Safety and Your Dog

Safety and Your Wonderdog (or perhaps not so much of a Wonderdog!):
By Ben Kersen

“Ben, be careful.” “Ben, don’t fall dear.” “Ben, look out for the…” These were the constant reminders during my childhood from Mrs. Kersen, my dear mother. Despite her best intentions, I managed to acquire my share of scraped knees and bumped foreheads.

As doggie parents, we are responsible for our four-legged children’s safety. Speaking of children, could you imagine leaving a young toddler to play near traffic without supervision? If you love your dog, and want to enjoy its company to a ripe old age, I would encourage you to take the same precautions as you would for a baby and more—dogs are MUCH faster!! Since opening my business (Ben Kersen and the Wonderdogs) 30 years ago, I have seen some close calls… don’t let this be you!

All the good nutrition, training, and your loving care can be destroyed instantly by an accident if your dog isn’t safety trained. The next few blog posts (which were taken from my previous newsletter, Ben Kersen and the Wonderdogs News & Tips) will offer general suggestions, but should not be used instead of going for active training with a qualified trainer.  For more info on training, visit my website www.wonderdogs.ca.

Until Next Time,
Ben Kersen
Ben Kersen & the Wonderdogs
Victoria, BC

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!

Graduates Making A Difference – Niqi Lalana’s Upcoming Fundraising Event

Please check out this recent update from graduate Niqi Lalana. She is working hard to make a difference and has an upcoming fundraising event to help support her cause.

Until Next Time,

Ben

www.wonderdogs.ca

 

Dear Wonderdog Graduates,

Congratulations on your new careers in the dog industry. I hope you are all working towards or achieving amazing success! After graduating from PTP I became involved in training and rehabilitating pitbulls that were rescued from an illegal fighting ring, as well as street dogs in the Philippines. Many, if not all of these dogs were in poor physical condition and are in need of proper nutrition and medical care.

On January 20th at 7pm, I will be holding a fundraiser at Subeez Cafe in Vanocuver. Admission is $25 and will include dinner and a drink, live entertainment from talented dancers, comedians, and musicians including Juno Award winner Elaine L’il Bit Shepherd. We will also have a 50/50 draw, a silent auction with amazing items, and door prizes. All the funds that are raised at this event will go towards food, medical supplies and care, training equipment, shelter improvements, and animal supplies for the rescued dogs and cats. Tickets can be purchased in advance through me or at Subeez, or can be purchased at the door upon entrance.

I would like to invite you to not only attend this event, but to donate products or services for the silent auction. As a professional in the dog industry, you can donate products to expose your business which we will promote at the event, or services that can turn into more business and repeat clients. Gift certificates are a great idea! There will be many dog lovers and dog owners, so remember to bring your business cards, as this is a great opportunity for networking. There will also be other business owners in the dog industry that can be beneficial to meet. All donations must be ready by Friday the 18th in order to prepare them for the event. If you require pick up, or have any questions, please contact me at niqidulcinea@gmail.com or 778-893-7874.

Thank you for taking the time to review and support this cause. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and hope to see you on Sunday!

Sincerely,

Niqi Lalana

Off-Leash Dog Parks – Part I

To Play or Not to Play?

In my opinion off-leash dog parks are not the best choice for toy play. Your dog may love their Frisbee or ball and both are excellent options to exercise your dog, however, the off-leash dog park is not the best place to bring out your bag of toys.

Even if your dog does not have guarding issues and is more then happy to share toys, other dogs may not. I have seen more than one dog fight break out over sticks, frisbees and the infamous orange Chuck it balls and frankly the risk is not worth it. The dogs on the field may be great playing and wrestling with other dogs and show no signs of aggression until….. toss a loose ball into the mix and all hell breaks loose. Even if you are lucky enough to be on the field with dogs that don’t have guarding issues there are always plenty of ball thieves at the park (Boomer is guilty as charged!) and you may find yourself chasing said thieves all over the field more then playing with your own dog.

Also worth mentioning, it has been my observation that many dogs don’t show any interest in socializing with other dogs when a toy is in their field of vision. So, if you head to the park in hopes to help socialize your dog and romp around with some doggie friends, your efforts may be foiled if you have a toy out on the field.

Right about now you might be thinking, why not bring my toys to the park?  It’s a public park and I can use it as I see fit. Yes, it is a public park and by definition, YOU are not  the only person using it. As members of the public it is our responsibility to use it in a respectful manner that is safe for all.

Personally, I like to leave the ball in the truck or in my jacket and will have a toss if dog friends are few and far between BUT  if the dog park is teeming with dogs , the toys go away. It is a personal pet peeve of mine to find someone throwing toys right through a pack of playing dogs; it’s just an accident waiting to happen. Unless you are fortunate enough to know all the dogs and owners well enough to ensure you won’t have an issue, use your judgement, play it safe, and find a quiet end of the park to pull out your toys or just keep the toys under wraps.

Just a thought,

Anthea

Off Leash Dog Parks – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The off leash dog park concept has grown in popularity over the past decade.  With an increase in the call to responsible dog ownership, the importance of socialization and conditioning to your dogs overall well being, and the increase in urban development and subsequent decrease in green space, the off leash dog park can be an excellent resource to dog enthusiasts.

I have frequented many off leash dog parks and as much as they can be an excellent way to exercise and socialize your dog, I have also observed many downfalls to this concept. I am by no means saying that dog parks are bad, I have enjoyed many hours watching my dog ripping around with his new found friends and overall I would say my experience has been positive. That being said, there are definite cons to this type of environment, all preventable in my opinion, and it is up to us as responsible dog owners to ensure that ALL patrons of the off leash dog park, two and four legged alike, are doing our part to provide a safe and positive environment for all.

My top three pet peeves when at the Dog Park: Owners (some, not all!), Toys, and Doggie Doo.

Stay Tuned,

Anthea

Country Living – Oh Deer!

Trying to keep the deer out? Proper fencing will be your #1 defense against the deer in rural Victoria.  Check out what we have been working on to keep the deer off the property and out of the garden.

Until Next Time, 

Ben