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At What Age Can Dogs Start Running?

Dogs love to run. Puppies begin running with a cute little bunny hop action. Do you know the one? It is guaranteed to make you smile. They want to run before their bodies are developmentally able. So when should dogs begin structured running? As with most things with dogs, the answers can vary based on several things like size and breed.

Generally speaking, dogs can begin structured running around age one. Smaller dogs and breeds without histories of joint issues, may be able to start a couple of months earlier. The bones and joints of larger breed dogs mature more slowly than those of smaller breeds. Running too soon may hurt the physical development of a dog and lead to greater risk of injury and illness in later years.

So how do you get all that puppy energy out if he isn’t old enough to run? Lots of walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. This is the time to establish good leash manners slowly exposing him to new sights, sounds, smells, and textures he will encounter on a structured run…like other dogs and bicycles.

Visit your vet to make sure your dog is healthy and ready to begin a structured running program.

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Fitness Session Overview

Are your curious about what a fitness session looks like?  Here is an overview.

Upon arrival, your dog is greeted with an enthusiastic hug and lots of love!  After gathering our things, leash, water, waste bags, etc., we head out!  Before we begin the session, we take care of the necessities by allowing time for a potty break, water, and some sniffing and exploring.  We also use this time to review basic training commands.  We then begin our thirty minute fitness session.  Each fitness session consists of a warm up, a work-out, and a cool down.

The work-out will vary by dog and by day.  Some of our work-out activities are:

  • Dog Bed to 5k Programs
  • Game Day – Fetch, Chase, Hide and Seek
  • Agility training

Through out the workout, training is reinforced and water is offered.  Your dog’s health is constantly monitored and the workout is adjusted as needed.  Back at home, your dog is treated to a gentle massage and comforting farewell, usually as they drift off for a nap!

Sounds great, right?  Our thirty minute fitness sessions are truly thirty minutes of fitness time.  We are actually with your dog for longer, usually 45 minutes to an hour.  Owners receive a detailed note, email and/or pictures of the days activities.  Most importantly, they return home to a happy, relaxed dog.

Fitness Sessions occur rain or shine.  Most dogs love to run in the rain, however some absolutely detest the rain.  No problem.  We will adapt the workout to the weather and space available.

Still have questions?  See our Frequently Asked Questions page or even better, give us a call at 704.607.1221!

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We “Paws” on Veteran’s Day

We previously shared some of the benefits of dog ownership.  We also shared some of the amazing ways that dogs can assist humans.   According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), “The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both. This includes, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment.”

On Tuesday, November 11th, we will honor our Veterans, human and canine.  This year, for the first time, the New York City Veteran’s Day Parade will honor six human/canine service duos.  These pairs served together in active duty and are still taking care of each other on a daily basis.

The U.S. Veteran’s Administration is limited in the benefits they provide related to service and therapy dogs.  They do not currently offer benefits for dogs who provide support for mental and emotional health, like PTSD.  There are however many private organizations that connect veterans and dogs.  Just a few are Paws for Purple Hearts, Canines for Veterans, Patriot Paws, Pets for Vets, Warrior Canine Connections, Warrior Service Dogs, and Canine Angels.

This short video describes a program Paws for Purple Hearts uses to treat soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

On Veteran’s Day, we “paws” to thank all who selflessly give and sacrifice to serve our country.

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Boo! “Howl-oween” Safety Tips For Dogs

Halloween Pet Safety TipsIs your dog ready for “Howl-oween”?  Here are a few tips to make sure Halloween is safe for your dog.

  1. Do not leave candy unattended for several reasons.  Chocolate and candy with the artificial sweetener xylitol can be especially dangerous.  Small hard candies can get lodged in a dog’s throat.  Candy wrappers can cause bowel obstruction and have sharp edges that can scratch interior organs.  Any food not regularly in your dog’s diet may cause an upset stomach.
  2. Be sure your dog is wearing a collar with ID in case he/she slips in the midst of all the door opening and closing.
  3. While trick-or-treaters are sure to think your dog is adorable, with or without costume, it may be best if your dog is secured away from the door area.  In addition to activity around an open door creating an opportunity for your dog to escape, seeing the parade of costumes may stress or scare your dog.  Even the friendliest dog can quickly become overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, scents, and stresses of the evening.
  4. Make sure pet costumes fit properly and are pet safe.  Your dog should be able to move and breathe naturally in the costume.  Small and dangling accessories may be a choking hazard.
  5. If your dog is outside, be sure he or she is wearing a reflective collar to be easily spotted by motorists.
  6. Consider the safety of your decorations.   While pumpkins are not toxic to dogs, ingesting it in large quantities can cause stomach issues.  Electric cords should be out of reach.  Even a well-trained dog may resort to unusual behavior like chewing cords in a stressful situation.  Watch candles carefully.  They can be easily knocked over.  Other decorations may also be harmful as they may contain toxic glues, lead to stomach discomfort, or blockage issues if ingested.  It is best to keep all decorations safely out of reach.
  7. Make sure your dog gets plenty of vigorous exercise each day but especially around holidays and special events.  Exercise reduces stress and calms your dog.  For most dogs, walks and time in the backyard are not enough.  Most dogs need 30 minutes of sustained, vigorous activity a day (defined as getting the heart rate up and keeping it up).  Sufficient exercise will give your dog a chance to get rid of excess energy which often leads to anxiety and destructive behavior.

