ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
|Dog Supply Checklist
- Premium-quality dog food
- Food dish
- Water bowl
- Toys, toys and more
toys, including safe chew
- Brush & comb for
grooming, including flea
- Collar with license and ID
- Carrier (for smaller dogs)
- Training crate
- Dog bed or box with
warm blanket or towel
- Dog toothbrush
- The nose knows! Your
dog can detect odors
about a billion times better
than you can.
- The average lifespan of a
dog varies from 8 to 16
years, depending on breed
type, size, genetics and
|Stoop and Scoop
If your dog defecates on a
neighbor's lawn, the sidewalk
or any other public place,
please clean it up.
Dog waste is a public health
hazard, takes the pleasure
out of outdoor activities
and pollutes the
communities now have strict
"stoop and scoop"
PET CARE & GROOMING
Dogs need walks for both exercise and
mental stimulation. Many modern day
dogs don’t get opportunities to do what
their breed instincts tell them to do. In
addition, it’s a rare dog that exercises on
his own, and your backyard doesn’t
provide the variety of sensory stimulation
most dogs need to ward off boredom.
Walking Your Dog:
How to Do It Well and Why It's So Important
By Dr. Karen Becker
Why and how to walk your dog may seem like a ‘no brainer’ topic to many of you,
but the fact is there are lots of pet owners who:
•Don’t walk their dogs at all, or don’t do it routinely
•Don’t make the most of the activity
•Dread walks because their pet actually walks them, or exhibits other bad leash
Before You Head Out the Door
The best way to develop a positive dog walking habit is when your pet is a puppy.
As soon as her immune system is strong enough to protect her from
communicable disease (discuss when it’s safe to take your pup outside with your
vet) , she’s ready for walks with you or other family members.
She should already have her own secure-fitting collar or harness and ID tag, and
she should be used to wearing it before you attempt to take her for walks. Some
puppies have no problem wearing a collar; others do. If your dog is fighting it, as
long as you’re sure it isn’t too tight (you should be able to easily slip your fingers
under it) or uncomfortable for some other reason, distract her from fussing with
her collar until she gets used to it. It shouldn’t take more than a couple days for
your pup to forget she’s even wearing it.
Don’t try to take your pup for a walk if she protests wearing a collar. Get her used
to wearing her collar first.
If you plan to use a head halter or harness for walks (which I recommend for any
dog at risk of injury from pulling against a collar/leash combination), the next step
is to get your puppy comfortable wearing it. As with the collar, this needs to
happen before you attempt to attach a leash and head out the door.
Once wearing her collar and a halter or harness (if you choose) is second nature
to your dog, you’re ready for the next step. Attach about four feet of light line —
cotton awning cord or light cotton rope will do – and let your puppy drag it
around the house with her under your watchful eye, of course. She’ll get used to
it being attached, as well as the tug of it when she steps on it.
Once your pup is used to the four-foot line, swap it for a 10 to 15 foot line of the
same material, and head outdoors.
Starting Off on the Right Foot
Initial walks should be short for most puppies – the main goal is to get your dog
used to being attached to you by a lead.
Find a safe environment. Allow puppy to drag the line behind him for a bit, then
pick up the opposite end. Let him lead you around for a few seconds while you
hold the line just off the ground. Slow down so he’s forced to slow down,
ultimately to a stop. Take a short break for praise and a little playtime.
Next, let him trail the line again, but when you pick up your end this time, call him
and stand still. If he pulls, hold your ground without pulling him in your direction.
The goal is to teach him to put slack in the line himself by moving toward you.
When he puts slack in the line, praise him and call him to you.
If he comes all the way to you, more praise and a training treat are in order. If he
stops on his way to you, tighten the line just enough to apply a tiny bit of pull to
it. Immediately call him to come again. Give praise as he moves toward you and
treats when he comes all the way back.
Two or three repetitions is all many puppies need to understand lack of tension in
the line is what earns praise and treats.
When your pup has learned to come towards you to relieve tension on the line,
you can begin backing up as he’s coming towards you to keep him moving.
Next, turn and walk forward so he’s following you. If he passes you, head in
another direction so he’s again behind you.
