While a big backyard can be wonderful for excising our dogs, a lot of pet owners just don’t have that luxury. That’s something I learned when we downsized from two lots of running space to a teeny tiny yard.
Luckily, I was able to find several solutions that worked for us, as well as some that would also work for any pet owner who has more pent-up dog energy than grass square footage.
1. Leash Up and Head Out
It might be an obvious solution, but taking your dog to a place where they can exercise certainly solves the problem. If you don’t have access to a dog park or are unable to walk your dog for long distances, then consider a friend’s yard. We make use of a neighbor’s fenced-in backyard on occasion, so my Wuppy can get in some of the free running he’s used to.
2. Hire Help
Sometimes time is an added problem, along with little yard space. If you ever run into a situation where you just get too busy to take your dog out to walk or play, then consider hiring a dog walker or taking them to a doggie daycare. That way, your dog gets all the exercise they need and deserve, and you don’t have to feel guilty about being so busy. Plus, you get to spend your spare time snuggling with your pet!
When it comes to learning, dogs and cats process information in two different ways: “fluid intelligence” (smarts they are born with) and “crystallized intelligence” (how they process what they’ve learned). This is according to Stanley Coren, PhD, a psychology professor and author of How Dogs Think. We can’t do much about our pet’s fluid intelligence, but we can help them expand learned intelligence and boost their brainpower by introducing them to new things that keep their mind sharp.
Increase Their Vocabulary
Most of us talk to our pet daily, but what we don’t do is teach them what a word means. Training is the art of teaching a dog or cat to associate a command (word or phrase) with an action. Even when we aren’t consciously trying to teach, our pets pay attention to what we say and can learn word association on their own. If you tell your dog “go do your business” and then praise him for doing it, he learns what that phrase means. Our furry friends are comforted by our voice and pay more attention than you may realize. Never underestimate a dog or cat’s intelligence. They can learn if you take the time to teach.
Work on Training
Teaching your dog basic commands helps the bonding process because of the time, attention and positive reinforcement you give them. Learning is a healthy workout for the mind, and daily reinforcement of commands will help boost your pet’s memory. Some dogs may be stubborn, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach them. Cats may seem incapable of learning, but they just need a little more incentive and motivation. With patience, dedication and commitment, you can teach a dog or cat anything that is within their ability.
You won’t find the word “catification” in any printed dictionary, and it’s even too new to be found in online dictionaries. I’m not positive, but I believe the term was coined by Jackson Galaxy, noted cat behaviorist and star of the popular Animal Planet show, My Cat From Hell. If you watch that show, you’ve probably heard Jackson tell the clueless humans “you’ve got to catify your house!” Jackson has also had a Catification Column on his website for at least a year, so if he didn’t create the term – and the concept – he’s certainly had a hand in making sure cat owners everywhere are familiar with it.
So what is this catification thing, exactly? “Catification is about creating feline-friendly environments that cater to a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, rest, play, and own their space,” says Jackson. To catify your home means to provide adequate places that satisfy your kitty’s natural desires to either be up high if he’s a “tree dweller” or “down low” if he’s a bush dweller.
Jackson’s Catification Column is written by Kate Benjamin of hauspanther.com, an online magazine for design-conscious cat people. It includes lots of terrific examples from cat peeps who have created feline-friendly environments in their own home, like the ultra cool kitty staircase pictured at right.
Although catification might seem to be all about the cat, it actually provides benefits to the human occupants as well. A happy cat is less likely to engage in undesirable behaviors, like making mincemeat out of your couch or carpeting. Which means that you get to have nicer things in your home and don’t feel the need to apologize to guests for your ratty décor (unless you happen to love ratty décor, wherein you wouldn’t be apologetic anyway.)
I just wanted to let all my friends out there know that, so far, my on-line dating adventure has not scored for me. I did have an offer to appear on The Bachelor TV show though, and wanted to share my experience. For those who don’t mind sitting in the hair and makeup room at 5:00 a.m., it might be just right for you. As I’ve previously mentioned, hygiene is very important to me and I expect good grooming in others but even more so in myself. Would you believe that they wanted to powder my snout and rough up my ridge to give me what they considered a more fashionable punk style?
