When’s the last time you and your dog worked up a sweat together? After having high temperatures and even higher humidity these last few days in New York, today is beautiful. As I write this the sun is shining and its only 65 degrees this morning. The weatherman promises it’s not going to be any hotter than 76 degrees today. This is the type of day to get out and enjoy nature. Yes sir, I like this day all ready!
What kinds of things do you do to have fun with your dogs? Do you take them hiking? Do you go swimming with them? How do you take advantage of a beautiful day like this to enjoy with your dogs? I have been really bad about getting my dogs out. “Amber” and “Bu” love to go for walks. “Jess” is not really thrilled with it. She’d rather be home eating something! The trick for me today will be to get them all out one by one. The problem is when you take one out, the rest carry on screaming and complaining.
Oh I tried taking two of them out together. One day, I took the two sisters out to a local park with trails around the outside of the lawn. Let me tell you that was a big mistake. You try to do something fun and it was more aggravation than anything else. I should have known better than that with my two “wild childs!” All they did was crisscrossing one another and tangling up the leashes more than I care to remember. So “OK, I shout……I’ve had enough. Your sorry little butts are going back to the car.” So we turn around and do the same thing with twisting up the leashes while desperately trying to make it back to the car. You want to build up a sweat? There you go. Try handling two uncontrollable youngsters. Caesar Milan where are you when I need you?
I live at the bottom of a mountain. My mother all ways called this God’s little mountain. And right she was. When you go hiking up the mountain, the noise and the traffic slowly diminishes the higher you climb. All of a sudden you become very aware of the stillness and the silence. You truly are one with nature.
One day I took Amber up the mountain. This used to be a routine of ours as part of her exercise program. I’d walk her up part of the trail on a leash. When we got safely away from the road, I’d let her run loose. “Yee haw!” She loved it. Freedom at last. I was all ways aware of the danger of being in the woods and the many wild animals that we share these woods with. It would all ways make me a bit nervous. You never know what you may run into when you least expect it. On this day, we ran into a bunch of deer. “Amber” saw them and she was in hot pursuit. They took off so quickly up over the hill, she stopped as if to say, “Where did they go?” Thank God I put basic obedience training in her. I called her back to me because she knew when she came; she’d be rewarded with those treats that I all ways carried in my pocket when going out for a walk. My biggest fear was that we might run into a black bear. We never did. Thank God.
German Shepherds love to go everywhere with their owners. Exploring the woods and trails of a mountain excites their senses. “Bu” is at her happiest when she’s exploring things. Her tail never stops wagging. My biggest concern this time of year is those little nasty cousins of the yucky spiders known as the tick. I no longer use any of those poisons on my dogs. Every day they get sprayed with lavender oil mixed with water. I haven’t found any ticks on them for these last two summers. However, I haven’t taken them for a walk in the woods in a long time either.
Because our dogs are great companions, it’s a shame if we don’t include them in more of our outdoor activities. My first German Shepherd I used to take hiking with me. We’d take her to a river and she loved to go swimming. She was the type of dog that would try anything as long as she was doing it with us, she was happy. Only problem with Helga is that you didn’t want her swimming too close to you. She’d run you over with her “doggie paddle” style of splashing and kicking. Get too close and she would almost drown you.
When I lived in Westchester, my friend Nancy Vaught (Masstana Shepherds) and I used to go out several times a week to exercise our dogs. We would each take a couple of our dogs to the Pound Ridge Reservation and go hiking with them on the trails. I’d take my “Xanadu” and maybe one or two of the others and Nancy would take whoever it was that she was trying to condition for an upcoming show. We never had a problem with any of our dogs getting in to a scuffle. They all knew that they were there to have fun. Some of the trails winded along side of streams that followed us on our long walks. Another time we’d take another path. You know what looking back at those days, I don’t remember ever having problems with ticks. I wasn’t treating my dogs with anything like they have now like Frontline. I might have been using a flea collar, but I don’t remember. This was back in the 80’s. We never ran into any wild animals but we would occasionally hear a deer or two off in the distance. Those were the good old days.
My friend Lorraine Cohen and her husband Marc take their dogs sailing all the time. She’s sent me pictures of some of the dogs on the boat in the past but unfortunately I didn’t save them. She’s been sailing with her dogs for years. All those years ago, she would take her Select Kharu with her. Now her Select Annie and the younger generation go sailing.
Even taking your dog for a walk around the neighborhood can be very rewarding for you and your dog. It’s great exercise for the both of you. It’s a great way to socialize your dog and it’s a great way to bond with your animal. Any dog at any age loves to take a walk. It’s all about him exploring and being with you. Dog shows are fun, but hiking with your dog is even better.
So what kinds of things do you do with your dog? Are you having fun with him? So now that I wrote this short little article, it looks like I’m going to have to get off of my “posterior” and break out in a sweat. It’s summertime and the living is easy……
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My rating: exercising with your dog: (4), raising couch potatoes: (1)