Sometimes you've just got to make your mark.
I remember years ago growing up we had a sheep dog. A huge, white, fluffy thing and she was anything but well behaved. The fault rarely lies with the dog and in this case I can definitely say that we -my parents and I- were the primary cause of all the canine behavior issues that “Leia” displayed. We didn’t know any better- I was just a kid at the time. Thinking back on it, one of our most basic mistakes is still one that is very common among many dog owners that I have met. That mistake was allowing her to feed herself. That means that we would just keep the bowl full of kibble and top it up as needed.
Leia -named after the intergalactic princess- could eat when she felt hungry, could eat as much as she liked and she was anything but princess-like. However she would do one cute and sweetly funny thing. She would mostly eat only at family meal times. She would go to her bowl, pick up some kibble in her mouth and then bring it to the table. She would then drop it on the floor and eat with the family, return to her bowl and repeat.
Self feeding used to be very common and still is among some of the old school dog owners but thankfully this trend is changing. Many don’t feel it’s a problem and for some it’s not an issue but there are several good reasons to put your dog on a scheduled feeding time and not let them graze at their leisure.
The first and probably the most common sense reason of the bunch is that not regulating your dog’s food intake can easily lead to canine obesity. A few extra pounds on your dog can easily shave several years off their life. Extra weight makes them old before their time and very often leads to diabetes or even cancer. Owners of larger breed dogs -who are prone to joint problems- should also be very conscious about their dog’s weight and overall fitness level.
A slightly less obvious reason to keep your dog on a feeding schedule is so that you know if the dog has a sudden change in appetite. This can be the very first sign of a serious health problem. I know our dog Luna is so food oriented that if she were to pass on a meal I would immediately take her to the vet because she’s telling me there is something seriously wrong. If she were allowed to eat when she felt like it we could potentially miss the change in appetite for days. That could be fatal.
Another reason to maintain a feeding schedule is the simple fact of nature that what goes in must come out. If it goes in on a schedule it often comes out on a schedule. I’m talking about the big number 2. That means that not only is house training much easier but your dog will have a routine that can match your walking schedule. Dogs thrive on routine and it’s much more convenient for us as well. Also, related to the reason above is that if your dog has a routine schedule for bowel movements you will more easily notice if they get constipated.
One of the most common objections to the reasons given above is that they’re all health related. Meaning the dog does not currently have a weight problem, gets lots of exercise and has the run of the back yard so house training is not an issue. There is still a very good reason to keep your dog on a strict feeding routine and I will sum it up in one word – Loyalty.
Loyalty? yes that’s right. As the pack leader the dog must look to you as the provider of all things and work for your approval. Now you might think that Spot knows who fills his bowl but that is not the same as him waiting daily for you to do so. We people like to think of dogs in human terms of love and loyalty and I’m no exception as I feel I’ve a very strong bond with Luna. But I do know that a big part of her loyalty to me comes from the fact that I am the one who feeds her. Actually my wife and I take turns feeding just to make sure that Luna sees us both as providers.
Do our dogs love us? Yes, I’m sure they do but only as long as we fulfill our roles in the pack. The sad truth is that a biscuit will get you more loyalty out of a hungry dog than years of love and affection. It’s just the way the dog mind works. The dog must look to you as the source of their meals. If you allow the dog to “Auto-feed” they look at the bowl as the source and you’re more of a bystander. Training is so much easier too when the dog does not see food as something that is always at hand. They must see that food comes from you and only when you’re pleased with them. Treats used in training can easily be just bits of kibble. If the dog is never hungry a treat is not good motivation to work. Switch to a regular diet plan and get a better behaved dog. I’ve seen the change first hand and it happens in as little as a few days. A dog who must wait for you to feed them is much more interested in you and is more keen to make you happy.
Now before I get a call from PETA please know that I am not advocating that you starve your dog. You need to feed them enough to keep them lean and healthy. First I would recommend that you do not follow the directions on the dog food bag to the letter. Your dog will get fat almost for certain. Feed them twice per day, morning and evening. Measure the amount you give them. Use a proper measuring cup so that it’s consistent and you can regulate how much your giving them. Monitor weight gain or weight loss over time. Don’t guess, measure. That goes for their weight too. You should get your dog weighed at least every vet visit which should be at minimum once per year but every 6 months is closer to ideal. The vet can tell you if they need to eat more or less. Usually more exercise is advised but diet is the foundation of health.
We all love our dogs – if you’re reading this article I can assume that you do too. Keep them in top shape with measured amounts of premium food and regular exercise. If you’re too busy and can’t get them out regularly or feed them regularly you can hire a dog sitter or dog walking service. I just happen to know a very nice one.
How many dogs should the city allow you to have in the Off Leash Area? Take the survey.
The city is looking at painting all dog owners and walkers with the same brush. In typical government problem solving fashion they want to make a blanket rule that applies to all but will not solve any problems.
The misbehavior of some owners is causing grief for the rest of us. I say target the people who are breaking the existing rules we have. Such as those who don’t pick up or who can’t control their pets.
Problems with large packs listed in the survey are:
Dog poop is not picked up
Dog poop bags are not disposed of in garbage cans
Dogs are not kept under control
Creates “pack mentality” among the dogs
Dogs become aggressive
The real problem is that those issues above are more common among people who have 1 or 2 dogs of their own. I see them everyday.
Dog’s are out of their sight, out of control and not being cleaned up after. These owners should get a ticket. Leave the rest of us alone.
Angie takes the pups swimming to beat the heat.
We hope that you will take a second and think about all the good work that the folks at the Calgary Humane Society are doing each day. That’s why we’re pledging our support and raising money to help them meet this year’s goal of $224,000.
