JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Busy Pets Are Happy Pets: Fun Ways to Keep Your Pet Active

Dog

It seems like the most natural thing in the world—our pets need food, water, medical care and lots of love. But dogs and cats have other needs, too. Our furry friends need ample physical exercise and mental stimulation to lead truly full and happy lives.

“They need jobs,” says Kristen Collins, CPDT, ASPCA Animal Trainer. Dogs and cats need to stay busy and engaged, but unfortunately most pets are unemployed—they sit at home, chronically bored, waiting for their humans to return from work. And as we all know, an idle pet can quickly turn into a naughty pet when restlessness becomes overwhelming.

“With nothing to do, dogs and cats are forced to find ways to entertain themselves,” explains Kristen. “Their activities of choice often include behaviors we find problematic, like excessive barking or meowing, gnawing on shoes, raiding the garbage, eating houseplants and scratching furniture.”

To prevent behavior and health problems, Kristen recommends the following physical and mental workouts—both when you’re there to join the fun and when your pet is home alone.

  • Move it! Healthy adult dogs need at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise twice a day. Jogging, swimming and playing at the dog park are all great ways to burn excess energy.
  • Get Their Games On: Engage in structured games, like fetch and tug-of-war—they’re not only great exercise but also teach your pet impulse control and strengthen the bond between you.
  • Engage in the Hunt: Keep your dog occupied when he’s home alone by giving him a food-stuffed puzzle toy, like the Kong, or some tasty chew toys.
  • Let’s Get Physical: Like their canine counterparts, cats also need plenty of aerobic exercise. Get kitty fit with rousing play sessions, such as chase and fetch with furry toys, small balls or toy mice.
  • Feline Pastimes: Encourage your cat’s favorite home alone activities, including bird watching, exploring paper bags or boxes, watching cat videos or spending time in secure outdoor enclosures.
  • Teach Your Cat New Tricks! Felines are quick studies and can learn practical skills like coming when called, sitting up, rolling over and even using the toilet!

Kristen adds: “The bottom line is that you’re responsible for enriching your pet’s life. Providing opportunities to exercise your cat or dog’s mind and body will keep her healthy and happy—and enhance your relationship, too.”

For more information about enriching your pet’s life, please check out expert advice from our Virtual Pet Behaviorist.

Source:  ASPCA

Posted: Just One More Pet

Dogwise, All Things Dog!

Monthly Feature: BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS IN DOGS

Related Resources:

August 30, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet and Animal Training, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pet Health, pet products, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How to Build a Pet Agility Course

woman helping her dog through weave poles

Overview

1: Jump Bars2: Cut the Bar Rests

3: Assemble the Jump4: Weave Poles

5: Connect the Base Pieces6: Align the Poles

7: Add End Supports8: Teeter-Totter

9: Find the Plank Balance Point10: Drill for the Center Spin Pipe

11: Bolt on the Center Spin Pipe12: Paint the Board

13: Attach Balance Weights 14: Assemble the Base

15: Position the Plank on the Base

You have your tricked-out media room. The kids have their backyard playground. But what about your dog? We think this oh-so-important family member deserves a special home recreation area too.

Which is why we recommend getting everyone together this weekend and building her an agility course. Not only will it give you and your family some quality bonding time with your favorite canine, the workout the course can provide will be great for your dog’s health, behavior, and longevity. “Active dogs tend to keep fluid in their joints longer, which lessens the effects of aging,” says Carrie DeYoung of the American Kennel Club. And watching your pup fly over hurdles, whip around poles, and balance herself on a teeter-totter provides way more family entertainment than watching TV or playing video games. Here’s how to build your dog’s recreation area.

Clean the printing off the pipes using clear PVC cleaner (optional). Mark each section of pipe to length using the cut list below. Cut all the sections using a pull saw. Write the length of each section at the end of the pipe where the marking will later be covered by a connector or end cap.

Cut List
(All 1½-inch pipe, unless otherwise noted)
Agility Jump (download plan here)
8 @ 12 inches
2 @ 48 inches
2 @ 5½ inches
2 @ 6½ inches
2 @ 15¼ inches
Weave Poles (download plan here)
4 @ 18½ inches
2 @ 12 inches
2 @ 24 inches
6 @ 40 inches
Teeter-Totter (download plan here)
8 @ 3¼ inches
8 @ 19 inches
4 @ 14½ inches
4 @ 12-inch
1 @ 12 inches (2-inch pipe)

cut diagrams of three excise units of a pet agility course

1. Jump Bars
This jump bar helps Fido build up his hindquarters and develop a better sense of boundaries. It also helps breeds that are prone to hip problems (such as Labs and German shepherds) improve strength and agility.

dog jumping over jump bars in yard

Photo:  Wendell T. Webber

By: KEITH PANDOLFI AND JENNIFER STIMPSON, This Old House magazine

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pet Health, Pets | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment