Friday, July 26, 2013

Take a Hike! Tips for Hitting the Trails with Your Dog

There’s nothing like a nice, long hike with your dog. Cooler summer or fall days make for perfect hiking weather, meaning there is no better time than now to take to the trails. There are, however, some precautions that you should take in order to make sure you and your pup are safe. Here are some essential tips that you should follow whenever you bring your pooch hiking:

Make sure that your dog is wearing an ID tag: If your pooch runs off, proper contact information is crucial. All ID tag should list the following things:

  • Pets name
  • Your cell phone number
  • Additional contact number 
  • Hometown: This way, if your dog is lost, anyone who finds them will know how far your dog is from home.
  • Medical issues and/or medicines: If they are lost and no one can get into contact with you, this is vital information for whoever found them to know.

Make sure your dog is in good physical condition, and respect your dog’s limits: Start small and work up to bigger hikes, and make sure your dog is in good shape.

Find a good, dog friendly trail: Some hiking trails aren’t dog friendly, including a good amount of trails in National Parks, so do your research before you go.

Hike during the cool parts of the day: Morning and late afternoon or evening are the coolest times of day. Your best bet is to get on the trail as early as possible so you aren’t walking during the midday heat. 

Pack plenty of water: Dogs don’t sweat, so they will need water to keep the hydrated throughout your hike. Stop frequently to give your dog water breaks and remember not to let your dog drink from ponds, lakes, streams or any natural body of water you may come across. These are breeding grounds for bacteria that could make your dog sick.

Bring a properly packed hiking kit: It’s always good to carry items that your dog may need while on a hike, including:

  • Treats: Always have rewards for your dog easily accessible. Whether you’re passing an aggressive dog, a person who doesn’t like dogs or another animal or stimuli in the woods, treats are an easy way to get your dog’s attention and distract them.
  • Water: So important, it’s worth mentioning twice! Make sure your pooch stays hydrated throughout the hike.
  • Air Horn: Should you get injured or need assistance on your hike, an air horn is always good to have on hand to get the attention of nearby hikers or rescue teams. There is also research that shows that air horns may ward of curious bears, so especially for hiking in New Jersey, which has a high black bear population, carrying an airhorn is always a safe bet.
  • Cell Phone: Your phone is essential on a hike not only for safety, but for a lot of great apps with the ability to show you trail maps and track your hike. Map My Dog Walk is a great way to keep track of the distance you’ve gone and the time it took you, plus the GPS tracking lets you know where you are so you won’t get lost.

Ask permission before letting your dog approach anyone, humans or dogs: Not all people and dogs are friendly, so it is always better to be safe than sorry. Even if your dog loves everyone, it doesn’t mean that everyone will love your dog.

Make sure your dog isn’t eating plants along the trail: Keep an eye on your dog at all times! There are plants in the area that can be poisonous to pets if ingested. To prevent any issues, it’s best if your dog doesn’t eat anything found in the woods on your hike.

Prepare yourself for ticks and fleas, and check your dog after your walk: Make sure you thoroughly check your dog after every walk in order to make sure they are free of tick and fleas. If you do find them make sure you treat the problem right away.

Pick up after your dog! Just because you are in the woods doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean up after your dog. If your dog goes, clean it up. Leave a clean environment for future hikers and their pets; many dog diseases are spread through feces, so it’s best not to leave anything behind.

Following these simple tips can mean a safe fun hike for both you and your pooch. Remember to use your best judgment on the trail and to always pay close attention to what your dog is trying to tell you. Safe hiking!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kids and Dogs

Dogs and children both require a lot of attention, so when they interact with each other, sometimes things can get complicated. If you follow a very simple checklist, you can prevent dangerous situations and your pets and kids can get along well. Keep in mind that this list is aimed at older kids about three years and up:

Kids and Dogs’ Checklist:
  • Establish ground rules before the two interact for the first time. Lay out the rules for your child as clearly as possible and make sure they agree to follow them.
  • It’s critical to teach your child the right way to approach and interact with your dog. Teach them to pet the dog on their chest and cheeks, rather than hitting the dog on the top of the head. 

  • Protect your dog and make sure they feel safe while your child is interacting with them. If your puppy feels unsafe, they may be forced to protect themselves which can be risky for your child. You can help prevent this by monitoring interactions between the two and stopping your child from doing things like pulling on your dog’s ears or tail. 
  • Do not allow rambunctious play between your child and dog, even if it sounds like they are both having fun. Running around and screaming can be too much for your dog and over stimulation can cause your puppy to act improper with your child.
  • Educate your child on how to properly play with your dog with games like hide and seek, fetch and catch. These can all be great games if properly played and supervised. 
  • It’s important to teach your kids to never approach a stranger’s dog without permission from both you and the dog’s owner. Not all dogs are friendly, and even a friendly dog can be scared by an overexcited child.
  • Get your children involved in the training of your dog. This is a great way to build a confident relationship between the two. Keep in mind that you should be monitoring all types of training that your child does with your dog, as kids tend to go to extremes with their commands and it can end up having an adverse effect on your pooch.
  • Children and puppies should never be unsupervised at any point, period.  

