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  1. Article from guest Blogger Cindy Aldridge from Our Dog Friends

    dog blog picture - Edited

    Photo by Pixabay

    Moving is an exciting time for anyone, though it comes with a lot of unknowns, which cause stress. Will I like where I live? Will my family? Will my dog?

    Your dog is likely to be happy wherever you are. But to make him comfortable, you want to keep him in mind when you’re house-hunting and prepare him as best you can for the big move.

    Dog friendly neighborhood

    When you’re out shopping for a new home in your new city, keep an eye on the neighborhood. If it’s a dog friendly one, you’ll see a lot of pooches out for their daily walks, especially after work hours. If there are lots of dogs about, then there are lots of dog-loving neighbors, too. They will be much more likely to help you if your dog ever gets loose.

    Check if there’s a park or a dog park nearby. Visit the dog park on a weekend morning, when it’s most likely to be busy. Are the owners relaxed and enjoying themselves? Do they pick up after their dogs? Are the big dogs picking on the little ones? Feel free to ask the dog owners questions about the park and the surrounding area. You might actually make a new friend -- for you and your pooch.

    Check out the local ordinances. Some cities have restrictions on size and breeds. HOAs can also have restrictions, so make sure you read all the fine print before buying. Know if there are special vaccinations your dog needs before the move. If the area is high in fleas and ticks, know what he needs to keep him safe and healthy.

    Dog friendly home

    Does your potential home have a fenced yard, and if not, can you afford to install one? A fenced yard can save you a lot of cold nights standing in the yard waiting for your dog to potty. If you’re OK without a fence, is there ample room to walk your dog around the yard or down the street for his bathroom break?

    When touring a home, keep an eye out for the amount of space. If you have a large dog or multiple dogs, you want to have enough room for you, your family and your pets. Some giant breeds are perfectly OK with small areas, but you still want to be able to relax comfortably.

    If you have an older or disabled dog, you don’t want a house with a lot of stairs or obstacles that can impede his or her movement. If your dog can’t do stairs but you want him to sleep with you, make sure your bedroom would be on the same floor. Older dogs can also have a hard time with slippery floors. Though hard floors are great for pets and easy to clean up, they can cause issues for an elderly dog. Be prepared to put down rugs so your pooch feels comfortable moving around.

    Adjusting to your new home

    Dogs are generally adaptable to most new situations. When your dog arrives at his new home, allow him to sniff around the house and property. He wants to get to know all the smells of his new place. Make sure you have all his toys and beds readily available, and don’t wash them before the move. He will feel more relaxed if he has familiar scents to enjoy.

    Introduce him to your new neighbors. This allows them to get to know your pooch and understand that he’s friendly. Also, it gives you an opening to meet new neighbors. Don’t allow your dog to run free in your new neighborhood, even if your dog is good about returning home. In a new environment, he might get lost easily.

    The most important thing to remember is to give him lots of love. You dog only wants to know that you’re there and you love him, and loving on your dog is just as beneficial for you. Show your dog lots of affection, and he’s bound to feel right at home.

     

     

  2. This August rather than sun, tans and t-shirts so far all we’ve had is rain, literally putting a dampener on summer spirits. In the summer the weather dictates our weekend and evening plans and with the hash tag #BritishSummerTime trending on Twitter again, it’s no surprise that we are fed up with the cold weather conditions.

    Whilst we can comfortably stay indoors to keep ourselves entertained in poor weather, it’s a different story for our four legged friends. Come rain or shine all dogs need exercise and when the weather lets us down, walks can be cut short and finding something to do with your dog who has bundles of energy can be tricky. To keep your dog entertained during the turbulent weather, consider:

    Training

    If you think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, think again. Only this month a woman who is susceptible to violent seizures trained her German Shepherd to lie under her head and support her in the event of a fit.

    Whilst not all training is done for such a specific purpose, training your dog in basic obedience is really important. Training may prevent any behavioural issues and help to build a positive relationship between you and your animal that will make life easier and more enjoyable for you both. This is essential given that around 3.9 million dogs are abandoned or given up to shelters each year because owners just cannot control them.

    Rather than train your dog with punishment, use positive reinforcement, rewarding your dog with treats and affection when he or she completes a command. You should do this regularly to maintain their training and reinforce good behaviour. However, if you haven’t found the time recently, a rainy day presents the perfect opportunity to get in some practice. Head over to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers for some helpful training tips and advice.

    Ultimately, proper training means that you can enjoy the time you spend with your canine friend without worrying they might run off or nip you.

