VSSF

Teaching your Dog How to Swim

VSSF Admin - Friday, September 07, 2012


There is nothing more refreshing than taking a swim in the cold pool on a hot day. Give your dog the same luxury by teaching them how to swim! Encourage your dog to join you for a dip in the pool; this is a great way for them to get some exercise while having fun! If they have never been swimming before, you may want to take some time for a few lessons first.

As always, safety comes first! Many people assume that for dogs, swimming comes naturally. However, some breeds, like bulldogs, cannot swim at all. If you have a lightweight dog with short legs you should invest in a life vest or jacket. Also, as you are teaching your dog to swim you should keep a leash on them. The leash will not be a restricting measure, but it will keep your dog from getting into trouble or swimming out too far. You should keep the leash on until your dog is able to swim unassisted. Also, be sure to never leave your dog unattended in the water, this is very dangerous and could permanently ruin the swimming experience for your dog.

Next, make sure to start slow. Don’t startle your dog by throwing them in the pool; that will only ensure that they will be terrified of the water. Get your dog accustomed to the water in a shallow area to let them “get their feet wet” first. If your pet seems apprehensive about entering the water, bring some toys and training treats to persuade them. Verbally praise your pup when they make positive moves towards the water. Once you enter deeper water, provide an arm under your dog’s belly for support. Making your dog feel comfortable and supported to keep them from panicking. If your dog still seems overly nervous, come back to shallow water and let them calm down before repeating.

After you have finished your swimming lesson, you must teach your dog how to get out of the pool or boat. Next, rinse your pup with fresh water to get rid of any residue from the water. Once you have completed all of these necessary steps, remember to give your dog verbal and physical praise. You want your dog to associate swimming with fun and positive times. Repeat these lessons regularly and soon you will have a new swimming buddy!

Bonds are Forever

VSSF Admin - Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Often times, people believe that the only way to create a good bond with their dog is to start when they are puppies, but this is not necessarily true. You still have the ability to create a strong relationship with a dog that you adopt at an older age. It’s hard work to build relationships, but in the end, it’s a labor of love.

Bonding occurs when you and your dog focus on each other, so it is crucial that you take time out of every day to spend with your dog. Do you have more than one dog? Take each one on an individual outing to build a relationship with each one. If you always take them all out together, you are missing out on important bonding opportunities!

People who seem to be reliable to the dogs wind up receiving complete trust in return, an important factor in the bonding process. This means taking them out frequently so that they can avoid an accident, being fed regularly, and not leaving them in a crate for extended periods of time. Think about it, don’t you get along better with those who you can rely on?

There are a few errors that people make when attempting to bond with their pup:

1. It may sound odd, but some people trick their dog into doing something wrong, and then punish the dog to teach them what not to do. Practice success, not failure! Dogs learn better through praise and reward, making them confident and teaching good habits. Your praise is valued by your furry friend, take advantage of that!

2. Extending a correction to something a dog has done wrong can really distress your dog and affects their ability to learn. Corrections to issues should be quick and over before the dog can even get upset, ending with the dog doing the correct thing and then being praised and rewarded for it.

3. Nothing is gained by punishments that inflict pain or fear. In fact, it only makes things worse! By doing this, your dog loses trust in you and confidence in himself/herself.

Here are a few things that you should regularly include in your dog’s schedule to create a healthy bond between you two:

1. Take your dog on outings- just the two of you. This is a great time to work on training and socializing!

2. Train your dog daily for several months. The best types of simple training to create a bond are teaching him/her to stay, retrieving, come-when-called, eye contact, and walking on a loose leash.

3. It is impossible to overstate the benefits of grooming your dog daily. This gets your dog used to human handling and, in particular, your touch.

It is great for you and your dog to create a bond with each other. By doing this, you are making him/her a part of your family, leaving everyone feeling happy!

Exercise Safely With Your Pup!

VSSF Admin - Tuesday, February 28, 2012


We all know that exercise is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For all of us dog lovers, we like to have them participate in our activities, but we have to remember that our energetic little friends have limits that differ from ours.

Here are some potentially hazardous scenarios to avoid when exercising with your pup.

High Jumping- While dogs love to chase around a ball or Frisbee, tossing these objects too high or off of a tall structure can cause your dog to land awkwardly. Unfortunately this accounts for the crippling of many canines each year. Be sure to keep the objects lower to the ground to protect your pet from over extending themselves and causing an injury.