The goal is to teach him to follow on a loose lead. Once you’ve accomplished the
goal, you can continue to use the light line or replace it with a leash.
Depending on your pet’s temperament, five to 15 minute sessions are sufficient in
the beginning. Practice controlling your dog on the lead for 30 second intervals
during each session. Exercise patience and don’t engage in a battle of wills with
your pup. Don’t snap, yank or otherwise use the line for correction or punishment.
Stop before either of you gets frazzled or tired.
After each short session on the lead, liberally praise your dog and spend a few
minutes playing ball or some other game he enjoys. Remember — you’re building
the foundation for an activity both you and your dog will enjoy and look forward
to throughout her life.
Some puppies stubbornly fight the pressure of the line rather than create slack.
If your puppy freezes on a tight line or routinely pulls against it, my first
recommendation is to use a halter or harness rather than a collar attached to the
lead. Your dog can create serious neck and cervical disk problems by pulling on a
Next, make sure it’s not you creating the problem. Our human instinct is to hold
the leash taught, so you must also train yourself to keep slack in the line. Your
dog’s natural response to a tight line is to pull against it.
Next do the following when your puppy refuses to create slack or move toward
•Maintain the tension on the line and turn your back on her. Allow time for it to
occur to her she can’t win by pulling against you.
•Remain still with your back to her holding the tension in the line – don’t jerk the
line, don’t pull or yank her toward you, and don’t put slack in the line yourself,
which will teach her the way to get slack is to pull at the line.
The message you want to send your pup is pulling on the lead doesn’t accomplish
a thing. It doesn’t change the scenery and it doesn’t earn praise or treats.
Eventually, your puppy will stop doing what doesn’t work – especially when she is
consistently rewarded for desirable behavior.
The very first second you begin leash training, make sure your puppy
accomplishes nothing by pulling on her line. It takes some dogs longer than
others to learn to keep the leash loose, but with patience and persistence, any
puppy can learn to follow on a loose lead.
Different Types of Dog Walks
Once your dog has been taught good leash manners, I recommend you vary the
purpose of your walks with him.
•If your habit is to walk him to his potty spot to relieve himself, that’s a
purposeful walk – usually of short duration.
•Then there are mentally stimulating walks during which your pup is allowed to
stop, sniff, investigate, mark a spot and so forth. Most dogs on a leash don’t
spend as much time sniffing and investigating as off-leash dogs. (This is probably
because leashed dogs sense their owners aren’t really into the same things they
Allowing your pet some time to sniff around and investigate is good for him
mentally. Dogs gain knowledge of the world through their noses. You can train
your dog with commands to know when he’s out for a mental stimulation walk, a
training walk or an exercise session.
•Regular exercise is a necessity for your dog, the natural athlete. Regardless of
his size, breed, gender or even his age, he needs physical activity in order to be a
balanced, healthy animal. Exercise will keep his frame strong, his weight in the
healthy range, and it can also help prevent or alleviate arthritis and other
degenerative joint diseases.
Exercise consistency is really important. Dogs need exercise every three days,
minimum, in order to maintain muscle tone and prevent muscle wasting. In my
opinion, consistent daily aerobic exercise should be the goal. It’s important to
elevate your pet’s heart rate for 20 minutes during exercise sessions. If your dog
is out of shape, you’ll need to start slow and build gradually to 20 minutes per
•Ongoing training throughout your dog’s life is a great way to keep his faculties
sharp and boredom at bay. It’s also a wonderful way to strengthen the bond
between you and your pet.
Training walks can be about improving leash manners, learning basic or advanced
obedience commands, ongoing socialization – just about anything you can think
of that can be done on a leashed walk.
Your dog depends on you for her quality of life. Walking her every day or at least
several times each week – taking advantage of different types of walks to
stimulate her mentally and physically – will help your canine companion be
balanced, healthy and happy for a lifetime.
Dr. Becker is the resident proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian of
HealthyPets.Mercola.com. You can learn holistic ways of preventing illness in your
pets by subscribing to MercolaHealthyPets.com, an online resource for animal lovers.