Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rain, Sleet, or Snow!

Dogs are like the US postal service. Rain, sleet or shine, they need to get out.

High energy dogs – especially hunters and working breeds (labs, golden retrievers, Visalas, pointers, terriers) need daily activity, regardless of the weather.

While many dogs may naturally accept a day on the couch when the weather is wet or cold, high energy dogs get more wound up the more they’re cooped up.

Weather can be a tool. When I work with dogs on behavior issues, one trick to inducing their trust in my leadership is to use foul weather as my environment. They are more inclined to want a strong leader at that moment, so I stay out front and keep a strong pace, and they bond with me faster! If there is snow, we run around and play catch with snowballs. It’s fun for both me and the dogs, and we all go home tired.

Sometimes I employ doggie backpacks and rain slickers to keep dogs covered if they are thin or have health issues. But typically I welcome the rain, which can both cool and calm a dog. Remember: Like people, dogs don’t get colds from rain – they get colds from germs. But getting them too cold can, I believe, make them more susceptible to getting sick or injured. So I gauge the temperature more than the rain.

So don’t worry about your dog getting wet. It’s better to use up those spare towels at home, rather than let the dog chew up your spare couch due to boredom!

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