Pilates For Dogs

Is your dog a sports lover who relishes agility, flyball, freestyle, or disc dog competition? Or is she more of a couch potato? Perhaps she’s getting on a bit in years? Then your dog could benefit from a proactive approach to injury prevention. That’s where core conditioning—or Pilates—for dogs comes into the picture. In humans, Pilates exercises improve posture, balance, coordination, and range of motion, reduce back pain, alleviate tension, and reduce injuries. Similar exercises can do much the same for dogs. In addition to roll over, down dog (bow), and spin, one of the best exercises for canine core conditioning is the classic sit up and beg position (not advisable for Dachshunds or dogs with back problems). With all these, the trick is to start slowly and gradually build duration and flexibility. To learn more, search YouTube for “pilates for dogs” or buy a book or DVD with instructions.

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Getting Real With Your Dog

One of the most frequent sources of frustration in dog training? Unrealistic expectations. Dogs’ intelligence shines through in so many ways that we tend to ascribe them decidedly human cognitive skills, such as the ability to understand complex sentences. It’s what some dog trainers refer to as “the Lassie syndrome.” If you often find yourself frustrated with your dog, here’s a primer on what it takes to create a Lassie: Patience. One basic training class won’t do it. The calm, attentive pooches you see on TV picking up slippers and opening doors? They have spent years in training. You wouldn’t expect a child to become a piano virtuoso after one semester of classes, right? Repetition. Dogs don’t generalize well. This means they need to learn the same lesson—don’t jump on people, for example—in many different settings before they grasp that we’d always prefer them to greet visitors politely, not just

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Maternal Altruism In Dogs

Human beings are capable of and often display maternal altruism well beyond our own species. We adopt other people’s children, yes, but we also adopt dogs and cats, even trees and roadways. Viewed through an evolutionary lens, this is interesting. Why aren’t we focusing on the survival of our own species—even our own tribe—instead of wasting precious energy and resources on stray cats or endangered fungi? Scientists explain this peculiarity by pointing to our sophisticated cognitive equipment. Because we can project thoughts into the future, we’re able to see the long-term view. The bigger perspective. We understand the principle of goodness and know that caring for others not only makes us feel good, but also sets a standard for kindness that strengthens our community and the potential for reciprocal help. In other words, what goes around comes around. But if that explains why humans show maternal altruism, what about dogs

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Pronounced “try ball,” this fun new dog sport was born in Germany in the mid-2000s when a Dutch hunting and herding dog trainer, Jan Nijboer, wondered if he could teach high-energy dogs to play soccer. The game boils down to getting your dog (or a team of dogs) to push large exercise balls across a field into a goal. While herding-type dogs and dogs who love chase games are natural Treibball contenders, dogs of any age and breed can take part. As with all dog sports, some foundational skills are important. For Treibball, it’s an advantage if your dog knows sit, down, left, right, and object targeting. Playing the game is simple. Arrange eight exercise balls (some play with fewer) in a triangle in the center of your field and set up kid-sized soccer goals or mark the goal zone with orange traffic cones. The dogs—with handlers using commands like

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Dogs In The Spotlight: The Vizsla

 This Hungarian hunter can be found in smooth or wire-haired varieties. Standout characteristics     are grace, intelligence, friendliness, exercise addiction, a penchant for chewing things, and a strong dislike of alone time. The well-socialized Vizsla takes worship of his human family to a new level, something that has earned the breed the nickname “the Velcro dog.” Famous for the hunting skills he was originally bred for, the Vizsla embodies versatility. Rally, agility, flyball, obedience, tracking, and search & rescue, this dog can do it all and is at his happiest after a strenuous workout. Vizlas live by the dictum “run, don’t walk” so the breed is not for everyone. But if you’re an avid hiker or dog sport fan and have time to devote to training and companionship, the Vizsla is a stellar choice. And so pretty, too. To give a Vizsla a forever home, search online for the

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