The Humane Society makes a real difference in the lives of many animals every day but they rely on us to help them stay in business.
Help us help them by making a small donation at http://www.calgaryhumane.ca/puppiesunleashed. It’s fast, easy and you get a tax receipt emailed to you within seconds. Nothing but good feelings about doing the right thing.
We all know that a healthy lifestyle means diet and exercise. Unfortunately cancer can strike any time. More research is needed to help stop this disease that harms people and animals alike. Funding for canine cancer research helps human research as well. Angelica and I strongly support the Smiling Blue Skies walk to end canine cancer. Today, Angelica and I were on hand passing out great, healthy treats from the Urban Dog Market. Yummy.
If you don’t know about the Smiling Blue Skies walk to end canine cancer in Calgary this is its 10th anniversary. Check out this short video we made to let people know more about it.
Tallulah – our favorite Boston terrier – came to stay with us for a night and we caught some of her antics on camera.
As dog walkers we see lots of dirty parks. Every spring we like to help clean up the park to make it more enjoyable to walk your dog.
It was a beautiful day in the dog park and the dogs really had fun. Have a quick watch to see how much fun we we’re having at the park spring cleanup.
With eye upraised his master’s look to scan,
The joy, the solace, and the aid of man:
The rich man’s guardian and the poor man’s friend,
The only creature faithful to the end.
Several poignant and sad thoughts struck me as I happened upon this picture but one was most tragic of all. It occurred to me that this man may be placed in the position where he could get offered a job but would not have anyone to look after his dog while he was at work. He would be forced to give up his dog to get off the street or risk letting him roam. To help yourself by abandoning your best friend is a trait that only man possesses.
Like the great Samuel Clemens once wrote:
“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”
Winter is history and so is the snow. Green areas and many dog parks are drying up and are no longer big, mud filled dirt bowls. What once was covered in clean white snow is now bare. Snow, like paint, hides many sins and few transgressions are more obvious at this time of year than those committed by who I like to call the “No Poop Scoop Group”
The Calgary Metro column, High Plains Drifter, written by J.Callsen pokes a stern finger at people who won’t “cop to the job” when he writes…
Spring’s here, the smell of doo-doo’s in the air
Every spring, it never ceases to amaze me that, after the snow melts, I’m left with a horrible scent — and a treacherous walk — along the pathways in my neighborhood, all because dog owners are too lazy, or consider themselves too good, to pick up after their pets.
He shows no mercy against people who knowingly leave the dog waste behind. He calls on all of us to be a bit more socially responsible while driving home his point.
Canine lovers of Calgary, please don’t ruin the great outdoors for everyone. Pick up after your pets. And if you believe you’re too good to pick up after a dog, you’re not good enough to own one.
In my experience there are several ways that you could honestly miss your dog doing its business while in the off leash. If you get distracted and are not paying attention this happens to the best of us at times. However there are those who go to the park, turn their dogs loose, then sit and jabber with the rest of the “less than active” dog owners. It strikes me as annoyingly comical how these people can take their dogs to the park daily but think nothing’s amiss that they never see Fido make a no. 2. I would consult a vet if this happened to our dog 2 days running but for them this is because Fido is 2oo yards away and they’re not even looking anyway. There are honest mistakes and there is the old “intentional ignorance” plea.
If you are taking your dog for a walk, good for you. But please do it right. The off leash is just the same as the ball bit at
Your doody duty does not end because there’s no one watching or you can pretend not to notice.
What can you do when you see someone either knowingly or “ignoringly” leaving dog waste behind for your shoe to find? What we do is politely, and as non-confrontational as possible, ask the person if they need a bag. Then hand them one. This points out the dog’s mess and gives them an out to save face. Try it. Hopefully it makes a difference.
Let’s keep it clean Calgary.
John Heinzl, a columnist for the Globe and Mail ran a funny but true little piece on just what it costs to own a dog. His observations are humorous because like most good comedy it’s funny ’cause it’s tragically true. Heinzl goes on to discuss how one might fare if they were to invest their money in a G.I.C vs. a D.O.G.
While this article is a sobering look for anyone considering getting a dog. One needs to remember that you don’t get a dog to make you rich, but they do enrich our lives. I’m sure John doesn’t mean to put anyone off doggy adoption when he says…
The kids were thrilled. Even their dad, who had resisted getting a pet, had to admit it was pretty nice the way Brenda would plop herself down in your lap for a tummy rub and a cuddle.
But it had all been a cruel act.
Not long after we brought Brenda home, my schooling in the true costs of dog ownership began.
A good friend and mentor once told me, “there’s no such thing as a free dog“. This is very wise. Not to mention the demands on your time and money they are a huge emotional commitment as well. One cannot simply write them off as a bad debt like a spontaneous time share purchase.
The author price tags the lifetime ownership cost of his dog to be around $27,502.95 about what one could expect to pay for a nice midsized sedan. Without all the face licking and bum sniffing but where would be the fun in that?
His numbers are a bit out of whack because not many people would consciously set aside the money otherwise spent on a pet into a nice safe 5% return investment. He drives home a good point when he said…
When we adopted Brenda, one of the employees at Toronto Animal Services told us that a lot of owners give up their dogs, not because they don’t love them, but because they have fallen on hard times and can no longer afford them. Now I understand why.
Now you probably already knew that dog ownership is a big step but like many big steps you need to weigh all the options and considerations. Also like many big steps the bigger they are the more reward received. I wouldn’t even think of trading in my 2008 Labrador for a 2012 Mustang.