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Spring Into Better Health

Dogs that exercise regularly live longer, incur fewer veterinary bills, and are better behaved. Sit up and take action!

Target-Train Your Dog to Ring A Doorbell

Each month, I stand in the middle of my training center during the second session of my newest Level One class and introduce my...

Dog Athlete Massages for Pre- and Post-Activity

Dogs love a good massage. If you don't believe me, ask any dog. Slow rhythmic massage moves can improve circulation, reduce stress, and relieve discomfort from a recent injury or a chronic condition like arthritis. But there is another type of massage that we sometimes overlook. Prior to a competition, an invigorating sports massage can do wonders to get a canine athlete physically pumped and mentally psyched. This is true for any competitive endeavor whether it is lure coursing, agility, obedience, Frisbee, fly-ball, tracking, herding, field trials, or some other activity. After the competition, the dog can definitely benefit from another, more relaxing sports massage.

Rally Obedience Classes for Dogs

I used to show my dogs in competitive obedience. In the beginning, the opportunity to earn obedience titles and show off my dog's training appealed to me greatly. But as I evolved toward positive training methods and a more fulfilling relationship with my dogs, the military precision of the show ring lost its charm. I realized that it made no sense to have a relationship with my canine pals based on warm interaction and communication outside the ring, only to march in cold silence next to my dogs inside the ring. I stopped showing and turned my efforts toward family dog training and activities that were more fun and flexible, like agility and canine freestyle.

Swimming is Great Exercise for Dogs

Tucker, our six-year-old Cattle-Dog mix, loves to swim. Every morning when we walk the quarter-mile down our driveway with our four-pack of dogs to pick up the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, Tucker casts longing glances at the pond in our next-door-neighbor’s front yard. As long as we occasionally remind him to stay with us, he’s fine. But if we let our attention lapse for too long, especially if it’s a particularly warm day, a loud “Splash!” announces in no uncertain terms that Tucker has once again gone for an unauthorized swim. You would never know that Tucker used to hate the water, and that we had to make an effort to convince him to give recreational swimming a try.

Compression Techniques for Muscle Strength

All dogs love a gentle pat on the shoulder or the rump. To them it can be a signal of a job well done or simply an indication of our affection. Touch strengthens the bond between dog and owner and is a basic building block of the canine-human relationship. We have already considered effleurage, the open-hand technique that resembles smooth petting strokes yet does so much for the dog’s circulation, relaxation, and balance. Compression, another open-hand technique, also affords enjoyable physical contact between you and your dog while providing important health benefits to your canine friend.

Stretching Your Dog Reduces the Chance of Muscle Tears

All dogs instinctively know how to stretch and do so with great enjoyment. Dogs stretch without fail upon awakening and whenever the mood strikes during the rest of the day. Who hasn’t watched a dog inch his front paws out in front of him as far as possible leaning into the stretch until it literally ripples along the length of his trunk? When the stretch finally reaches the hips, the hind legs are extended far behind the body in what appears to be total ecstasy. The dog completes the routine by dropping to his elbows and stretching the back in a doggy bow that temporarily elevates the rump. Then, the hindquarters flop to the floor in a grand finale to the stretch.

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