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Home / Articles / Columnists / Dog World with Tina /  A Daily Requirement
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Friday, January 4,2019

A Daily Requirement

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  

Happy, healthy and prosperous 2019. Hopefully you and your pets fared well through the holidays. I heard about a lot of dogs’ behavioral issues. Most cases share one simple, common denominator. Several people were even considering rehoming their dog. I heard:

• “Our dog barked relentlessly.”

• “Every time we had company, the dog went crazy.”

• “The dog chewed gifts/decorations/personal items.”

• “The dog got very needy/possessive/aggressive/started having accidents in the house.”

• “We had to put the dog in the crate/garage/backyard, because we just couldn’t deal with it.”

My first question, in every instance was: How long and how often do you walk your dog?

The replies I received include these and combinations of: “Well, we have been very busy.” “I work overtime.” “My schedule is packed.” “We had a lot of company/entertaining.” “I was out of town.” “I have an injury.” “My dog doesn’t like to leave our property/fenced yard.” “We can not control our dog, on lead.” “S/he is aggressive to other dogs.” “I didn’t have time.” “I don’t like my dog mixing with others.” “I’m afraid my dog will pick up fleas/ticks.” “We go to the dog park on the weekend.” “It’s my kid’s dog, they are supposed to take care of it.”

A living, breathing, loyal being with needs, your dog’s minimum DAILY requirements include:

• A loving home, boundaries and expectations

• Healthy food in the appropriate amount, from a clean bowl

• Fresh water, clean bowl/refill daily

• Shelter from elements

• Physical, mental and emotional stimulation

The final point above is easy, free, and good for YOU, too! A daily walk satisfies physical, mental and emotional needs. The amount of time and pace depends on your dog’s age, health and energy level. Your dog has expertly guarded your home, and patiently waited all day to have a tiny chunk of your personal, undivided attention. Obviously, a walk serves as a way for the dog to relieve itself, but more importantly a walk is an outlet for pent-up energy. Not walking and/or a lack of stimulation can result in behavioral and health problems. And a trip to the dog park is not a walk replacement.

A neighbor recently fell, broke her ankle and is in a cast for at least eight weeks. Several neighbors take turns walking her dog. One (dog-less) guy is going to continue, after her cast is off, because he’s made new friends from walking a dog. Win-win-win. No dog-loving friends/neighbors? Call a dog walker. No excuses.

Imagine (due to weather or an injury) you’re homebound, for a month. You may not leave your property, or have anyone visit. By the second or third day, you are crawling the walls. This is how your dog feels. They need to get out in the fresh air, blow off some steam, exercise their body and mind - EVERY DAY, at least once. Holidays and crammed schedules are just part of life. Don’t deny your dog (and yourself) the pleasure and benefits of a daily walk. Leash up (avoid flexis/retractables), and don’t forget bags. Together, you’ll discover sights, sounds and (doggy) smells. Use all your senses and be totally present - avoid using your phone. Keep your head up, back straight, and get your heart rate up. Your daily dog walk just might be the best time you spend all day.

Additional pet requirements for responsible pet parents:

• Regular veterinary care

• An emergency plan should you have to evacuate (e.g. hurricane)

• A written (and agreed to) plan should something happen to you

• Instructions and financial consideration to care for your pet in your absence

 

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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The handsome fella pictured is Scout. He is looking for his forever home.


Scout is a tree-walking coon hound, just three years old. Picked up as a stray, he is healthy, has good manners and loves everyone. He is available through Amber’s Animal Outreach, in Palm Beach county  www.AAOdog.org

 

 

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