Blog

Looking for a running buddy? These breeds make the best partners

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 @ 01:07 PM

dog-owners.jpgIt's especially important to choose a breed that will blend in well with your lifestyle. Of course, you wouldn't want to partner with a basset hound if you're an athletic runner and looking for a pooch to keep you company along the way. So to help you in the search for the perfect four-legged running partner, we've made a list of the best dog breeds for runners and what makes them a perfect match.

Speed Runners

The Whippet

If speed is what you are looking for, then look no further than the Whippet. This breed is extremely athletic and originally bred for racing. Capable of running up to 35 m.p.h., these dogs are the perfect fit for serious speed runners and athletic families.

Beagles

The adorable Beagle has a hunter's mentality, so early training is important. Known for their quick and active personality, this pooch needs plenty of exercise, making them the perfect companion for those brisk, shorter runs.

 

Long Distance Runners

If your routine includes ten miles or more  there are a few breeds that best suit that kind of distance running. Let's take a look at some medium build breeds that make the perfect running companions.

Golden Lab & Golden Retriever

Of course, these are different breeds, but their running capabilities are pretty similar. These retrievers' large bodies can handle both brisk, short runs, as well as, those long slower runs. Also known as one of the most loyal breeds, they are easily trainable, making them versatile enough for any type of runner.

Jack Russell Terriers

These eager and active dogs need plenty of exercise making them the perfect long distance running partner. Jack Russells are also known for their hunting skills, so you're going to want to take extra care when training as they are easily sidetracked. Because of their short stature, they work best for longer steady runs rather than speed.

Weimaraners

If you love running the trails and hiking paths, the Weimaraner will make a great companion. Best suited for long and steady-paced runs, this breed is versatile and can accommodate a faster pace as well. Weimaraners are super loyal and love to be right by their human companions, making this breed an excellent running partner.

Vizslas

This is certainly one of the most versatile breeds. Possessing tons of energy, the Vizslas should get an hour of exercise each day. These dogs were bred for long days while hunting in the field and thrive on hard exercise.

 

Summer Runners

Fox Terriers

This is a spunky breed is super friendly and energetic. If you are a lover of summer running, Fox Terriers make a great companion as they are able to tolerate heat easier. Early training is important with this breed because they are notorious for eagerly chasing any adventure that can be found.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

This magnificent breed is great for those long steady runs during the summer. Their natural gait and in tune internal engine makes them a great choice for distance runners as well. Rhodesian Ridgebacks average 70 to 85 pounds and are known for their strength and endurance.

 

Winter Runners

German Shepards

For those who love the cold when running, it's important to choose a breed that can tolerate these temperatures. German Shepards are a great breed for winter running. The need for vigorous exercise, substantial coat, and inherent enthusiasm make this a great companion for colder climates.

Siberian Husky

Touting origins from the Northeast Asian climates, this gorgeous dog has a thicker coat than most other breeds. Bred for sledding, the Siberian Husky makes a great cold weather, long distance running companion.

Dog Apt Checklist

Topics: dog care, dog training

Recommended Dog Trainers

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 @ 01:22 PM

In follow up to our blog post on how to choose a dog trainer, Halifax Veterinary Hospital Inc. recommends the following trainers:


Sublime Canine |
http://www.sublimecanine.ca
Amy and Adina McRae
adina@sublimecanine.ca

amy@sublimecanine.ca


Unleashed Pawsabilities |
http://www.unleashedpaws.ca/home.php
Tamara McFarland
info@unleashedpaws.ca

JollyTails
|
http://www.jollytails.ca/dogtraining.html
Tristan Flynn
info@jollytails.ca

Voice4Dogs |
http://www.voice4dogs.com/
Silvia Jay
silvia4dogs@gmail.com

Partners for Life Canine Education | http://www.chimini.com/ObedienceClasses/ObedienceClassesNew.html
Brenda Potter
bpchimini-website@yahoo.com

Topics: dog training

How to Choose a Dog Trainer

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 07:22 AM

by Amanda Mullins, RVT, BSc. (Animal Sciences)

Teaming up with a dog training club can be one of the most enjoyable thingsdog trainer halifax you can do with your dog. Trainers can help help enhance your everyday relationship, help you trouble shoot and they also help you meet like minded dog owners and you can develop lasting people and dog friendships.

Choosing a dog trainer can be one of the most challenging decisions as a pet guardian. A good trainer can aid you and your dog into doing great things together, a bad trainer can set you up for an un-trusting and fearful relationship.

