Archive for the ‘dog walk’ Category

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14 Apr 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Hiking with your dog, Blydenburgh

The next park in our series of dog friendly parks throughout LI, as part of the 250 Challenge, we bring you Blydenburgh County Park in Hauppauge.  While many people may have heard of this park or past by it on their way to Suffolk County office buildings – most have yet to venture into the park itself.  This is one of my favorite places to take my dog for a good 6 – 7-mile hike through the woods.  The full hike around Stump Pond takes about 2 or 2.5 hours depending on which path you take and where you entered the park.  There are skinny, very hilly trails right along side the “pond” for a large part of the hike or a wider less hilly trail that is quite sandy due to the horses that frequent the park on a daily basis. Long Island is still horse country, if you didn’t know!   Recently we hiked there on a busy Saturday and I think we passed maybe 3 or 4 other people with dogs, on leashes, at most.  The reason the trails are not over run with dogs, like some of the other Suffolk County Parks is because of the large enclosed dog run that is there.

A few years ago the Long Island Dog Owners Group (LI-Dog) lobbied to get more dog runs built on Suffolk County land, and one of those great dog runs is located right inside of Blydenburgh Park.  In my opinion this has made a huge difference of a lot less off leash dogs running in the trails (and safer for horses, hikers and dog walkers alike).  Now the vast majority of people that want their dogs to run off leash go into the dog run.  It is a nice size too and there is a large dog and small dog area separated by fences.  There is also a water pump near by and open bathrooms too.  (The bathrooms by the row boats are not open until Memorial Day weekend I believe).  I was pleasantly surprised to learn from many dog owners at the dog run that they have had really nice experiences, and come back often to it.  When I stopped by there must have been like 50+ dogs in there, but it’s large enough that there is plenty of room for the dogs to run around and it didn’t look crowded.  (As a quick tip, you should always watch your dog’s body language and make sure he is having fun and not feeling overwhelmed by other dogs in the dog run.)

So if you are looking for a gem of a place to hike with your dog or to meet other dog owners Blydenburgh is the spot – centrally located on Long Island and very easy to get to. Why not try a different park to walk your dog, he will thank you!  You should bring with you water for you and your dog while hiking and be sure to check for ticks afterwards.  For directions and more information about Blydenburgh click here.  See below for pictures.

Max is a veteran hiker at Blydenburgh - on one of the many little bridges on the trail.

Horses walking by the Grist Mill.

Dog run

Coco enjoying her first hike at Blydenburgh

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03 Apr 11

By Nancy E. Hassel,

Dog Friendly Trails in Nassau?

In Nassau County there are not too many parks or hiking paths that you can legally walk your dog – you cannot go to county parks with them, most town and village parks have signs stating, ‘No Dogs Allowed’ so what is a dog owner to do?  Most travel to Suffolk County Parks where all our dog parks are dog friendly, leashed of course, or they go to fenced in dog runs in Nassau – which in my opinion they are not that big in size.  While in Nassau, there are some spots that are not too well known or private beaches that if you live there, you can bring your dog too – as a Suffolk County resident I always felt bad for Nassau dog owning residents not having too many options.

One question I have gotten from Nassau Dog owners throughout the years is “where can we hike or walk our dogs in Nassau?” I would tell them that I didn’t know of any dog friendly hiking trails or parks that were not privately owned.  In Long Beach, at Nickerson’s beach you used to be able to let your dog run free on the beach from around October until April or May – but I have heard that is no longer the case.  There is a dog run there, but it is pretty small.

I was happy to find out recently that there is actually an area where you can bring your dog, legally, on a leash and go hiking through the woods and grounds there – many Nassau residents may know about it, but I know all do not, as I still get the question above from them.  Where is this wonderful place? Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, NY.  Sagamore Hill is deep in US history as it was once the home of President Teddy Roosevelt  – a big time dog lover himself, when the property was donated to the National Park Service it was made clear that the Roosevelt family made sure that pets were always welcomed on the 83-acre site.  Dogs must be leashed on a 6-foot leash at all times and not allowed in buildings (unless it is a service dog)  – this is after all a National Historic Site and part of the National Park Service.  It is also a museum too – so please respect that and click here for all information and rules regarding pets.  The Theodore Roosevelt Association acquired the Sagamore Hill property in 1950, and opened the house to the public in 1953 and then donated it to the National Park Service ten years later.

If you want a good, hilly, kick your butt hike, head too the woods to the left of the parking lot, and there is a 3/4 mile loop,  (nature trail), through the woods that leads down to the bay beach.  The loop is quite hilly, so doing that a few times will definitely wear you and your dog out.  On our visit there last week, we found the people that work there and visitors to be all very friendly and happy to see our dogs there.   So if you want a unique place to walk your dog, and if you are taking part of the 250 Challenge you will definitely want to check this place out.

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29 Mar 11

The 250-Challenge ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

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.

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23 Mar 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

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 dogASK! 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.

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19 Jan 11

Pet Sitters & Blizzards ...

by Robyn Elman, President of In Home Pet Services, Inc.

What do Pet Sitters do in a Blizzard?

This has been a rough winter so far with two big storms a rain and ice storm and more snow forecasted to hit our area again.  They mayor says to stay off the roads. The schools are all closed and kids get to stay home with their parents or people are away on vacations. So what is a pet sitter to do?

When pet sitters have clients that are away on vacation they, and more importantly their pets, are depending on the sitter to come for their care. Dogs like Sophie the beagle still has to go outside to do her business, get feed, fresh water, love and attention, and cats like Bella needs her daily medications, litter changed, etc.

Dedicated professional pet sitters go with shovels in their cars to each appointment, and if the roads are not plowed they take the train or bus; and if that fails – as in the last blizzard in New York when there was no public transportation – they walked!   But pet owners who are hiring pet sitters should also take into consideration the following tips to ensure safety for their pets and their pet sitters:

If you are away during the winter and are relying on a pet sitter, you can make things safer for them, ensuring your pet can get their care.

  • Have someone “pre-hired” to shovel in case it snows. Have them shovel your driveway with a path to the road as well as the sidewalk in front of the house, and a path to the door.
  • Leave pet safe salt containers for the people shoveling your walk and driveways (with directions to only use that type of salt) – and leave an extra container or two inside incase the pet sitter needs to add additional salt to ice or snow.
  • Always have the numbers to your power company and/or heating company displayed for the sitter to call if there is an outage.
  • If there is a power outage, or no heat at your home, make sure you have arrangements with your pet sitter so that they can take the dog, cat or bird home with them to board in case of a no heat emergency.
  • Extra leashes, collars, dog or cat carrier is great to have available in case the sitter does have to take the pet with them.
  • Have the number to the nearest 24-hour vet emergency hospital displayed as well.
  • Keep a shovel handy for your sitter to maintain the paths.
  • If you have a regularly scheduled dog walker and you are staying home from work – remember to call them to cancel.
  • Make sure you have enough pet food, litter, pet medication and bottled water in case you’re stuck and can’t get back on your schedule day due to weather.

Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers truly work through rain, and snow, day and night. Planning ahead during the winter will make the care of your pet a little easier for your sitter to stay safe while caring for your pet.  The tips above will make a big difference in the life of your pet and pet sitter during another blizzard.

Dangerous roadways are tough enough on pet sitters.

Don't leave it up to your pet sitter to shovel your house out.