Archive for March, 2011
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by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com
Are you in? After a long, rough winter, if you haven’t already it’s time to get out there with your dog for daily walks! The 250 Challenge is a 10-week challenge to get us moving again by walking at least 25-miles a week! I know what you are thinking, that is a lot, it’s not really if you break it up into a few miles a day. With 4th of July just 13-weeks away, don’t you want to have a leaner you? What about your dog – many dogs are obese in this country due to lack of exercise and overfeeding by their owners. You know that fun owner and dog look alike contest? This challenge will be interactive too, just click here and your can add your comments, miles you have done and more.
Many times in our dog education class we hear that the owners only ever let their dogs in the yard, and/or only walk them, if they do for 15 minutes at most. Understanding time constraints, schedules, we all have – but you know a tired dog is a good dog, and daily walks with your dog will not only help ease your stress levels, but mentality stimulate your dog also. Not to mention bond with your dog. Many dogs are just plain BORED, and need exercise, attention, training, socialization and fun! Here are some tips on getting started for you and your dog:
- How to get started, first of all if you or your dogs have only ever walked down the street, take it slow! You want to build up to a longer distance walk – so don’t over do it for yourself or your dog. If you dog is overweight, older or is just not used to walking you will want to just add a few minutes to his walk daily: 10-minutes day 1; 15-minutes day 2; 20-minutes day 3; etc. You might be surprised that your dog will do ok or even better than you expected, and will definitely want to walk everyday.
- Set up a schedule, if you can only walk before work, set the alarm clock a little earlier – once you go a few days, your dog will become accustomed to and look forward to that daily walk.
- Get the proper walking sneakers and work out attire for yourself and sturdy leather or cotton 6-foot leash, proper collar with ID. If you are not sure about a training collar or equipment for your dog, contact a dog trainer for help. Many dog trainers have all the latest products they can show you how to properly fit to your dog and use – and they can help you find the best for your dog. They could also help you with training if your dog is just dragging you down the street and is the reason you don’t walk the dog!
- Bring dog treats with you in your pocket or treat holder, a squeaker small enough to fit in your coat and a couple of bottles of water.
- Change up the route! As we get bored with the same walking route, so do our dogs. You may notice your dog get a lot more excited just by going down a different street or down a different path. This will help keep you motivated. Check back here for a series on our favorite dog friendly parks throughout LI and secret hiking trails too!
- Don’t over do it. If you are not ready to walk 3 or 4 miles a day, your dog may not be either.
- If you have never taken your dog anywhere, your dog may be super excited and may deter you from taking him again with you. The more you take your dog, the better he will become. Don’t give up after a couple of walks.
- Know your dog, know your breed. If you have a tiny 3lb tea cup small breed – they may not be able to walk a long distance. Realize that! But if you have a small dog, don’t think because they are little they can’t walk far-they do have legs you know!
- Check your dog’s paws. With debris on the road from sand from salt trucks and now landscapers, you will want to check your dog’s paws to make sure they did not get a splinter, step in glass, cut or even step on a thorn. You can do so while on walk or after the walk when the dog is sleeping. Sometimes dogs are stoic and don’t show pain or an injury, you don’t want to make paw pad or injury worse – so be sure to monitor your dog throughout your walks and afterwards.
- If you are hiking with your dog, be sure to bring a first aid kit for pets, bottled water and an extra collar or leash – just in case your dogs leash breaks or dog gets an injury. If you are really hiking somewhere off the beaten path, make sure you have mapped out the local 24-hour veterinary clinic, again just in case.
- Can’t walk the dog yourself? Hire a dog walker – there are many on LI and can make your life easier.
- Leave your dog at home – if your dog just can’t do or does not want to walk, (I know a French bulldog that would rather NOT walk at all, and just stay in the house!), grab your ipod and go by yourself or with a friend! This 250-Challenge is also for non-dog owners.
If you are not sure about walking your dog far or don’t know how to properly walk your dog – contact a trainer for help. Also bring your dog for a check up at to the veterinarian; just like you might want to ask your own doctor before starting any exercise routine, you may want to ask your vet too. I personally walk my almost 10-year old dog nearly 15 to 20 miles a week and he would keep going further if I let him! So I will be adding 5 miles to my routine, and most likely brining him too!
Also, if your dog is in great shape and you are adding a mile two extra a day, you might want to give a little bit more food than normal, for instance my dog gets about 2 cups of premium holistic dog food regularly, and on long distance walk days (usually 5 or 6 miles), I will give him and extra ¼ of a cup or so. With this, you don’t want to over do it either! Ask your veterinarian if you are not sure.
by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com
Springtime and Dog Owner Amnesia
It’s springtime on Long Island, what a beautiful thing! We can walk our dogs more often now and not worry about slipping and falling on the ice or climbing over huge snow piles. This past week especially I have personally seen a lot more dogs being walked than I have throughout the winter. But I have also noticed many dog owners seem to forget the basics of walking their dog or maybe their spring fever has given them dog owner amnesia.