1. Choose a reward based training program:
There are multiple ways to train dogs, it is critical to ask your trainer of their methods. Each dog has their own unique personality, motivators and will thrive with different styles of learning. Make sure your trainer is willing to adjust their program to suit you and your dogs individual needs. Focus on programs that use motivators rather than punisher's. Research proves that punitive training methods and tools (electronic shock collars, pinch/prong collars, choke collars, physical force and intimidation) inhibit learning and the motivation to learn. These methods can worsen problem behaviors and hinder the positive and trusting relationship you want to build with your dog. Avoid trainers who use these methods.

2. Make sure your trainer is also a good teacher.
Often you will attend a group class and have homework to do on your own. It is important to choose a trainer who fully explains the pros and cons of their teaching methods. Ensure that you understand how to teach the desired behavior and what to avoid when teaching your dog at home. Trainers should provide individual feedback to each handler/dog team and help them trouble shoot. Questions should be answered clearly and they should follow up with you to make sure explanations are clear and working. Class sizes should be small enough to ensure each dog has ample working space and the trainer can provide individual attention.

3. Choose a trainer who is committed to their knowledge.
Most trainers are self taught or mentored by another trainer. Be sure to choose someone who follows up with current trends and research. Trainers should attend continuing education events that are relevant to their practice and pay attention to science based results.

4. Choose a trainer who is respectful to you and your dog.
A good trainer will work with you at your pace and comfort level. Trainers should never push you into a situation that stresses yourself or your dog. Make sure your trainer explains the signs of stress, fear or uncertainty your dog may exhibit in a variety of situations. A trainer should never make you feel bad about your progress, comfort level or your dogs individual quirks. Don't be afraid to ask for alternative options during a class or training session. If something isn't working for you or your dog, be sure to address it and find another solution with your trainer.

5. Choose a humble trainer.
A conscientious trainer will not offer training guarantees, these trainers will understand that behavior is variable and always changing. No environment or situation is the same and can elicit different reactions from your dog. A humble trainer is someone who has seen a variety of responses from dogs and who will understand that dog training is a life long process, not a quick fix.

6. Choose a trainer who knows when to collaborate.
Choose a trainer who knows when it is time to ask for help from outside sources. This is important when dealing with problem behaviors. Trainers should feel comfortable referring a client to an animal behaviorist when their options have been exhausted. They should feel comfortable asking for veterinary help when a medical cause may be suspected or medications may need to be used. Trainers should have knowledge of common health problems associated with behavioral concerns and the effects of behavioral medications. All dogs that have behavioral problems should be examined by a veterinarian to rule out a medical cause and a good trainer will insist upon this.

7. Choose a trainer who puts health first.
A training club should insist upon a clean bill of health, vaccine status/titer report and parasite/flea prevention before allowing dogs into the program. Many diseases are infectious and can be spread through the air. Dogs should be considered healthy before spending a lot of time together. Going to a training club should be for the betterment of your dog, not to come home with an illness or parasite.

Topics: animal hospital, dog training, pet training

Moving On: When to Take Your Training to the Next Level

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 @ 09:51 AM

This blog post is by Amanda Mullins, RVT, BSc. (Animal Sciences).  Amanda regularily blogs about Dog Training and Stimulating your Canine through play.  Read Amanda's bio here Fairview Animal Hospital | Meet our Team and ealier posts from Amanda are below.  


Knowing when to move on can be difficult, we fear failure and the unknown. When you have one step perfected it feels good to stay there, you know exactly what will happen and you feel successful. However, staying in one place too long can become boring, we don't challenge our minds, our dogs get really good at one thing and then can't advance. I find it hard to know when to move on to the next step, I am a perfectionist and I am afraid to fail. I like plans and instant results.

Thankfully I belong to a wonderful training club and have all my team mates there to support Hen and I. They provide invaluable feedback and advice on when to “take it to the next level”.

Henry and I recently attended an agility training match. I always keep my expectations low and set small achievable goals. My problem is knowing when to move on and challenge myself and Hen. This was day was quite profound for me as I learned quickly that moving on is wonderful! I hope this series of videos will offer some of you support in moving on to more challenging training.

1. Baby steps
Goal: Keep handler focus and avoid pre-mature victory runs.



To achieve my goals I chose one obstacle, set him up and released him through it. I rewarded the sit-stay several times. All good right? No. This is basic stuff we learned a year ago, I should trust my dog to do these basic behaviors. See how he is pulling on his collar towards the obstacle? He is ready to go! He is looking through towards the next obstacle completely ignoring his tug toy... which I carefully lay out in front of him. He couldn't be more clear in telling me “Let me do my job, darn it!”.

