as first published in "Barks from the (Pet Professional) Guild"
a non-profit whose goal is to help keep dogs out of shelters by educating and supporting their humans www.yourdogsfriend.info | 301-983-5913
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This Coming Weekend's FREE Workshops
Workshops are at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 6030 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda. Only service and demo dogs are allowed. Register at http://yourdogsfriend.org/free-workshops/
Sat, June 22:"What are YOU doing here?" - helping your dog cope with visitors
For your dog, people visiting is usually exciting, terrifying, or a combination of the two. This can lead to excited barking, jumping, or more aggressive looking behaviors like growling, snapping, and even biting. In this workshop, we will teach strategies to help your dog stay calmer and, for fearful or anxious dogs, ways to help them feel less frightened by people invading their space. Speaker: Sarah Stoycos, KPA CTP (www.LaughingDogAcademy.com)
Sun, June 23: Advice for Adopters - guidance for adopters, potential adopters, and fosters
July & August:
July 13: Surviving the Teenage Years - hot to turn your crazy adolescent into a superstar
Sun, July 14: Advice for Adopters
July 27: Dog Training Essentials: loose-leash walking and coming when called
Aug 17: That's a ... CHICKEN!
Sun, Aug 18: Advice for Adopters
Also this Saturday:
Piper's Walk a charity dog walk to raise awareness of canine travel safety Funds raised will go to the Center for Pet Safety for vehicle safety restraint testing.
Saturday, June 22; 8:30 - 11:30am
Fair Hill Shopping Center - 18101 Town Center Drive, Olney, MD
Learn more and register at www.PipersWalk.org These Snoots Were Made for Walking
Wait! Before you answer, realize this question actually has a couple questions buried beneath its surface. One is, what KIND of exercise? Are you fixated on the physical aspect and overlooking the mental part? Another is, exercise for WHOM? Whose walk is it, after all? To be fair, at least some walks should be primarily for our dogs.
So what are you trying to accomplish on dog walks? Maybe power-walking your dog is your way to get a cardio workout. You get your heart rate up, give your dog a chance to do his business…two birds, one stone, etc. Or, you’ve heard the old adage “A tired dog is a good dog”, so you see the walk as a means to both ends–rendering your dog tired, and therefore “good”. And of course, your time is precious and in short supply, so sometimes the quicker your dog takes care of those biological necessities, the quicker you can get it over with. Whatever your mindset, if you rush the walk, you may shortchange your dog of vital mental exercise.
My old dog, Sachem, was an incorrigible lollygagger, stopping every few yards to relish whatever aromas each swath of terrain had to offer. In those days, I was dividing my time between chasing after two small kids and holding down a demanding office job in Washington, D.C. with a long, hectic commute. My default pace was move it-move it, chop-chop. I never slowed down. That included dog walks. I confess, I felt like my pokey dog was holding me up. I also didn’t see how either one of us was going to get any aerobic benefit if she spent more time standing still and snuffling in the grass than marching double-time at my side. I’d stand there with my engine revving, almost resenting her for…well, for being a dog.
These days, as a dog trainer, I spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about dogs, what it might like to be a dog, what dogs may want out of life…and I’ve got a whole new take on walking my current dog, Huckleberry. She’s a hound mix, so sniffing is her main job–and joy–in life. For her, I think going for a walk is like exploring a museum–a museum of smells. If I visit the National Gallery of Art, I’m there to admire, appreciate, ponder. I move at my own pace from painting to painting, soaking in the details, savoring the colors. If I’m especially drawn in, I linger even longer. What if every time I paused to contemplate, somebody tapped my shoulder, pointed to their watch, and said, “Time’s up, gotta go.” I’d feel cheated, and unfulfilled.
Yes, dogs need exercise, and so do we, and there’s no question that walks can fulfill that need. But our dogs need mental exercise too, not just the physical kind. They need outlets for their canine drives, chances to just BE dogs. They collect and analyze an unfathomable amount of data–and derive an immeasurable amount of satisfaction–through sniffing all the pungency, putrefaction and pheromonal stinks their world serves up. To our dogs, the outdoors is an emporium of odors, a garden of olfactory delights. It’s not a racetrack with a starting gun, a pace car, a timer, and a finish line. There’s no goal in mind, no “are we there yet?” As the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Your dog agrees. So walk, yes. Even walk fast (or run!) when it suits you and your dog. But remember to enjoy the journey, and take time to stop to smell the…well, you know what I mean.
About Karen Baragona
Karen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) who is the owner/trainer of Eager Beagle Dog Training in Alexandria. She has worked with hundreds of dogs in classes, homes, and shelters. Karen is also a licensed educator with Family Paws Parent Education, helping families with dogs prepare for and adjust to life with babies and toddlers.
"Learn to Speak Dog: how to understand and communicate effectively with your dog", presented by Jessey Scheip, KPA CTP, trainer at veterinary behaviorist Dr. Amy Pike's Animal Behavior Wellness Center
"On the Go: Bringing Your Dog Out & About Around Distractions", presented by Dog Latin senior trainer, Juliana Willems, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA
Help, My Dog is Reactive!with veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Leslie Sinn, DVM, DACVB, CPDT-KA of Behavior Solutions for Pets
PTSD in Pets with veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Amy Pike, DVM, DACVB of Animal Behavior Wellness Center
Helping Your Fearful Dog Navigate the World with Dog Latin dog trainer, Juliana Willems, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA
Fun, Enriching Activities for Your Dogwith Eager Beagle trainer, Karen Baragona, CPDT-KA
There's a lot of great information, and it's FREE! #ThanksToMaddie Classes
Adolescent Dog Class:
- Tues, Jun 25 - Jul 30 @ 5:45 - 6:45pm
- Sat, Jul 13 - Aug 17 @ 1:30 - 2:30pm For puppies 5 to 10 months old. This class is a great option for puppies too old for Puppy Kindergarten! Adolescent Dog graduates can then go onto Puppy 1st Grade if they're under 1 year old or have the instructor's permission.
Basic Manners 1: Sun, Jul 7 - Aug 11 @ 2:50 - 3:50pm Start teaching basic good manners and learn what motivates your dog and how to communicate with them. Basic Manners is also builds a foundation for many of our other classes.
Puppy 1st Grade:
- Wed, Jul 10 - Aug 21 (no class on Aug 7) @ 11:45am - 12:45pm
- Sun, Jul 21 - Aug 25 @ 8:30 - 9:30pm For our Puppy Kindergarten graduates or with instructor's permission.
Puppy 2nd Grade:
- Sat, Jul 13 - Aug 17 @ 2:45 - 3:45pm For our Puppy 1st Grade graduates or with instructor's permission.
Distracted Dog Class: Sat, Jul 20 - Aug 24 @ 5:15 - 6:30pm Learn to help your impulsive, impatient dog control his normal doggy impulses and pay more attention to you, even around distractions. Best suited for dogs who have taken two Basic Manners courses or who have the equivalent behaviors installed. Please speak to the instructor to ensure this class is suitable for your dog.