    Games

    ‘Find it’, ‘Tug of War’ and ‘Fetch’ are all brilliant ways of engaging with your dog in some down time whilst keeping their mind and body active, but the games don’t end there. You could plan a treasure hunt with your dog. Start simple by taking your dog’s favourite toy or a treat and a few opaque containers.

    Hide the treat under one of the containers and encourage your dog to smell the containers and find the prize. Once he finds it give him the treat and lots of praise! After a few goes you could make this game more challenging by hiding toys or treats in places around the home. This is a stimulating exercise for your dog, exercising both their body and mind.

    You could also play more physically exhausting games with your dog, such as ‘Over, under, through’. Grab a piece of sturdy furniture like a chair or stool and teach your dog to crawl under it and stay, crawl all the way under and through and jump over it. Use verbal queues and reward them when they complete each action. Once they get the hang of these three commands you can introduce combinations. This will get your dog’s mind working and will also wear them out physically too. If your dog seems bored at any point you know it’s time to up the ante and make the routine more complicated!

     

    Indoor running

    If you have a treadmill at home, you could make use of rainy days to train your dog to walk on the treadmill safely. That way your dog is exercising as if they are outside, but without being drenched by the downpours.

    Turn the treadmill onto the lowest speed and encourage your dog to get on with a treat. You can use your dogs lead as an aid but never tie your dog to the treadmill. Once your dog is used to the treadmill you can gradually increase the speed.

    Start with a five-minute workout and increase this by one minute each session. The maximum time your dog should stay on the treadmill is 10 minutes. To keep your dog interested throughout you could offer your dog a treat every few minutes.

    Agility

    When the weather decides not to play ball it calls for you to be creative - cue an agility course. You could make some homemade hurdles or create a tunnel for your dog to run through using pillows. You could also get your dog to jump through that old hula-hoop that’s been sitting in the attic.

    If you don’t have enough space for jumping, or if you have a small breed, you could set up a weaving obstacle instead, using old shoes, books or anything else that’s lying around. Map out your obstacle course first and slowly guide your dog through it. After a few times walking, try it running! This will wear your dog out and get their brain working. If you set up a jumping obstacle course, make sure all of the materials are easily broken down so that your dog can participate safely and without risk of injury.

    Toys

    To keep your dog occupied make sure to rotate their toys every so often with something new. Of course, if they’re particularly attached to a specific toy there’s no need to throw this away, but consider replacing those that are extremely worn out or just aren’t that interesting to your dog anymore.

    Dog toys are really important for a number of reasons including bonding, dental hygiene and intellectual stimulation. The Planet Dog Orbee Ball is a good option for dental health. It’s tough and durable and available in a variety of sizes to suit the jaws of big and small jaws. On a rainy day you could add an extra dimension to play by teaching your dog the names of the toys, which will stimulate your dog mentally and means you can get your dog to find and fetch specific toys!

    Dine out

    There are plenty of dog friendly restaurants and pubs across the UK that welcome owners and their four legged friends. You’ll be indoors so it’s the perfect way to avoid the rain and it means you also get a treat! If you feel like a fancy brunch why not take your dog to Bronte, a restaurant that overlooks the Strand in London and serves tasty sounding dishes such as hot smoked salmon and scrambled duck eggs.  

    If fancy brunch isn’t quite up your street you could opt for a classic and comfy pub like the Durham Ox in West Yorkshire. Almost all pubs welcome furry friends, but if you’re unsure of the dog policy in certain establishments you can always call ahead to double check. It’s also worth researching menus with delicacies just for your dog! The Shake Shack in Convent Garden even offers red velvet dog biscuits!

    Wherever you decide to go there will be people entering and leaving constantly, which means your dog will get some practice socialising, engaging with both human and canine strangers. As a dog, learning

     

    manners can be difficult as it doesn’t come naturally to them, so taking your dog to a bustling environment will help your dog to learn.

    Socials

    Whilst the weather this August has been miserable it’s certainly not surprising, as the UK has never been renowned for glorious summer scorchers. Because of this, a number of organisations have set up indoor dog parks, so why not take a trip to one of Action Petz indoor dog parks? Both parks boast features such as paddling pools and play areas to keep your pooch entertained. You could also take your dog to doggy daycare for an afternoon, to help your dog socialise and keep them entertained.

    Sometimes though, braving the weather for an outdoor walk is inevitable. On days like this why not join a social group of dog walkers, which you can find on websites like Meet Up. This way you’ll all be in it together and both you and your dog gets a chance to socialise.

    If you are taking your dog out in the rain, avoid busy roads as visibility can be compromised in bad weather for drivers and dogs alike. If you do have to cross main roads, keep your dog on a short lead and don’t forget your rain mac!