There were six lovely lady dogs on stage from which I was to choose. They didn’t give us much time to converse, so I had to decide based on grooming, breeding and which one gave more rise to my hackles. Ultimately, I flipped a coin to decide if it would be head or tail. The producers were somewhat perturbed when I bounded out of script and gave the lady I selected a CANIDAE dog treat instead of the usual corny, thorny rose. She very graciously and not so genteelly jumped up and grabbed for it immediately. Who knows, maybe this time I would get lucky! We made arrangements to meet and have dinner the following evening at a very fine establishment.
Since the place was somewhat formal, I arrived dressed in a top hat and, of course, my tail(s). The barking lot was full so I had to use the valet for my Range Rover but I wanted to get there early to have an opportunity to discuss whether red or white “whine” would go best with our CANIDAE and Chateaubriand. The sommelier patted me on the head and said he would take care of everything.
A few moments later, Poochilla Presley walked into the restaurant and all heads turned as her lovely nostrils flared seeking me out. There she was wearing a beautiful fur coat. Relax now…her fur was a fake. Yes, I said Presley, a distant member of the litter that produced the singer of my favorite song “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hounddog.” As we sat gazing longingly into each other’s eyes, they started to play “Puppy Love” and she suggested we dance. I had to beg off though, explaining that I was sorry but I had four left feet.
The heat of summer is upon us! My doggie, Bear, may be getting old but she still loves to romp in the back yard or simply lie under a tree and nap. Fresh air is good for dogs, and you may think that heat is better for your dog than cold but there are several ways in which both heat and sun can harm your dog.
Rule number one is to always make sure your dog has plenty of fresh, cool water and a shady or covered area to lie down and relax. We’ve discussed other summer safety tips for dogs here on the Responsible Pet Ownership blog, but let’s focus this time on sun safety.
You might assume that because your dog is covered in fur he’s unlikely to suffer any problems from the sun, but let me surprise you! There’s more to me than a sappy doggie mommy who has been trained to dole out the CANIDAE TidNips. I know some stuff!
Sunscreen can help prevent your dog’s nose and ears from getting sunburn. These are sensitive areas and are exposed even if there is hair on the dog’s ears. Keep in mind that light colored dogs are similar to folks with very fair skin — they will burn faster than dark dogs. Some dogs have thick coats while others have thinner coats. Poodles that have been freshly groomed have quite a bit of exposed skin for sunburn, so it is important to keep a close eye on them when they are playing in the sun.
There are many dog magazines available today, and the mix is interesting. Some are just traditional ink and paper publications with no online presence, some have traditional and online offerings and some are simply online magazines/blogs. So whichever way you like to receive your information, there’s a dog magazine for you.
In this lineup I’ve only included general dog magazines. If you’re looking for a breed-specific magazine, there are plenty to choose from. Here are five dog magazines that I think are worth reading.
A publication from the respected Best Friend’s Animal Society —the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary— this general-interest animal magazine is as impressive as the organization itself. The bi-monthly publication is filled with important information, tips and advice, heartwarming stories and beautiful photographs. This is a subscription-based magazine that you’ll receive for making a nominal donation to Best Friends. What I love about this magazine and this organization is that all of the proceeds from the publication support the animals at the Sanctuary. Further, it helps Best Friends’ mission to reach a time when there are no more homeless pets. That’s a mission I can stand behind.
With a strong online presence as well as a thriving traditional publication, Modern Dog magazine reaches the masses. They tout themselves as the best dog magazine ever and I know people who say the same thing. This truly is a lifestyle magazine with charming features, health and wellness articles and advice from veterinarians, dog trainers and behaviorists. There are DIY craft projects as well as reviews of the myriad dog-targeted products. They get a lot of celebrities and their dogs as cover models. The blog-style online magazine is a go-to for many animal lovers.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.