Or maybe you just got a new puppy or adopted a dog and haven’t had a dog in what seems like 100 years, and laws and park rules may have changed. Maybe this is your first dog ever and you are learning the ropes, here are a few dog walking tips to help you along the way (for both new and old dog owners alike!):
Proper leashes and collars – The best leash is a 6-foot cotton or leather leash; which come in different widths and styles for your type and size of dog. Retractable leashes do not give you any control of your dog or dogs and can cause injury to people and dogs alike. Most county and state parks require your dog to be on a 6-foot leash by law. Your dog should have a flat collar with ID and NYS dog license on it, and if you are using a training collar to walk your dog, be sure to get it fitted properly by a professional dog trainer. Most big box pet stores selling choke, prong, harnesses and other training apparatus do not fit your dog (or know how to) and will sell you wrong size for your dog. Smaller mom & pop pet stores or dog training facilities will have a better idea what to sell you and help you fit your dog in the store.
Greeting another person with a dog – ASK! Can your dog say hello? Is your dog friendly? Many dog owners inadvertently just walk up to another dog owner without asking if their dog is friendly or can say hello. While most dogs are friendly and social with other dogs, not all dogs are dog friendly. Maybe their dog was attacked before and is now terrified of dogs (or the owner is terrified), or maybe the dog is dog aggressive – and now you’re wandering over to the dog without asking. Maybe they are just working on training techniques or just beginning to socialize their dog. Ask! And don’t be offended if their dog can’t say hello to yours.
Watching other people’s body language – Did a dog owner you were approaching just cross the street with their dog? (Maybe to avoid you and your dog). Are they pulling their dog closer into them, putting the dog into a “heel” position? Walking closer to the side of the trail at the park to give you more room to pass by? These could be very easy body language signals that you can look out for – for tell ‘tail’ signs that they don’t want to or cannot greet your dog with theirs. Pay attention! Pull you dog closer to you if you see this happening, and for dog’s sake don’t cross the street for your dog to say ‘hi’ after the person just crossed to get away from you and your dog! Again, not all dogs are dog friendly – but those dog owners have the right to enjoy a dog walk in the park just as much as you do.
Don’t over do it the first walk out there, if you have only been walking your dog 10 minutes for the past 5 months, gradually get your dog back into a walking routine. Increase your time and distance a little each day and before you know you and your dog could be walking a few miles a day. A tired dog is a good dog!
Off Leash parks – are popping up across LI, so there is no need to let you’re dog run loose and out of control where you’re not supposed to because you think he should be free. An easy rule of thumb to remember is if you can not verbally control your dog off leash, i.e. having the dog ‘come’ on command or recall your dog to you. Your dog should not be running off leash where they are not supposed to! Go to an off-leash enclosed dog park. You can find many listed here.
Walking in your town of village – If your dog is out 20-feet ahead of you on a retractable leash and you’re walking through a village of busy town – pull that dog in! If you see another person coming towards you with a dog or children, retract your dog in to walk next to you – how do you know that person’s dog is dog friendly or if the person is dog savvy? Some kids are really scared of dogs, so don’t let your dog jump up or run up to a child.
Kids – Parents please teach your children to ask to pet a dog, not to run up to a dog (a bunch of charging children can be very scary to a dog that is not used to it!), and monitor your children around all pets at all times. If you are teaching your child how to walk the family dog – this is a great idea, just be sure to have control of the situation. Many times I have seen a kid holding the leash and running with the dog – it may look cute and seem fun, but if that dog decides to run after something or up to an unfriendly dog, it won’t be so cute anymore. So just make sure you are controlling the situation as the parent, aunt, uncle, guardian, etc. You want to have fun while out with your kids and dog and educate them at the same time about dog safety.
by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com
Paws for Japan
This St. Patrick’s Day, my favorite green holiday, instead of talking about “kissing the blarney stone” or drinking so much green beer you forgot you kissed the blarney stone - I would ask anyone reading this to turn their attention to the disaster in Japan. We have seen the most horrendous and unimaginable footage on CNN, GMA and other new sources and of course we think of how this has affected all the people of Japan. But what about the pets and animals? As many people are displaced and missing so are many beloved pets. Pets that are injured, lost and in desperate need of medical attention, shelter, food and water – just like their human counterparts.
So this St. Patrick’s Day the pet blog community is uniting to bring attention to the wonderful organization of WorldVets who is currently organizing groups to deploy to Japan to help all the animals. As of March 16th their first deployment is enroute to meet up with Animal Friends Niigata. They will be headed toward the disaster area for an overnight trip to help any animals they find.
Thank dog for this organization, and if you don’t want to spend your green on green beer or bagels why not chip in a few bucks towards WorldVets so they can help as many animals as possible. You can also donate veterinary supplies and/or medicines that are being requested from are the following: De-worming medicines, vaccinations, fluid replacements, wound treatments, and cages. Donations of these items can be shipped to: World Vets headquarters, 802 1st Ave N, Fargo ND 58102.
