Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A How to Guide on Fun Ways to Bond with Your Dog

Spending time with our dogs is a highlight of the day. Being greeted by wagging tails and wet noses melts away stress. However, the routine joy our pups bring us does not have to be standard.

There are fun and easy ways to increase the bonds with our dogs. Changing up our activities has benefits on several levels. These include:
  • More Effective Training 
  • Home Health Checkups 
  • Increased energy and happiness for both of you 
Here are some tips to add variety and fun to your dog’s life. (After all, it’s all about them!)

Walk Different Locations and Routes:

The daily walk is a staple dog activity. Walks provide valuable exercise and the chance to socialize in ways home life does not offer.

You can maximize these benefits by walking different places. Consider parks or outdoor malls where the sights and sound are new. Go for a ride and roll down the windows in route to a new location. Your dog’s keen senses will anticipate the fun, as he gets anxious to see what lies ahead.

At minimum, walk a different route in your neighborhood from time to time. This could be simply going left out of the driveway instead of right. You will likely notice increased alertness and energy. The benefits often carry over back at home.

Many dogs are more calm and attentive after a unique spot has been explored. The mental stimulation is also an effective training tool. Hounds for Heroes trains service dogs using similar techniques. Founded by Philanthropist Elliott Broidy, the non-profit matches wounded vets with service animals.

Tip: Walking in new places may overcome walk reluctance. This varies from dog to dog, but a change of scenery could motivate your pup to walk more (or simply get started)

Credit: Humphrey the English Bulldog (Writer’s Dog)

‘Let’s try a new place. I’m sick of the same old bench.’

Dog Massage: 

Massages are an easy way to improve your dog’s health and increase pet/owner bonds. The benefits of massaging your dog include: 
  • Reduced Joint Stiffness: This may also encourage you dog to walk more. 
  • Improved Circulation: Tied to joint stifness with similar benefits. 
  • Strenghtens Bonds: Massage is an interactive activity.
  • Home Health Check Up: In a relaxed state, you can examine the coat, skin, mouth, eyes and ears in ways usally not possible. You will also become familiar with how the dog feels to your touch. This helps you notice if subtle changes take place. 
Each dog/owner duo has different schedules. The key is to pick a time where your dog is calm and accepting. For instance, immediately before or after a walk is not preferred in most cases. Some ideal times for doggie massage could be:
  • Before or after sleep 
  • Cool down periods after walks. About an hour or so when the adrenaline rush is dropping. 
  • Before potty breaks. Your dog can expel toxins released by the massage afterwards. 
Make sure to overestimate your strength during the massage. DO NOT apply any pressure or touch your dog’s spine. Avoid using treats to lure your dog for a massage. He or she will simply expect more treats instead of sitting calmly!

Here’s a checklist for effective dog massage:
  • Softly rub under the chin and rub the cheeks with small circular strokes. 
  • Gently rub fingertips up and down 2 inches AWAY from either side of the spine. 
  • Rub between the paw pads. 
  • Gently flex front and back paws. 

Increasing the health and happiness of our dogs doesn’t have to be expensive. We can simply invest a bit of time for much stronger bonds.


Wags Columbus said...

Love this article! We love taking our pups to different locations on walks so they can feel some adventure and variety. :)

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