2. Taking it up a notch
Goal: Keep handler focus and avoid pre-mature victory runs (remember, this was our goal for the first run and we achieved it, so I should have set the bar a little higher).



I was thankful to have had our training coach there to push me to the next step. She kindly advised me to relax, have fun and let your dog do his job! So, this time I chained several obstacles and he rocked it! But, I still wasn't cutting the umbilical cord. You can see I keep doing the same two obstacles (tire and  tunnel). Hen was really good at it, it felt good to be successful so I kept doing it. Until, our coach tells me “try something different!”. So, we moved onto a few more obstacles and guess what? he was successful at that too! I shouldn't have been surprised. I laid the foundation for basic behaviors and my dog is able to do more advanced techniques. We have moved on without even knowing it.

3. Cutting the umbilical cord

It was after this that our coach came to me and said, “run your dog like you mean it. He knows his job, he can do it!” Seeing the fear in my face of being unsuccessful at the next level of training, she took him in the ring and ran him herself. She went in with confidence that he knew his basic maneuvers and we laid our foundation behaviors out clearly so Hen could be successful. She was able to get Henry through the course and only lost his attention once. 


The moral of the story?

Training with friends and being part of a training club can provide great insight into your training. Advancing your training keeps your dog engaged and their minds fresh, it keeps them working for you. You can miss out on a whole lot if you stay in one place forever.

Topics: dog care, dog training

Easy Ways to Mentally Challenge your Dog!

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 @ 09:58 AM

Easy Ways to Mentally Challenge your Dog!-- brought to you By: Miranda Wimbush, RVT

Throughout history dogs have spent the majority of their waking hours stalking, hunting , capturing and eating prey. Fast forward to today when most dogs spend a couple of minutes at best gobbling down their food out of a bowl. Where’s the challenge in that? As a result of having little mental challenge  dogs quickly become bored and resort to undesirable  behaviors such as barking, chewing and digging.

So what’s the solution?  Challenge your dogs brain by making him work for every meal! 

What does “working for their food” really mean?

Working for their food means slowing dogs down and making them think to get their daily rations. This can be accomplished by having a short 5 minute training session at each meal time or by using interactive food distribution toys. There are many on the market, so I’ll walk you through a few of my favorites!

Kongdescribe the image

Kongs are tough rubber toys that are shaped like a snowman and hollow inside. They can be
stuffed with the dogs supper, cemented together with some peanut butter  or cheese whiz and served! For more advanced chewers they can even be frozen. For more stuffing ideas visit http://www.kongcompany.com/recipes/

Buster Cube or Tricky Treat ballbuster cube

 The Buster Cube are both food distribution toys that your dog must push around. You pour the dogs supper into the top and it distributes into internal compartments. As your dog pushes the cube around the floor the toy releases a couple kibbles at a time. This toy has the added benefit of exercising your dog physically as well as mentally while its eating!

The Aikouaikou

The Aikou ( pronounced IQ) is a feeding station with many compartments that you fill with food. The dog must used its paws and nose to open the compartments and get his supper! This device is easy to use, just one simple step beyond filling up your dogs food bowl!

Nina Ottinson Dog Puzzles

Nina Ottison Puzzles are challenging, interactive puzzles for dogs that come in many different styles. The dogs must use their nose and paws to lift up or push pieces aside to reveal the food underneath. These are great for dogs that need a lot of mental challenge as there are so many to choose from! For a complete list of all the different games visit http://www.nina-ottosson.com/Dog-2.php

ninapuzzle

Busy Buddy Toys

Busy Buddy makes a variety of fun food distribution toys. From the Twist and Treat, that you open up, fill with  food and screw back together, to the Tug-A-Jug, and bottle shaped toy that you fill with food and the dog has to shake and play with the rope toy to get the treats out.

busybusy buddy

 

Kong Wobblerkong wobbler

The Kong Wobbler is a hard plastic toy with a rounded bottom that waves back and forth when the dog hits it with his nose or paws. It’s a great stationary toy that will keep your dog entertained!

Feeding your dog with a food distribution toy is an easy way for you to provide your dog with some much needed mental stimulation. In addition to reducing boredom and destructive behaviors’, these toys also slow down eating, which is better for digestion, and help prevent obesity by keeping the dog active while they’re eating. It’s a win win situation!

