Preventing Joint Problems In Dogs

senior dog with ball

If you’ve ever owned a large breed dog, you’re probably familiar with how common it is for large dogs to develop joint problems. Many of us don’t realize when our dog has joint problems until it has progressed to the point of them needing medication. So we’ve put together some helpful tips to preventing joint problems so that hopefully your dog won’t have trouble getting around when he gets older!

 

 

Ensure Minor Injuries Get Proper Rest

If puppies have a big fall, tumble down some stairs, etc., they need the proper time to fully heal. Ideally the fall should try to be avoided completely, but puppies will be puppies! After the injury, make sure to limit your pup’s activity until the injury is fully healed. For minor injuries that don’t require a vet visit, you can still call your vet and describe the situation so he can give you a general time to keep the pup on a lower activity level. Injuries that don’t get proper time to heal will often leave the joints weakened and can mean joint issues later on in life for your pooch.

 

Keep Your Dog Active!

Dogs that are carrying extra weight are putting more pressure on their joints when they walk around. This speeds up the deterioration of joint cartilage which can’t be reversed. Keeping your dog slim by giving him regular walks, not too many treats and a wholesome diet will help keep him moving around easily and not put additional pressure on his joints.

 

Early Detection

One of the best ways to ensure that your dog is comfortable moving around and not in any pain is to know the warning signs of early arthritis and sore/weak joints. Taking notice of things like, stiffness when standing up if lying down for a while, limping when walking or after a certain amount of walking, whining or whimpering when doing certain movements. These could all possibly be signs of early joint deterioration. If you start to notice any of these signs, be sure to speak with your vet on how to make your dog more comfortable and if he/she recommends any dietary supplements to help reduce inflammation in the joints.

 

Although arthritis and other joint problems cannot be reversed, and can be hard to avoid, they can definitely be slowed down. With help from you and looking out for any warning signs of joint pain, your dog can live a long happy life!

What is the Canine Good Citizen Program?

dog smiling with owner

Is your pooch the perfect gentleman? Knows all his manners and loves to meet new dogs and people with a calm demeanor? Your dog may already have what to takes to pass the CKC Canine Good Citizen test!

What is the Canine Good Citizen program? It was created by the CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) in 1989 to encourage responsible dog ownership and the goal being that the dog acts appropriately in various surroundings and situations. The program encourages the owner to use non-aversive training methods, and to strengthen the bond between owner and dog to improve training results as well as overall happiness (for both the owner and the dog). This program also helps improve communities as the dogs are less likely to act inappropriately towards strangers, assuming the manners continue to be maintained after the certificate has been earned. Even people who may be a little nervous around dogs, are typically much more at ease when you tell them your dog is a certified Good Citizen!

For your dog to earn his Canadian Canine Good Citizen certificate (also known as ‘CCGC’), you must set up a testing date with one of the CKC approved evaluators through the CKC website. On the date of the test, you must bring all paperwork for your dog such as proof of vaccinations and license, dog brush, plastic bag, leash and collar (or harness is also acceptable). The test must be done in a public place so that there are some distractions around. The dog is given the Canine Good Citizen Test broken down into 12 steps.

1. Accepting A Friendly Stranger (Owner shakes hands with a friendly stranger, dog must remain calm)
2. Politely Accepts Petting (Evaluator pets the dog, testing the dog for shyness)
3. Appearance and Grooming (Evaluator inspects that the dog is well looked after, coat in good condition, healthy teeth, clear eyes, etc.)
4. Out For A Walk (Owner walks the dog, any tension on the leash is automatic failure)
5. Walking Through A Crowd (Dog remains calm in busy public setting, does not show signs of stress or nervousness, must continue to have a ‘loose leash’)
6. Sit/Down On Command and Stay In Place (Dog must know ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘stay’ and able to perform these reliably even with distractions)
7. Come When Called (Dog must know ‘come’ reliably even with distractions)
8. Praise/Interaction (Evaluator observes the relationship between owner and dog when owner gives praise, as well as the dog should be able to calm down easily and quickly after praise is done)
9. Reaction To A Passing Dog (Dog remains calm and not nervous, shy or aggressive when passing a dog)
10. Reaction To Distractions (With distractions present, dog must remain confident and not fearful or overly excited)
11. Supervised Isolation (Evaluator tests that the dog continues to have good manners and respond appropriately to commands from a stranger while the owner is not within their eyesight)
12. Walking Through A Door/Gate (Dog waits for the owner to give the ok before going through gate, dog must calmly walk through door or gate and not charge or pull)

It may seem daunting at first if you are in the early stages of training with your dog, but completing the CCGC program is an excellent foundation towards more fun things with your dog like agility or performance events. Not only does it help give a foundation to training, it also greatly increases the bond between you and your dog as you spend lots of time together practising and training for this test. You will also learn to read your dog’s body language better and it will almost be like you can have conversations together! The Canine Good Citizen program gives you the confidence to take your dog anywhere and know he will be on his best behaviour.