Dangerous Objects- When fetching, use lightweight safe toys like a tennis ball for instance. Heavy and hard objects can damage dog’s teeth when caught. Sticks can also pose a hazard to pups when caught, because they can easily extend to the back of the mouth or throat causing an injury.

Over-Exercising- Our dogs may seem like they have an endless supply of energy, but the reality is, they experience fatigue just like we do. Without moderation a dog will become tired, lethargic, and extended bouts of extreme exercise can lead to more serious conditions like heat stroke or dehydration. Always bring water to keep your canine friend hydrated throughout exercise sessions.

Heat- In South Florida we are accustomed to a hot climate. We have to remember that unlike humans, dogs have an inability to regulate body temperature efficiently. Dogs that have short muzzles, black and long-haired dogs, and especially young or old dogs are most susceptible to overheating. Remember that the top temperature for a working (or allowing a dog to play excessively) is about 85° F. However 85° would be too hot for those dogs that are most susceptible to overheating. Also remember the humidity, as the heat index increases with the level of humidity.

Warming Up- It is crucial to have your dog warm up before sessions of intense exercise like pulling a sled or doing a lot of running. This can prevent strain and fatigue. Light activity allows the pup to warm up his muscles and get moving before taking on a heavier activity load. The rest period after activity is also vital as it is the time allotted for muscle recovery.

Following these basic guidelines will have you and your pet living a happy, safe and healthy lifestyle together. Now all you have to do is get moving!

Are You Ready for Puppy Bowl?

VSSF Admin - Sunday, January 29, 2012

     

If football isn’t your favorite way to spend a Sunday, the Puppy Bowl was made for you. Change the channel from the Super Bowl and turn to Animal Planet’s Annual Puppy Bowl.  The cuteness is on overload with this event. Puppies all come to the arena to fight for the Puppy Bowl statue. This is the 7th season that Animal Planet will be hosting this event, and there are quite a few additions this year! (1)

   Watch these puppies fight for the last bone as they chase each other’s tails in hopes of that sweet victory and drink from that golden water bowl. These adorable puppies are all from shelters. This is the perfect event to watch with your whole family. Tune in to Animal Planet on February 5, 2012 for all the puppy excitement. 

1-   1-  http://animal.discovery.com/tv/puppy-bowl/about.html

2- http://animal.discovery.com/tv/puppy-bowl/

3- http://animal.discovery.com/tv/puppy-bowl/pictures/puppy-bowl-pictures-04.html

Bonds are Forever

VSSF Admin - Friday, January 20, 2012


Often times, people believe that the only way to create a good bond with their dog is to start when they are puppies, but this is not necessarily true. You still have the ability to create a strong relationship with a dog that you adopt at an older age. It’s hard work to build relationships, but in the end, it’s a labor of love.

Bonding occurs when you and your dog focus on each other, so it is crucial that you take time out of every day to spend with your dog. Do you have more than one dog? Take each one on an individual outing to build a relationship with each one. If you always take them all out together, you are missing out on important bonding opportunities!

People who seem to be reliable to the dogs wind up receiving complete trust in return, an important factor in the bonding process. This means taking them out frequently so that they can avoid an accident, being fed regularly, and not leaving them in a crate for extended periods of time. Think about it, don’t you get along better with those who you can rely on?

There are a few errors that people make when attempting to bond with their pup:

  1. It may sound odd, but some people trick their dog into doing something wrong, and then punish the dog to teach them what not to do. Practice success, not failure! Dogs learn better through praise and reward, making them confident and teaching good habits. Your praise is valued by your furry friend, take advantage of that!
  2. Extending a correction to something a dog has done wrong can really distress your dog and affects their ability to learn. Corrections to issues should be quick and over before the dog can even get upset, ending with the dog doing the correct thing and then being praised and rewarded for it.
  3. Nothing is gained by punishments that inflict pain or fear. In fact, it only makes things worse! By doing this, your dog loses trust in you and confidence in himself/herself.

Here are a few things that you should regularly include in your dog’s schedule to create a healthy bond between you two:

  1. Take your dog on outings- just the two of you. This is a great time to work on training and socializing!
  2. Train your dog daily for several months. The best types of simple training to create a bond are teaching him/her to stay, retrieving, come-when-called, eye contact, and walking on a loose leash.
  3. It is impossible to overstate the benefits of grooming your dog daily. This gets your dog used to human handling and, in particular, your touch.

It is great for you and your dog to create a bond with each other. By doing this, you are making him/her a part of your family, leaving everyone feeling happy!


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