Topics: dog care, dog training, dog toys

Enthusiastic Canines: Victory Runs: The Ultimate Reward

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Thu, Apr 04, 2013 @ 07:49 AM

A follow up to impulse control exercises: Victory Runs: The Ultimate Reward
by Amanda Mullins, RVT, BSc. (Animal Sciences)

Who doesn't enjoy a good victory run!? When a minute or two go by of practicing the exercisesMtW find a rewardable moment (maybe your dog held a stay for a full minute) and let them go crazy. I know this sounds contradictory, but remaining calm and still is very hard for spirited dogs if this can be followed by the ultimate reward (getting their sillies out through running and playing) they will work harder at it. Keep play and excitement as your “jackpot” rewards.

There is nothing that puts a smile on my face quite like watching Henry get his sillies out. He works hard to be calm and settled, when I give him the okay to have a zoom around the yard it's like opening a big can of Joy and watching it explode into the world!

Using your dogs enthusiasm for life as a reward for performing impulse control can be a powerful training tool.

Topics: Halifax vet, animal hospital, dog training

Enthusiastic Canines Part Three Impulse Control: Advanced Exercises

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Tue, Apr 02, 2013 @ 08:26 AM


This blog post is the third in a series by Amanda Mullins, RVT, BSc. (Animal Sciences).  Read Amanda's bio here Fairview Animal Hospital | Meet our Team and ealier posts from the series are below.  

Here are two more exercises that are a little more advanced but absolutely necessary to teach your dog. Teaching these behaviors has been a life saver for both Henry and I, they have also helped keep me sane when out and about with Henry!spaz

1. Settle

“Settle” is a tough one. Imagine getting your super enthusiastic dog to suddenly calm down. You may have to use a lure or wait to capture the behavior. Settle can take some time and patience, but can be so rewarding for dog and human when achieved.

The following link provides some good information for helping settle your dog:
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1574

2. Polite Leash Walking

Leash pulling ahead of you or towards other dogs or people are impulsive behaviors. The dog wants something so he pulls towards it and we usually follow behind him. Heeling is often referred to as a “walking stay” and requires a lot of self control but is very doable. It requires patience on the owners part and extreme consistency. Plan to leave several minutes prior to when you need to be at your destination to accommodate for this exercise. Everywhere you go practice this. I will admit that I allowed Henry to be impulsive and pull on his leash for 1 ½ years. I tried no-pull harnesses, head collars, slip collars, swinging the leash out in front of us, wrapping the leash around his belly (these last two are strongly discouraged and can be damaging to the dog both mentally and physically). I was clearly at the end of any ideas and was only looking for a tool to fix my problems rather than taking the time to gently show my dog what I expected of him and set him up for success. It seemed impossible at the time to correct this, I would become frustrated and irritable after walking for only a few minutes. It was after one walk on a cold, slippery winter day that I realized I would become seriously injured if I did not address this. I needed to go back to basics, leave my “training tools” at home and set clear criteria. I imagined myself on a beach and set out to do this the right way. I started my journey on the ultimate impulse control exercise. You will need a lot of cookies for this. The first time out, it took me one full hour to get around one block. Now, I can easily walk with Henry without the risk of him pulling towards a reactive dog or pulling me down. We are still a work in progress (after all I have 1 ½ years of pulling to undo!) but make small improvments everyday.

Please see the link for instructions on walking hand in paw with your dog:

A good training club will teach you the mechanics of these exercises and provide you information on troubleshooting. Remember, never use physical correction, manipulation or punishment when interacting with your dog.

Topics: dog care, dog training, vet halifax

Enthusiastic Canines Part Two- Impulse Control: Beginner Exercises

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 @ 05:19 PM

This blog post is the second in a three part series, by Amanda Mullins, RVT, BSc. (Animal Sciences).  Read part one herebeach

So, we can all agree now that impulse control is an important skill for dogs to learn, but how do we teach this?

It is important to teach all dogs but a special emphasis is needed for more spirited or enthusiastic dogs. The goal with self restraint is not to squash the dogs energy, but rather channel it to more appropriate activities. The key is building value (through fun and rewarding exercises) to be with their people and to perform behaviors that contradict the impulsive behaviors.

(Note: all of the basic commands (stay, leave it, come, down, sit etc.) should be taught at your basic obedience class or puppy school. If you need clarification or help on how to train basic manners or would like a recommendation for a trainer please contact me at Fairview Animal Hospital (443-9385).