Benefits of Daily Walks with your Dog

dog holding leash

We all know how important it is for our dog’s physical and mental well-being to get their daily walks, but did you know the wonderful benefits that we receive from those walks? Here are some of our favourite added benefits to going for a nice walk with your pooch!

 

Quality Bonding Time

Dogs enjoy walking and exploring new areas with their ‘pack’ or family as this is one of the ways they bond. Even when visiting places they’ve been to just a few days ago, they will still be able to sniff around and get their daily news of what’s been going on and who’s been walking by. To get the most out of your bonding time with your dog, make sure you are fully involved with the walk and paying attention to your dog (not texting a friend or checking emails). To make it more interactive, try asking your dog to sit before crossing any roads, or make a game of it and have him ‘give paw’ when you see a red car drive by. These little interactions will help translate to your dog that you are excited to be involved in this walk with him.

 

Better Training Sessions

If you’ve worked with or seen a dog trainer in action, then you’ve probably seen that a tired dog is much easier to train than a restless one. Many dog trainers will ask for the dog to come to the session after his walk, or include a long walk at the beginning of the training session to let out any excess energy. The walk will also help your dog breathe in that fresh air and release similar endorphins in their brains that humans get when walking, resulting in a calmer dog.

 

Weight Loss Motivation

Waking up to a dog pulling blankets off of you, ready for their walk, can be great motivation to get up off your tush and get moving! If you are looking for a weight loss buddy, dogs can be a great motivator. Once you get into the habit of an hour long daily walk with your dog, it will get easier and easier for your body to get through that hour. And as the weight comes off and it gets easier to move, you can start taking your dog for hikes or bike rides! This will not only help keep your waistline in check, but also prevent your dog from becoming lazy and overweight.

 

It not only benefits your dog to go for a daily walk, it also benefits us humans! Take your pooch out for a walk today and you’ll both reap the wonderful benefits!

Brain Games for your Dog

smart-dog

We all love hanging out with our four legged companions; Whether it be going for a nice long walk or strengthening your bond during playtime! While fetch and tug of war can be some fun games we often play with our dogs, but did you know you could be playing some great games that get your dog thinking? We’ve listed a couple of games to play with your dog that will help keep them mentally stimulated and satisfied!

 

Hide and Seek

For this game you will need two people. One person instructs the dog to sit and stay, while the other person goes to hide. Once that person is fully hidden, you can then instruct the dog to go find that person. To make this game easier for the dog to understand at first, it is best to use people that they are bonding with as they will quickly recognise their scent and track them down. To make the game even easier if your dog doesn’t quite get it initially, the person hidden can make a few quiet noises to alert the dog that there is someone to find. This game uses your dogs scent tracking and they get an incredible sense of satisfaction and confidence once they find that person! Make sure to make a big deal when your dog finds the hidden person and give them tons of praise!

 

The Shell Game

 

A well-known game amongst humans, the shell game consists of a ball or some other item hidden under one of three (or more) shells. One person moves around the shells and then the other person has to guess which shell the item is under. It is best to start off very easy for your dog to understand the game. Start off by having your dog sit and stay. Then place a treat under one cup or shell. Instruct your dog to come and he will naturally want to go to the cup he just saw you put a treat under. Slowly, you can increase the amount of cups used. You want your dog to gain confidence in these games, so make sure to not make it too difficult too fast. If 5 cups is too hard for him and he often doesn’t get the correct answer, then reduce it back down to 4 or 3 cups. This game has your dog using his problem solving skills, and just like with most brain games, he will get a big confidence boost when he chooses the correct shell.

 

If you are looking to not only strengthen your bond with your dog, but also help him strengthen his brain power, then you and your dog will definitely benefit by incorporating these fun brain games into your regular routine!