Category Archives: agility

The Advantages of Belonging to a Dog Club

By Linda Cole

Dog events are held around the country every year, and they are all sponsored by a dog club. Whether it’s an event in obedience, a conformation dog show, agility or field trials – it was organized by a dog club. Even if you have never participated in a sponsored event, joining a dog club is to your advantage and may even inspire you to enter your dog in one of their events.

Before joining any dog club, you must first decide what it is you want from one. You can find a variety of dog clubs, each with their own area of interest, and not all dog clubs are AKC sponsored. Clubs are for people and their dogs who share a love for a specific breed, or an enthusiasm for hiking, surfing, field trials, agility, obedience and many other interests. The one thing they all have in common is a love for dogs and an activity the members are interested in. Some dog clubs have a relaxed atmosphere while others are more demanding and want the dogs to be well behaved. It depends on the individual club, so you need to understand what’s expected before joining one. However, all clubs expect dogs to be socialized with other dogs and people.

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Agility Training Can Correct Your Dog’s Bad Behavior

By Linda Cole

I love watching dogs and their owners running agility training competitions. The dog and owner work as a team to run through tunnels, jump over hurdles, maneuver over a seesaw and weave through poles as well as completing other obstacles. Agility training is a sport for owners who want to add a little excitement and exercise in their life, and dogs love showing what they can do. If you have a dog that needs more exercise to keep him from being bored, or you have a dog with behavior problems, you might want to consider agility training to help correct your dog’s bad behavior.

Dogs are active by nature, but some need more action than others. A dog that is confined inside all day can develop inappropriate dog behavior that’s destructive or annoying to the neighbors, such as constantly barking or howling. Providing exercise is the best way to help a dog burn off excess energy. A quick walk in the morning before leaving him on his own all day works well for some dogs, but dogs who love to run and jump need more exercise to ward off inappropriate dog behavior. Agility training gives a dog a chance to do what he loves to do and learn something new which keeps his mind stimulated.

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Nine Ways to Make Your Pet Happy

By Julia Williams

Many people adore their pets (really, how could you NOT adore them?) and some even treat them “like children.” As a self-described Cat Lady myself, I see nothing wrong with that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I live for my cats, or even that I live for their happiness – and yet, I wouldn’t dream of having them in my life if I couldn’t do things that brought them joy. They may not grin wide enough to eat a banana sideways, but they have a pretty good life. Here are some ways you can make your pet happy.

Feed Them a High Quality Food

Good food is the cornerstone of great health, and a healthy pet is a happy pet. Like us, our pets are energetic and in high spirits when they’re healthy. “We are what we eat” may be a cliché, but it’s the truth. Junk food is just that! Premium quality pet food like CANIDAE and FELIDAE, on the other hand, provides your four-legged friend with all of the nutrients they need for optimum health.

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Feline Agility: a Fun New Sport for Cats

By Julia Williams

Nearly everyone is aware of dog agility, an exciting sport where sure-footed canines race through an obstacle course comprised of tunnels, weave poles, hoops, hurdles, teeter totters and more. It’s entertaining to watch as they maneuver up, over, through and around the obstacles with lightning fast speed and “dogged” determination. Can you imagine cats being trained to run such a course?

Many people can’t, because they think cats are haughty creatures who would never do anything on command, let along jump through hoops or over barriers. I can picture it though, because I’ve seen entire troupes of cats perform all sorts of tricks at cat shows, on television and in youtube videos. I’ve also looked into training cats and have written about it for this blog. Knowing what I know, that cats are definitely trainable, feline agility competitions are not nearly as farfetched as they might seem.

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The Best Dogs for Agility Training and Trials

By Anna Lee

I am sure you’ve seen those dogs on TV, the little lightning bolts that seem to streak across the ground and fly through the air like the wind. I enjoy watching them, and it is amazing how they can move at such speeds and be so accurate! I wish the sport of Dog Agility was on TV more often because it is fascinating.

In Agility events the dogs must complete an obstacle course, which is set up in a large outdoor area. The course has many components to it. Some of the aspects of the course are: the sea saw, tunnels, dog walk, pause (not paws!) table, pause box, jumps, A-frame and weave polls. The weave polls fascinate me the most. Weave polls are a series of poles stuck in the ground, in a line maybe 1 foot apart. The dog works its way through the poles weaving in and out. That is just one small segment of the agility trials, but accuracy and speed are the keys. The course is timed, and if the dog misses an aspect or goes out of bounds, time penalties are added to the score. The dog with the shortest time wins and is proclaimed the champion!

The sport of Dog Agility requires a sure footed and speedy dog with determination and a will to compete. Not all dogs are physically able to run the course due to their size, their breed characteristics and their ability to listen to and follow commands. Three breeds that rise to the top in Agility Trials are:

The Border Collie – This dog was bred to gather and control sheep. He stares down his flock with an intense eye. The Border Collie has unlimited energy and stamina. This medium size dog weighs approximately 30-45 pounds and stands approximately 18-22 inches high at the shoulder, and can live to be 15 years old. I have several friends with Border Collies and they are amazing to watch under normal circumstances.

The Shetland Sheepdog – This dog was bred to stand guard for farmers. He kept birds and hungry sheep from the gardens. They make excellent family pets and they are superstars in dog sports. They only weight about 20 pounds, are 13-16 inches at the shoulder, and can live to be 15 year old.

The Australian Shepherd – This breed originated in the western United States, not Australia, and was bred to herd livestock. This is another great family dog that is full of energy. The Australian Shepherd is 18-23 inches at the shoulder, can weigh 40-65 pounds, and live about 15 years.

