By Linda Cole
If there’s one thing all dogs love to do, it’s sniffing out interesting scents. K9 Nose Work is a dog sport that evolved from the drug detection community. It’s an entertaining way to give your pet exercise and mental stimulation as he searches out a variety of scents. From a dog’s point of view, anything that gets his nose wiggling is fun. K9 Nose Work is also a good activity to do at home when your dog is bored.
One can’t help but wonder when watching a dog, what sort of scent has captured his attention. The canine nose is so amazing it can pick up scents we will never be able to smell. My dogs are always pointing their nose to the sky, wiggling their nose excitedly as scents drift by in the wind. Some smells are more interesting than others, which can be seen in their body language.
The creators of K9 Nose Work are professional trainers and certified handlers of detection dogs. The idea came from observing the satisfaction of canines trained to do search and rescue, tracking, and detection work. They wanted a dog sport open to all canines who wanted to participate in an enjoyable game of finding hidden scents. It doesn’t require any special training or athletic ability for either the dogs or the humans.
By Laurie Darroch
With all the open space, the beach is the perfect place to take your dog for an invigorating outing to get fresh air and exercise. Even in cooler months, the non-water activities at the beach can be a great way to burn off excess dog energy and provide refreshing outdoor play time. If you have kids in your home, this is a fun outing for the whole family and good bonding time with your dog.
During hot weather, pick cooler times of the day to go for a beach outing with your dog. Early mornings or evenings are best on excessively hot days. That’s when the sand is more tolerable for paws to walk on. Going at off times also makes it easier to play on the beach with fewer people there.
Some beaches allow dogs to roam freely. Others require all dogs to be on a leash. You can adapt any of the following activities for play on or off the leash. For play that involves running, if you are not physically able to run yourself, with the use of an extra-long lead instead of a standard shorter leash, your dog can still run and play.
Bring toys that are heavy enough to throw, even if the beach is windy. Include toys that can float if your dog goes in the water to play.
By Laurie Darroch
Highly energetic dogs need ways to channel all their excess energy. Otherwise, they might find more destructive ways to use up their energy, such as destroying your belongings. It’s a good idea to have a variety of fun activities that will help them burn off energy in healthy and productive ways, while keeping their mind stimulated.
Chasing and Fetching
Play active games in the yard or park with your dog. If you have enough space in your home, you can play more subdued forms of these games inside.
Balls are always a favorite toy for high energy dogs; just be sure to get one that is the right size for your dog. A small dog may not be able to handle a large ball and will give up on the activity. A large dog can choke on a ball that is too small. With training, some dogs can even play a dog form of soccer with large balls.
Flying discs such as the classic Frisbee is another favorite. This is a perfect activity for a high energy dog. If trained properly, the activity can even be competitive with other dogs and owners. Running, leaping and learning to catch and return the disc is not only great for an active dog, but a lot of fun for you as well.
Your dog might find bubbles fun and fascinating. You can use the simple bubble wands that release one or two bubbles at a time, or a battery operated bubble blower that shoots multiple bubbles at once to really get your dog running and leaping. Your high energy dog will have a really good time chasing them all over the yard and popping them. Because your dog will catch the bubbles in their mouth, use only non-toxic bubble solution, or make your own safe bubble solution at home.
By Julia Williams
I’ve never been to Minnesota, but I’ve wanted to go ever since the shopping mecca known as the Mall of America opened. Now I have another reason, a much more compelling one actually, to add this fine state to my travel bucket list – Minneapolis, MN is where the annual Internet Cat Video Festival takes place!
Yes, I heard you say that. This is likely what I also thought the first time I heard about the Internet Cat Video Festival, aka Catvidvest. Now I just say … what a great idea! That, and why didn’t someone think of this sooner? I mean, we all love to watch funny cat videos, right? What could be better than sharing the experience with thousands of other cat people?
Catvidvest is billed as an “offline celebration of online cat videos.” The live festival offers feline fanatics an opportunity to come together to watch a curated collection of cat clips in a social setting. In other words, the Internet Cat Video Festival provides people like me a much- desired way to “be among my people,” i.e., those who adore cats and aren’t afraid to tell it to the world.
By Linda Cole
Keeping your dog on a routine is important. Canines like to know what’s going to happen throughout the day. I guess that makes it easier for them to plan out their busy schedule of chasing the cat, barking at the mailman and wolfing down their tasty CANIDAE food. The daily walk is an important part of your dog’s routine, but it can become a bit boring if you do the same thing every day. It’s good to spice it up now and then, to make it more fun for both of you.
Change the Pace
Many dogs enjoy getting out for a run, and jogging is a good way to build endurance and burn off calories. However, jogging isn’t for everyone or every dog. You can still mix up your pace and walk faster or slower, and in doing so you establish yourself as the leader by controlling the speed. Quickly changing directions helps to teach your dog to pay attention to you. Mixing up both speed and direction can make a walk even more stimulating.
Have Alternate Routes
A walk is not nearly as interesting when you see the same things day in and day out. Varying your route gives you different sights, smells and sounds that enrich the senses of both you and your dog. A nature trail offers different stimulation than a walk around the neighborhood. If you don’t have a trail close by, you can always drive to a nearby park or trail. When you walk out the door with your dog, he will look to you to see what’s going to happen next. Anticipation is part of the fun.
By Langley Cornwell
I met a cat in her early twenties last week. I couldn’t believe it. Even more impressive, Buttercup looked healthy and was completely aware of what was going on. She had that curious feline gleam in her eye; it was apparent that Buttercup was still mentally sharp.
Thanks to modern veterinarian care, cats have a longer lifespan than they used to. In fact, more and more cats are reaching the ages of middle teens all the way through to the early twenties, like Buttercup. When I look into our eight-year-old cat’s eyes, my heart melts. Like most responsible pet owners, we would do anything to keep this little guy healthy and happy, and hope that we have at least ten more good years with him.
But there’s more to it than just keeping your pet physically well. Older cats run the risk of developing feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD) — the feline equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease — if their brains aren’t stimulated enough. The best advice is to start at a young age; it’s essential to keep your cat’s brain active and sharp well before feline cognitive dysfunction has a chance to take hold. The best thing you can do is begin training your cat’s brain early. Studies show that you can slow the advancement of mental deterioration by ensuring your feline friend is physically active and mentally stimulated throughout her life, starting in kittenhood.
With this in mind, here are a few easy tips for keeping your cat’s brain mentally sharp well into her twilight years.