Boarding – Considering your Outdoor Environment – By Ben Kersen

Considering your Outdoor Dog Environment –  By Ben Kersen 

Wondering where the best place is to position your outdoor dog pen? Based on my own experience building outdoor pens for Ben Kersen and the Wonderdogs doggy day care in Victoria, sun, shade and sight lines are factors you will definitely want to consider when designing your own facility.

Video filmed on location at Ben Kersen and the Wonderdogs, 1639 Charlton Rd., Victoria, BC

Until Next Time, 

Ben Kersen

Ben Kersen and the Wonderdogs

http://www.wonderdogs.ca

Creating a Killer? Part II

Part II – The Drawbacks to Fetch

Almost everyone who has dogs will agree that toys are a great reinforcer when working and playing with your dog. Where ideas split is when it comes to how to use said toys. You have basically two options (and of course many variants of each). They are: throw the toy or play with the toy, or more commonly known as: fetch or tug-o-war. As I noted in my earlier post, a lot of people have the idea that tug-o-war is bad so that leaves fetch. And playing only fetch leaves a lot to be desired.

Now don’t get me wrong, retrieving can be great! Most would agree that it’s good exercise for your dog with little effort on your part. You can drink your coffee or text while mindlessly playing with your dog. Great, right?

Not so much actually.

And here’s why.

The fact that you can multitask while “playing” with your dog is a problem. Is it better than your dog sitting at home bored all day? Absolutely. Does it do anything to build the relationship between you and your dog? Nope.

Now before all you chuck-it fanatics jump down my throat, I must clarify and say that if played correctly (with total engagement and clear rules – more to to come on that later perhaps), retrieving can certainly be used as a supplement to building good feelings between owner and dog. The sad fact is though, that 90% of people are not playing it correctly and aren’t using it in a supplement sense. For a lot of dogs, heading to the field to chase and return the ball to it’s ball dispenser (yes, that means you!) is the most excitement they will get all day. Yes, they will learn to love it (obsess over it even) but it’s not because they love the time with their owner. It’s because it’s all they have.   They get their enjoyment chasing and catching the ball.  This has pretty much nothing to do with who throws it.  Ever heard someone say (with chuck-it in hand) “My dog is great at the park, he is glued to me.” and then a moment later “Unless he sees someone else with a chuck-it or ball, then he’s gone and doesn’t look back”. This should tell us something!

Next blog: the power of personal play AKA tug-o-war.

Heather

Throwing the ball for your dog

While having a fetch session with your dog is good for exercise, that is all it is good for!

Creating a Killer?

The Tug-o-War Myth Part 1

If you own a dog you have probably heard the popular idea that playing tug-o-war with your dog will turn him into a savage, blood thirsty beast that wants to control, dominate and even hurt you.  This idea stems from the thought that because tug-o-war is fundamentally a game of muscle versus muscle if the dog “wins” he will think he is stronger than you. Ideas of being the leader in your relationship will develop and possessiveness and aggression are close behind… it will only be a matter of time before Fluffy becomes Cujo.

I’m here to tell you that is untrue.

And really quite ridiculous.

In fact in my experience tug-o-war, when played properly, is one the best games you can play with your dog.  Over the next few blogs I will explain why.

Heather

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Off-Leash Dog Parks: Part II – A Caution to Owners

Fall 2012 057I have found off-leash dog parks a great way to meet like minded individuals who are only more than happy to share their passion for dogs. If you are new to town or just looking to meet some new people your local dog park is a great place to do it. Not only does your dog get to meet new friends but so do you! I have met lots of people and lots of dogs, some of whom have become friends and even clients, an added bonus.

Meeting and chatting with people at the dog park is great BUT you still have to pay attention to your dog! Too often I have observed large groups of people chatting away and no one is paying attention to what their dogs are doing. This can be dangerous, and I caution all off-leash dog park users to ALWAYS watch your dog and any dog within close proximity to your own.  Now I must clarify that this is not all people at the park and I have met many responsible dog owners who do indeed pay attention to what their dog is doing, who they are playing with, and always keep an eye open for potential mishaps. Unfortunately, I have seen an awful lot of the other side too.

I think some dog owners tend to assume that every dog at the park will love each other and romp and play happily ever after. This is not so, wish it were, but no dice. We don’t expect each other to like everyone we meet and we can’t expect our dogs to either.  Like people, dogs vary when it comes to personality, likes and dislikes, quirks, triggers etc…  . Therefore, when at the park we should expect the occasional personality clash. Prevention is key and the onus falls on us as owners to do our part and pay attention. More specifically, here are a few things to consider when at the park:  your dog’s body language, the body language of all dogs in a pack, the arrival of new dogs entering an established pack, dog’s on leash (FYI – the off-leash dog park is NOT the exclusive domain of off-leash dogs), small furry creatures our dog’s may decide to bolt after, parking lots (NOT a play area), foreign objects on the field that our dogs may ingest. I could go on and on and on and on and on, and on…  but I won’t, lol. There are many unfortunate situations that can arise due to negligence, but I trust that most of us can probably ascertain the consequences without me going into detail.

This is probably the only situation where I think that people SHOULD treat their dogs like they are children. You would never take a small child to a park and turn your back on them, and as parents we are always watching to ensure that are children are behaving appropriately towards their playmates and are quick to intervene if we see are child being bullied or being the bully. We don’t let our children run into parking lots and heaven forbid they try and eat something they found on the ground, yikes!!  And, yes, I have even seen children on leash (bolters I assume ;)). The point is that as parents we are always diligent, and the goal is to give our children the confidence to explore the world and make new friends while learning to behave in a safe and appropriate manner. Why not afford the same care and attention to our dogs?

In any case, what I am getting at is very simple and easy to do. So I encourage all dog owners who choose to frequent off-leash parks to keep at it, have fun and mingle away, but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, KEEP YOUR EYES ON YOUR DOG!

Just a thought,

Anthea