Here are some of my favorite basic impulse control exercises, these are great stepping stones for more advanced exercises.

1. Waiting/Staying

“Wait” goes back to basic obedience.  We often don't know what is on the other side of a door, is it a reactive dog? Busy street? Small child? “Wait” can be used in car doors, entries and exits of rooms and buildings, keeping your dog in a safe area while you check out a new situation etc. I especially like to use “wait” with passageways. We eventually would like our dogs to wait automatically for our approval to walk through a doorway, this would have been helpful when Henry bolted from the gate.

2. Nothing in Life is Free

Employ the “leave it” or “wait” cue prior to feeding, treating or playing with your dog. If your dog breaks their “leave it” prior to your okay simply pick up the object and put it away. Wait a second or two, re-situate your dog and begin again. This can be done with dinner bowls, toys or earning off-leash privileges. For example, when entering a park Henry must sit and wait while I walk out ahead of him, if he breaks his “wait” I simply put his leash on and walk to the entrance of the park and we begin again. If he breaks his “leave it” while earning supper, I pick up his bowl and we start again. If he holds his position he learns that off-leash rights or his dinner arrive much more quickly.

3. Focus

“Focus” is a wonderful cue to teach. A focus to me is my dog coming to me and making eye contact, your criteria may differ based on your preferences. Focus is a great cue to use when there are many distractions, be sure to have a high value reward so focusing is much more fun than everything else going on.

Hopefully these exercises help you begin your journey with impulse control. Remember to begin practicing these exercises in low distraction areas and slowly move up to more excitable environments. Always set your dog up for success!

Stay tuned for more advanced impulse control exercises.

Topics: dog care, dog training, vet halifax

Enthusiastic Canines Part 1 -- Impulse Control: a life saving skill

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 @ 03:34 PM

This post is part 1 of a 3 part series brought to you by Amanda Mullins, RVT, BSc. (Animal Sciences).  Amanda is at our Fairview location, read her bio here

It's a beautiful day, the sun is out, there are no clouds in the sky and a gentle breeze blows. Perfect.hike

You are in your backyard with your dog walking through the grass in bare feet. You connect with your dog and get ready for the first obstacle. The tunnel. That's right, it's summer and you are in your yard playing some agility. There is nothing else like it! Your dog finds the obstacle and pummels through it! Success! You are two separate beings but connected as one through this amazing dog sport.

Then there is “Dad”, the definition of fun. Dad sets no boundaries or rules. Dad is awesome! and he is walking up the drive way coming to say hello. The connection is broken. Your dog races for Dad, he just absolutely has to say hello with his whole being. He throws himself at the gate and the gate swings wide open. Then there is no Dad, only the whole world at your dogs disposal. Everyone freezes for a split second afraid to move or say anything. Until your Doberman is racing down Chebucto Road heading for the Armdale Rotary.

Impulse Control.

My name is Amanda (see bio here) and this is a true story. I am thrilled to say Henry was collected safe and sound. Henry is my two year old Doberman Pinscher who has a certain zest for life. He believes everything in life is good and has so much enthusaism for life joy just radiates from him. However, this could have been my boys very last run, it was a life or death situation. I put him in immediate danger simply by not teaching him impulse control. His life could have ended at one year of age due to my negligence of teaching him a life saving skill.

Quite literally, impulse control is self restraint to keep yourself, people and other animals safe. Dangerous impulses can include biting, bolting into a dangerous area, eating foreign objects (which happens to be Henry's claim to fame) and over zealous play.  Common impulses we see are rushing through doorways, jumping out of the car before you grab a leash, leash pulling, charging at other dogs, jumping on people and counter surfing. These may seem like minor behavior problems to some but can be dangerous if your dog pulls on his leash and you slip on ice, pulls on their leash towards a fearful or reactive dog, steals some chocolate off the counter, eats a blanket and requires surgery (ahem, Henry...) or bolts out of the car on a busy road.

Impulse control is near and dear to my heart and has saved Henry many times.

It is an important skill to teach all dogs but a special emphasis is needed for more spirited or enthusiastic dogs. The goal with self restraint is not to squash the dogs energy or spirit, but rather channel it to more appropriate activities. The key is building value (through fun and rewarding exercises) to be with their people and to perform behaviors that contradict impulsive behaviors (counter-conditioning).

Stay tuned for part two: impulse control exercises.

Topics: dog training, impulse control