, speed, and focus, a sport for dogs driven to do it faster.
  • Flygility – racing and teamwork to build confidence and a sense of belonging.
  • Games – the most basic of interactions, fun ways of practicing skills of hunting, fetching, working together.
  • Herding – it’s all about the dog’s instinct and desire to control and direct movement for the pack leader.
  • Hiking, Backpacking and Dog Walks – sharing our quiet moments, our contemplations is the essence of being a pack.
  • Hunt and Field Trials – working as a team is what drives these dogs.
  • Kids and Dogs – dogs and kids can be a wonderful pairing with a little learning to keep it safe and fun.
  • Musical Freestyle – the ultimate in teamwork is working with rhythm and coordination.
  • Obedience – precision, focus and a great activity for perfectionist dogs, those who love to get it exactly right.
  • Performance Art (Tricks) curiosity and a willingness to try new things makes this fun.
  • Pet Facilitated Therapy – for the dog who loves attention what better way to get it than visiting people in need.
  • Racing – for the dogs who love not just running but being faster than the next one.
  • Ring Sport – a sport that says “I can be a contributing member of the family” Some dogs thrive on responsibility.
  • Rollerblade – a fun way for dogs and humans to share exercise and fresh air.
  • Schutzhund – tracking, obedience, protection, schutzhund is all about what a well rounded dog is all about.
  • Search and Rescue – for some making a difference is important, that includes dogs, they know it matters.