Category Archives: dog sports

An Interview with Hallie, the Blind Dog that Paints

Hallie 3By Langley Cornwell

I am a big fan of Hallie, the blind dog that paints, and so delighted she agreed to an interview. I am certain you’ll enjoy getting to know this very special (and talented!) little dog.

How did you meet your mom?

One night when I was about 10 months old, my people took me and my sister and brother to an animal shelter and locked us in the night drop-off kennel. We were scared in there. One of the shelter employees called my soon-to-be Mom because she had lost her other longhaired dachshund girl four years earlier and was still so broken hearted she didn’t have another dog-child. They asked her if she would foster the three of us so we wouldn’t have to stay in the shelter while we waited for new homes. So she did and she found homes for us (because she was still vowing to not get a dog again herself) but after she took my brother and sister to their new homes, she just couldn’t let me go, so she kept me.  And the funny thing is, I knew from the second we laid eyes on each other that I would be staying with her. And on some level, I think she knew it too. I promised her I’d take good care of her, and I have ever since.

What got you interested in painting?

My Mom and I always did fun things and we trained all the time. To me it was a big game and I loved it. I won obedience titles and learned a lot of tricks. When I was 10 years old, I had earned most of my titles so we didn’t go to shows as often. Mom taught me more tricks so I would still have something fun to learn. She is an artist also (I think she gets it from me) so one winter day when it was cold out and I was bored, she got the idea to see if I wanted to learn how to paint too. I surprised her by learning very fast and doing my first painting within a few weeks. I really got into it! And the better the treat involved…the faster I painted!

Do you have a favorite painting?

I am most proud of my first painting. My Mom has it framed on the wall. She has a video of me painting it. My style was different then, when I could still see. You can watch the video here.
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Simple Mistakes We Make When Exercising a Dog

By Linda Cole

We know it’s important to keep our dogs active to help prevent obesity and keep them healthy in body and spirit. Most dogs are willing partners when you want to go hiking, biking, jogging or walking, or participate in a fun sport like dock diving, Disc Dog, agility or flyball. The last thing any responsible pet owner wants to do is put their dog at risk for injury, but without realizing it we can be guilty of doing just that.

Too much exercise with no conditioning 

Most dogs have an athletic side. They love to run, play, jump and race around as fast as they can. Because they want to be with us, preferably everywhere we go, we can easily forget that a dog may not be ready for a five mile run or an afternoon of hiking. Like us, dogs need conditioning and time to build up muscles and stamina. They are as susceptible to soft tissue injuries as we are, and can pull a tendon or get a sprain. Many dogs do enjoy sports, but just like any human athlete-in-training, it’s important to start slow and take the time needed to gradually get into shape for any physical activity.

Make sure your dog can keep up with you, and you can keep up with him. A Chihuahua isn’t a good running partner, and a Greyhound may leave you in his dust. If your dog isn’t on equal terms with you as far as his fitness goes, a walk around the block may be enough exercise for him. If your dog has more energy than you do, play with him in the backyard, then take him for a walk or run.

Forgetting how weather can affect a dog 

The pads of a dog’s feet act like shock absorbers to cushion the feet and protect them when walking on hot and cold surfaces. But the pads can be burned by walking on a hot surface like asphalt, concrete or metal. Check your pet’s paw pads for cuts, puncture wounds, burrs or small rocks, and keep their pads healthy by making sure they are free of injuries.

Know the signs of heat stroke, hyperthermia and hypothermia, and pay attention to how well your dog tolerates different weather conditions. Hydration is important for both of you – always have fresh water available for you and your dog when exercising. Don’t force your pet to continue exercising if he’s showing signs of fatigue. You may be ready to go another mile, but your dog may not be.

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Have You Tried Dog Scootering?

By Tamara McRill

Dog scootering could be the perfect canine sport for those of us who are envious of the athletic coolness of mushing, but just aren’t down with playing outdoors in frigid temps.

Not being the most graceful individual on the planet, I was a little leery of flying behind my chocolate Labrador, Wuppy, on some sort of tiny Razor scooter. Besides that, not many people over the age of nine look too hip on one of those contraptions. Turns out that’s not the type of scooter used at all! What is used is a more sturdy, unmotorized scooter with mountain bike-like tires, brakes and sometimes front shocks.

Now that’s the kind of quasi-retro conveyance I can dig. It’s also the one I’m the least likely to go careening off of, potentially injuring both myself and my precious dog.

The sport of dog scootering does use some of the same equipment as dog sledding, namely the harness. A gangline attaches the harness to the scooter. You can even use more than one dog, which is actually recommended if your pooch weighs less than 30 pounds.