Maybe you can play the “unicorn song” while your are making a contribution, spread the word and help the pets of Japan.
by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com
Adoption fees eliminated at Islip Animal Shelter
Yesterday the Town of Islip’s Supervisor Phil Nolan was proud to announce the elimination of adoption fees at the Islip Animal Shelter. At a press conference at the animal shelter Supervisor Phil Nolan, Commissioner Chris Andrade and Shelter Supervisor Joanne Daly were there to announce the news to Long Island. Mr. Nolan said, “Waiving the adoption fees for our shelter is a win-win for our Town,” said Supervisor Nolan. “Not only will we be able to find more great pets a loving family, but we will also be cutting back on our shelter expenses associated with medical care and animal food.”
The Town Board approved this with a vote of 4-1 to eliminate the $50 fee to adopt a pet from the Islip Animal Shelter. The elimination of the fees will make it easier to find homes for pets, as well as reuniting lost pets with their owners. In addition, this move will save money for the Town by reducing veterinary and maintenance costs.
Potential adopters should know however that although adoption fees have been eliminated, the Town still mandates a thorough screening process to make sure that the pets find good homes. Those wishing to adopt a pet from the Islip Animal Shelter will still have to meet several criteria before being allowed to take a pet home with them. They are not just giving out pets to anyone who comes along, which is a very good thing. Adopters will still have to pay a small fee for the New York State dog license which is required by NYS law and maintained by the town.
If you have never been to the Town of Islip Animal Shelter, and are looking for a pet to add as a member of your family – this is one of the best run municipal animal shelters around. Joanne Daly who is the shelter supervisor is a dedicated animal lover has a big heart and leads her staff to care for the animals with compassion and dedication. They also have a wonderful all volunteer group, called Shelter Link who work daily with the animals by giving them love and attention, daily walks and socialization.
The shelter also has many different purebred dogs waiting for homes. Just yesterday there were so many breeds it was amazing to see. Amongst the breeds there were: a huge all black Great Dane, a blued eyed Husky, a Belgian Malinois (what a sweetheart!), a small Poodle, an old Shar Pei, two Pekingese, a 6-month Chihuahua who just came in, a Cocker Spaniel, a Boxer, a Yorkie (just adopted!) and of course the happiest most gorgeous American Pit Bull Terriers and pit mixes. There are some really adorable cats there too.
If you are looking for a dog, cat, puppy or kitten, I would highly recommend going to the Town of Islip and seeing for yourself how well the animals are treated there and that need homes. The Town of Islip also offers a Free Responsible Dog Ownership Program that anyone can attend to learn about training, dog behavior, health and well being, dog park etiquette and much more and has been offering this successful program for 3-years now. No other town in the state offers this program and class attendees who were often at their wits end about relinquish their dog until they took this class.
If you are interested in adopting a pet please contact the shelter at 631-224-5660 or you can visit the Town of Islip Shelter website at www.islipcares.com.
Don’t shop, adopt locally.
by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com
Top of the mornin’ to you – St. Patrick’s Day is upon on us – that means lots of wearin’ of the green, parades all across the Island and fun dog costumes. Wait, what? That’s right many dogs, cats and horses will be sporting the green in honor of the festive Irish season. This looks adorable and fun, but might not be so much fun for the pet. Make sure if you are heading out to Montauk on the 20th for the big St. Patty’s Day parade that: 1.) your pet doesn’t mind wearing clothing, bandana, sunglasses, etc. (some pets are not happy with clothing, don’t force it); 2.) that your pet has proper ID with both your home and mobile number on it and is attached to their collar; and 3.) that your pet is well behaved, and has been around large, very noisy crowds before; 4) and use a proper 6-foot leash (leather or cotton is best) to bring you dog with to the parade.
Parades are a lot of fun for us, but our four legged friends may not enjoy the experience at all. If you have never brought your dog before, maybe for safety’s sake, yours, your pets, and the crowd’s – leave that pup home. Dogs that are well adjusted, trained, and socialized may and can do just fine, but people tend to bring their dogs that aren’t or have never been exposed to what a parade can bring. Dogs can easily get frightened from bag pipes, fire truck sirens, drum core, people petting the dog without asking and could snap someone or some child, slip away and could get lost. (I have personally seen dogs completely freaking out and squirming in their owner’s arms at parades.)
With a parade almost every weekend for St. Patty’s Day across Long Island, if you insist on bringing your pet, pay attention to them. If you dog seems terrified or is pulling away, stay back from the crowd, or better yet, bring him home. Dog’s ears are more sensitive than human ears, so a blaring fire truck could send him running for the hills, or make the dog just plain uncomfortable. So enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day and think about leaving Buddy at home.
I had a Doberman that I brought with me almost everywhere, and she was well behaved and didn’t mind, crowds or noise, kids petting her, etc. at a parade (and happened to love, love, love horses!). But I always watched her body language and paid attention to her behavior while there. If she seemed off or uneasy (which was very rare for her being a well adjusted dog and not to mention Doberman), we left. The dog I have now is way too much of a scardy cat, and I would never subject him to the noise, crowds and other people’s unruly dogs. So I can enjoy the parade and festivities and he stays home and sleeps!