Children and dogs can have a great relationship if it is handled properly. Make sure to always supervise your child and your dog to prevent any incidents. Getting your children involved in the training of your dog teaches them responsibility and can greatly improve their relationship. Morris K9 Campus offers a “Kids Training Dogs” Workshop, where you can oversee your child as the one in charge of training your pooch. Visit or call (973) 252-5100 to sign your kid and your pooch up today!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Never Leave a Dog Alone in the Car

Summer is here and with that the summer heat has arrived. This can mean more trips to the park, more fun playing outside and car rides with the windows down. Dogs can have very different reactions to riding in the car, which we discussed in our previous post on how to help an anxious dog in the car. What can make dogs most anxious, however, is the temperature in a car that isn’t running or moving. Within minutes a cool car can turn sweltering on a hot summer’s day, which means that dog owners need to be more conscious about leaving their dogs alone in the car. 

It is never safe to leave your dog in a car alone, for any period of time. Temperatures can reach a deadly point for your dog fast, even on a lukewarm day. Even open windows or air conditioning don’t prevent your dog from overheating. 

Before traveling with your dog, consider the many alternatives to leaving your pet alone in the car: 

Drive Thru: If you are out with your dog and want to stop to get a refreshing drink or snack, choose to go through a drive thru instead of a restaurant or store that would require you to leave your dog alone in the car. Within minutes, your car can get hotter than your dog can withstand, so do you pooch a favor and go through the drive thru.

Pet Friendly Stores: If you want to get your dog out during the summer heat, look for local stores that are pet friendly. This way you can enjoy shopping while your pooch stays cool.
Dog Friendly Restaurants: There are many restaurants with a dog friendly patio or other eating area that welcomes pets. A quick Google search will pull up restaurants in your area where you and you dog can both enjoy an outdoor dining experience. The Morristown Deli just opened their pet friendly patio where you can bring your dog, plus they have items on the menu just for your pooch!

Leave Your Dog at Home: If you have errands to run, leave your dog at home! It’s too hot outside to leave your dog in the car even when just picking up milk at the grocery store. Let your pup enjoy the air conditioning at home instead of being stuck in the heat.

Dog Daycare: If you have things to do but you don’t want to leave your dog alone at home, a great alternative is our dog daycare program. Our daycare is in a climate controlled facility so it’s a great way for your pooch to beat the heat and have some fun!

If you spot a dog in a car on a hot day, contact your local police department or the local animal control. Don’t ignore a dog in distress! Make sure that you keep an eye on the dog until the proper authorities have arrived, and make sure that your dog is never left in this dangerous situation. With the proper precautions, you and your pet can enjoy a road trip, as long as you stick together!

Friday, July 5, 2013

What is agility?

Agility, in basic terms, is an obstacle course that dogs run while the handler directs them where to go.  In competition, people compete for titles. To someone who has worked hard training their dog and putting lots of time into getting ready for competition, nothing is more gratifying than being successful and earning a title.

If you were to survey participants at an agility competition, also know as an agility “trial,” “match” or “show,” they would all have different ways to define agility. However, from the highest level of competition to someone just practicing agility in their backyard, the common idea is to have fun with your dog! Agility is a sport, in which the ultimate goal is teamwork. The dog’s responsibility is executing the agility obstacles, or in dog terms, running, jumping, climbing. The human’s responsibility is to direct the dog on course and show them where to go next.  

Agility is all about speed and precision, and is great exercise for both the human and the dog! Agility is a great confidence builder for timid dogs, or a great energy release for those dogs that are just too wound up.  The bond training and competing creates between dog and handler is like no other. You learn how to communicate through motion and body cues. A successful agility team is not necessarily the fastest, but a team in which motion is smooth and flawless.   

People do agility with their dogs for various reasons. Some are just looking for something fun to do with their dog and have no interest in competing.  There are some teams who compete on a limited basis by attending local shows to earn titles. Some people compete often, traveling all around, spending up to three days at a time working towards Masters Titles or Championships. The “die-hards” compete to qualify for nationals, invitationals and may even go as far as trying out for the world team.  Agility at the highest level possible are world events, similar to the Olympics. Countries all around the world compile teams of the best dogs and handlers and compete for medals against each other. 

Regardless of your agility goals, if you are looking for something fun to do with your dog, agility is for you! Morris K9 Campus is proud to offer agility classes and workshops at every level. If you are curious, a “die-hard” or somewhere in between, call us today at 973-252-5100 to learn more about what agility class might be right for you and your pet!