You can teach your dog the same commands used in mushing, but I probably won’t. I have the utmost confidence in my dog’s ability to learn those, but not so much in myself. If I’m about to slam into a building or ongoing traffic, I know it’s going to be English directions tumbling out of my mouth. Of course we’ll have all common commands, like “whoa” and “leave it” down first.

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Canicross – Head Cross Country with Man’s Best Friend!

By Suzanne Alicie

I know that our lovely editor Julia only assigned this title to me because I’m known to want to try the things I write about. Well, surprise! I’m not giving Canicross a shot… although for an athletic person and a well behaved dog it could be a fun activity. My dog Bear has ‘ADD of the nose’ and just a normal walk around the block means me racing along behind her frantically as she runs back and forth following scents. Harness or not, I definitely won’t be trying Canicross with her!

Canicross is the sport of harnessing your dog and running or walking cross country. It’s similar to the sport of Skijoring which I’ve thoroughly explored here before. How is Canicross different, you may wonder, from simply taking a walk? Consider the actual idea of cross country walking or running – it’s a test of your endurance and stamina, strength and coordination to be able to travel long distances. Now think about heading up a large hill while you’re walking or running cross country. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a partner harnessed in front of you to give you a little bit of a pull?

Harnessing your dog for Canicross is much like harnessing him to a sled for pulling power. When you run or walk cross country with your dog you have a partner, a bit of extra strength. It also strengthens your bond with your dog to learn to work together as a team to get where you are going. Canicross does require that your dog learns to keep tension on the line while traveling at a speed that is comfortable for you. Your dog needs to be accustomed to a halter and to having some weight on the harness in order to learn the restraint and pace of Canicross.

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CANIDAE Sponsored Dog Performs on Canada’s Got Talent!

Photo by Kris Svela

By Julia Williams

It’s a given that all of the dogs and cats CANIDAE sponsors are talented; after all, they’re called Special Achievers for a reason. However, a 7-year old Pyrenean Shepherd named Rally is so good at freestyle flying disc that he (with his owner/handler Angela Ewtushik) recently got to show off his mad skills on Canada’s Got Talent, and made it to the Semi-Finals!

CANIDAE Sales Manager Caroline Pettersen said, “Although Angela and Rally didn’t win a place in the finals, they won a place in the hearts of Canadians. Angela and Rally went on a journey that most of us just dream about. We are very proud of Angela for being as brave as she was and putting herself out there the way she did. With an original desire to show people how to have fun with their dog…I believe she certainly made that impact on many.”

Indeed she did. In her CGT blog, Angela wrote “Eight months ago Rally and I waited in a hallway in the Rogers Centre for our turn to showcase our talent. I never thought that hallway would lead to several appearances on national TV and a huge fan base of Rally supporters from across Canada. This hit me minutes before the show. As the cameras were taping the audience, I gasped at the number of ‘Rally’ signs and the people cheering for him, many of whom I didn’t know. I had to turn away to find a makeup person to wipe my tears!”

I caught up with Angela recently to ask her more about this fun experience.

How did your act come to be? 
I was looking for an outlet for Rally’s energy. I saw some videos of canine freestyle disc and thought it would be something fun to try!

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Every Dog Has Potential for Greatness

By Linda Cole

Inside every dog, there’s a potential for greatness, and all it takes to let your dog shine is to find what he loves to do, what his passion is. Dogs are a reflection of us and when you take the time to learn who your pet is, you might be surprised by what you find in his heart and yours.

‘Great’ has different meanings in the dictionary, according to how the word is used in a sentence. In this case, great (greatness) means outstanding, superior in character, important, noble or distinguished. Each of those words, in my view, aptly describes our canine friends. All dogs have a potential to achieve greatness when they are shown respect and given guidance to find their true calling.

My dogs will never star in a movie or win Best in Show. None of them will ever take first place in dock diving or fly through the air to catch a Frisbee in front of an adoring crowd. However, each one has achieved greatness simply by being. They aren’t perfect, and they try my patience at times. They love to join in and howl with the neighbor’s dogs when a siren is wailing. They bark at neighborhood cats and go crazy when a squirrel is in sight. But they’re all exceptional, in my eyes, and when one snuggles next to me and rests their head on my lap or against my chest and looks at me with loving eyes – that is greatness to me.

Not every dog is cut out to be a show dog or excel in agility. Not every dog has the drive or intensity to herd sheep or sniff out someone lost in the wilderness. A potential for greatness has nothing to do with competing in dog sports, being a therapy dog, or any other job we give to dogs. However, when you teach a dog how to weave through poles or catch a flying disc, you give him an opportunity to discover and learn something he could excel in.

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