If you think you might be interested in Agility Trials and want to get a puppy and start training them, there is a lot of information online regarding this sport. You can start agility training while your puppy is still young. There are many good books and videos available as well. It is important to get proper guidance so that your dog or puppy does not get injured. The website Agility Training for Dogs (www.agilitytrainingfordogs. com) has a lot of very helpful information and is a good place to start.

There are several dog breeds involved in Agility Trials other than the three breeds mentioned above. As to what type of dogs are best suited for agility training, ask yourself: Is your dog the star of the dog park? Can your dog move like a speeding bullet? Can he jump like a jackrabbit? If the answer is yes to those questions, then maybe he should be given a chance at Agility Training and Trials.

For agility training you would not choose a Great Dane or a Mastiff; they are too big and slow moving. You also would not want to use a Dachshund or Yorkie as their legs are much too short. They are lovable dogs, but not quite right for this particular sport! It is important to have your dog checked out thoroughly by your vet first, as you do not want to put undue stress on your pet.

Read, learn, research, ask questions, watch videos, and attend Agility Trials – learn as much as you can before you get involved because it requires a great deal of time and dedication. Six to nine months of solid agility training is necessary before a dog can compete. This sport requires dedication from the dog as well as the owner. If you cannot invest the time required, it may be best for you to leave the agility training and trials to others.

As for Abby, my 11-1/2 year old Lab, we will sit on the sofa and watch the Agility Trials on TV together. The fact that she can still jump on up the sofa means she is agile enough for me!

Read more articles by Anna Lee

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Meet the Newest RPO Blogger: Lexi the Pet-Crazy Pet Writer

Hello pet lovers and CANIDAE food fans!

Since you’re reading my first post to this blog, you’re probably as crazy about dogs and cats as I am. Not only do I live with pets, I earn my living by writing about them. What better subject than talking about or helping our canine and feline companions?

My love affair with animals started at the age of eight when I coaxed the neighbor’s kitten out of their yard and into my parent’s house. Because the kitten wasn’t well taken care of, a visiting relative convinced my mother to let me keep the cat. “Princess” lived to be 19.

In the years that followed I have loved and lived with many dogs and cats, and horses (but not in the house!). My husband and I have volunteered with rescue groups, shown in AKC conformation, participated in obedience and agility, and taken our dogs on therapy visits. Today, we have three dogs and six cats, including rescues, Elkhounds, Eskies, and Ragdolls.

Although I’ve been working in graphic arts and publishing for more years than I like to acknowledge, I didn’t start pet writing until later in my career. One day while writing a community news column for a local paper, there was no news to cover. Instead, I wrote a story about my dogs. It was a hit, drawing requests for more pet columns, and my pet writing career took off from there.

I’ve published a couple books, and had articles in most of the major pet publications, received multiple awards, and spoken to groups about pet care, the human-animal bond and our role as stewards of these amazing creatures.

My work is writing, but my life is about animals. In the weeks to come, I hope to offer you interesting, educating, uplifting and entertaining words here about our pets and the love and concern we share for them. Let me know what you’d like to see! And in the meantime, below is one of my first columns about why I write about pets.

Looking forward to blogging for you, from my pack to yours,

All I Do

All I do is take care of dogs and cats, and write, about dogs and cats mostly. I work at home, because I’m a writer, and, because I have several pets, or they have me, I’m not sure which. Another thing about which I’m uncertain is which came first – the dogs and cats, or the writing that evolved into writing about dogs and cats. Either way, my hobby is my profession and my profession is my hobby. That’s my life and I can’t get away from who and what I am.

In the mind of a dog, little events are met with great emotion. On the other side of this character coin is that cats meet great events with little emotion. Maybe this is because in the mind of a dog and particularly a cat, an event focusing on human drama is not considered to be a great event. But even outstanding incidents revolving around one of the dogs are still met by members of our pack with a nonchalant attitude.

One of our dogs was awarded Best-in-Show Puppy at the age of six months. For us, the win was a tremendous thrill. We jumped and screamed and hugged the strangers surrounding us, acting rather like our dogs when someone comes to visit. Our pup’s response was to look at us as if to say, “Well, now that this silliness is over let’s go home and eat with the rest of the pack.”

To our pets, a sense of community is of the utmost importance. This greater fellowship encompasses the little, daily necessities of life, including urination, which is an activity they seem to feel is more enjoyable when done together.

I turn to my personal pet community for relief when I need a break from the tedium of my nevertheless gratifying work. I walk away from the keyboard and we play a game of catch-the-ball-tag-you’re-it-chase-the-fuzzy-mouse-hide-’n-go-seek. Afterwards they take a nap and I return to work.

Somehow, I think the dogs and cats are the ones keeping their priorities in the proper perspective. At least I’ve learned from them not to leap out of bed and race to retrieve e-mail. Instead, I snuggle with as many dogs and cats as can fit on the bed with me. The main problem is that with nine animals, two arms are not enough to pet them all as much as they – or I – would like. Except for the fur I later have to pick out of my coffee beans, it’s a perfect way to start the day in this hurry-up, hectic world.

I have to agree with the four-legged members of my family, that life’s greatest emotional rewards are found in little, everyday events. When I behold the sight of my beloved dogs and cats, my heart is filled with joy, even if only for a moment.

For a short while there are no bills, no deadlines. There is no stress, no anger, no sorrow. My sins are washed clean by the gentle lapping of a dog’s tongue on my cheek or the purr of a cat in my ear. Each lick, each head-butt is a blessing, the moment inviolate, like communion.

Ah, the amazing grace of animals; I once was lost and now am found, by living for, writing about and loving my pack of pets.

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.