Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finding the Perfect Match for Your Pooch

Dogs are pack animals, therefore most truly need and crave social interaction with other dogs in order to fully develop emotionally and behaviorally. A regular romp with canine buddies can help keep socialization skills polished, mentally and physically wear out your dog, and prevent your furniture from being destroyed. It is important to remember however, that not all dogs enjoy playing with other members of their own species. By following a few guidelines and keeping a close eye on the body language of your dog, you could help to find a match made in heaven.

Age Matters
Play styles can vary greatly between a young puppy and a seasoned adult dog. Young puppies tend to like energetic, rambunctious play, so they are best suited to play with one another. In contrast, an older dog might find this frenzied kind of play to be irritating. In addition, older dogs can be choosier about their playmates, so be patient as you and your dog find your way to the right canine friend.

Evenly Matched
Your dog and her playmates should be relatively similar in size and build to prevent any accidental injuries. Not surprisingly, smaller dogs are prone to getting injured when paired with a large breed of dog. They can be stepped on, knocked around or simply overwhelmed. Keep your dog happy by finding another pooch she can let loose with, without injuring or being injured.

Dogs of a Feather...
This is a chance for your dog to express him/herself! It's easy to lump all dog play behaviors into one pot, but many dogs actually have preferences in their types of play. For example, there are dogs that will always choose stalking or chasing, while others prefer wrestling, mouthing or tug. Some breeds, like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds, prefer activities that tap into their herding instincts. Whatever your dog's play style, make a note of it, and try to find another dog who is also drawn to this type of play. Your dog will let you know whether s/he is enjoying the company of another dog by  actively playing with or ignoring the dog altogether.

                                        Let Them Have Their Say
Ultimately, let the dogs decide whether they want to be friends. You wouldn't want someone else choosing your friends, would you? If your dog and a potential playmate seem to have no interest in one another, they may simply be ill-suited as playmates. But if your dog displays regular excitement in playing with another dog, it probably means you have succeeded in finding the perfect doggie playmate!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do's and Don'ts for the Busy Dog Owner

You're a parent of 3, have a demanding job, or attend extracurricular activities each weeknight. And then there's your dog. Does this sound familiar?

Despite the fact that we all lead busy lives, it is critical to your dog's health and well-being to make the most of the limited time you have with him. Whether you are caring for, playing with or training your dog, the quality of the time you spend together has a significant effect on your relationship. Here are some basic Do's and Don'ts to help you make the most of the time you can devote to your dog:

  • Put aside time to walk your dog during the week even if you have a fenced in yard. Walks are a great way to bond with  your dog and provide mental stimulation as well as exercise.
  • Find what motivates your dog. Is it his nose? Toys? Whatever it is, use it to help reinforce manners positively.
  • Make a relaxed schedule for walks, exercise, and feedings. Dogs thrive on routine.
  • Leave your dog alone for long periods of time without exercise and stimulation.
  • Overlook your dog's successful performance of commands or tasks (reward him!).
  • Skip play times altogether because your time is limited.

For the times when life simply doesn't allow for you to be with your dog, bring him to Morris K9 Campus for a fun day of group daycare, one-on-one attention or training. By the time you come to pick him up, he will be happy just to see your face and to head home to his bed for a long nap.

Friday, August 13, 2010

7 Reasons Why It's Good to Be A Dog in 2010

Considering the current state of the economy, you may be wondering if you chose the right time to welcome a new canine member into your family. The fact of the matter is that there are many more advantages to being a dog today than there were 25 years ago, so congratulate your dog(s) for arriving on earth at just the right time!

1.  Dog-focused activities are thriving. Dog camps, obedience, training, herding and tracking, agility, flyball and rally-o are readily available to dog owners looking to enhance their dog's quality of life.

2. Dogs who suffer from injuries or arthritis now have options. Acupuncture and massage have proven equally as effective for dog's ailments (and without the side effects) as medications.

3. Dogs are more welcome outside the home than they were 25 years ago. Many workplaces, businesses and shops now invite dogs as their guests. In addition, the number of dogs who live inside our houses as opposed to outdoors has nearly quadrupled.

4. Resources like Morris K9 Campus are readily available to help with canine behavioral issues. While dogs may have been euthanized for poor behavior in the past, many of these concerns can now be easily corrected with training or obedience.
5. Travel is easier. Whereas 25 years ago dogs may have had to be caged in a less than ideal kennel situation, there are now wonderful, even luxury lodging experiences available to dogs. Morris Animal Inn, in Morristown for example, is a perfect place for your dog to vacation while you travel! In addition, riding in cars is now safer for dogs due to crates.

6. Life on leash is way more comfortable for dogs today due to many innovative products like Snoot, Flexi, and Halti. Choke chains are a thing of the past.

7. Play is commonly accepted as a necessary part of a dog's development. Well-socialized dogs must play with toys, their owners, other dogs and other people to gain a sense of confidence and comfort in a multitude of situations throughout their lives. Play during puppyhood is now viewed as a critical part of this socialization process. From Kongs to specially-designed water toys to Jolly Balls, a dog's options for play are now endless, making for a much happier life!