 

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Dogs Make People Happy

Dogs make people happyDogs make people happy get one today!  I love this drawing by one of my favorite young friends, Ansley.  Her heart is gigantic, especially when it comes to animals.

October is Adopt-a-Dog month.  There are many reasons why our shelters are filled with homeless pets.  Some are rescued from puppy mills, some are given up by owners who are no longer able to care for them, and some are found homeless.  You can help by adopting your next pet from your local shelter or rescue group.  There are many benefits of owning a dog.

 

  • Increase in Amount of Exercise – It is hard to say no to those big pleading eyes begging you for a walk.  Studies have shown that dog owners get more exercise than non-dog owners.  Dogs make wonderful workout partners.  The enthusiasm they have is contagious and they never offer excuses to postpone a workout until another day.
  • Physically Healthier – Owning a dog has been linked to lower blood pressure, better heart health and even stronger bones.  All of those walks outside provide a good dose of vitamin D in addition to exercising muscles.
  • Lower Stress Levels – Interacting with dogs has been shown to lower the production of cortisol and increase the production of serotonin, which translates into a calmer, less stressed individual.
  • More Active Social Life –  Having a dog means getting out and walking them and, for most people, talking about them.  Dogs are a natural ice breaker.  They are a common bond to help start conversations and create friendships.
  • Increased Productivity – Dogs lead people to take more breaks which has been shown to benefit productivity.  A recent Fast Company article suggest that breaks are needed every 52 minutes to optimize productivity.
  • Happier – Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression. Research supports the mood enhancing benefits of interacting with dogs.  It has been shown to increase the amount of Oxytocin in the brain which has a calming, feel good effect on the body.  Dogs provide companionship and physical contact that boosts self-esteem.   They are also great listeners who don’t judge.  Everyone needs a friend like that!

Having a dog changes your life.  Dogs teach us about unconditional love and friendship.  They heal and protect.  They understand when no one else does.  They are great listeners and rarely talk back!  Yes, taking care of a dog can be hard at times.  Dogs require a lot of energy, patience, time, and, yes, they are a financial commitment.  The reward more than makes up for it though.  If you’re not sure if a dog is right for you, start by volunteering at a shelter.  This is a great way to learn how to care for a dog, get to know various breeds and personalities, and learn training tips.  Other volunteers and workers are great resources and can help you decide if you are really ready or not.  If this isn’t the right time to adopt, you can still get many of the benefits of dog ownership from volunteering at a shelter…maybe more.

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October Celebration!

Birthday Flyer 3Our Annie Girl turns 13 on October 13th!  She wants to celebrate by helping other dogs have fun so we are offering our packages of ten thirty minute fitness sessions for only $130.  That is just $13 per session!

Are your curious about what a 30 minute fitness session looks like?  Here is an overview.

Upon arrival, your dog is greeted with an enthusiastic hug and lots of love!  After gathering our things, leash, water, waste bags, etc., we head out!  Before we begin the session, we take care of the necessities by allowing time for a potty break, water, and some sniffing and exploring.  We also use this time to review basic training commands.  We then begin our thirty minute fitness session.  Each fitness session consists of a warm up, a work-out, and a cool down.

The work-out will vary by dog and by day.  Some of our work-out activities are:

  • Dog Bed to 5k Programs
  • Game Day – Fetch, Chase, Hide and Seek
  • Agility training

Through out the workout, training is reinforced and water is offered.  Your dog’s health is constantly monitored and the workout is adjusted as needed.  Back at home, your dog is treated to a gentle massage and comforting farewell, usually as they drift off for a nap!

Sounds great, right?  As you can see, our thirty minute fitness sessions are truly thirty minutes of fitness time.  We are actually with your dog for longer, usually 45 minutes to an hour.  Owners receive a detailed note, email and/or pictures of the days activities.  Most importantly, they return home to a happy, relaxed dog.

Fitness Sessions occur rain or shine.  Most dogs love to run in the rain, however some absolutely detest the rain.  No problem.  We will adapt the workout to the weather and space available.

Still have questions?  See our Frequently Asked Questions page or even better, give us a call at 704.607.1221!

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