Tag Archives: hockey

Dog Days of Summer FUN and Tips for Your Keeshond or Other Cold-Weather Breeds

1 Aug
Clancy is looking forward to cooling off in the lake.

Clancy is looking forward to cooling off in the lake.

Okay, it’s hot for us 98 degree F blooded humans this time of year…  now imagine being a 101 degree F blooded canine and having a fur coat…  and if you’re a Keeshond, having a double fur coat on!

For many dogs, including the Kees, it’s not a favorite time of year (nor mine…  I much prefer the cold over the heat.)  Clancy hardly even wants to go outside to do his business…  Funny how many times he barks to go out when it’s below 60 degrees outside and how little he seems to need to relieve himself when it’s above 85 degrees out.

A dog shouldn’t be cooped up inside all summer long though…  (and they certainly shouldn’t live their lives outdoors either!)  There are some things you can do to make life more enjoyable for your furry friend during these dog days of summer and have a little fun together.

Clancy is always first in the water.

Clancy is always first in the water.

Clancy entices a Keesie friend to jump in to cool off, too!

Clancy entices a Keesie friend to jump in to cool off, too!

  • Fill a baby pool up in the backyard and go splashing around with your pup.  C’mon, make-believe that you’re 5 years old again and sit in the center of the pool…  pat the water and encourage your dog to hop in.  If they’re hesitant or don’t seem to like water, start off with an empty pool and let them get used to it.  Make it a game to hop in and out of the empty pool.  Eventually add just a little bit of water and gradually work your way to a full pool.  Make up fun games such as bobbing for hot dog pieces.  Be sure to empty it when you’re through and not leave a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Don’t have a baby pool?  How about just laying out a tarp and have a running hose on it for your dog to roll around or a soaked towel just to stand on?  Dogs sweat through the pads of their feet so it feels good for them to stand in/on something cool.  I know Clancy is hot when he digs in the water dish splashing water all around…  then he just stands in it.

    Clancy in a dock diving competition.

    Clancy in a dock diving competition.

  • Our fun summer dog sport is dock diving (many of you know this already)!  As I mentioned in a previous post on dock diving (I hope to add a second post about the topic in the near future), practically ANY dog can learn how to participate.
    Clancy loves jumping off docks for fun!  Try it yourself at the amazing 24 acre Orion Oaks Dog Park in Lake Orion, Michigan, which offers a large dock with ramps into a lake for the dogs.

    Clancy loves jumping off docks for fun! Try it yourself at the amazing 24 acre Orion Oaks Dog Park in Lake Orion, Michigan, which offers a large dock with ramps into a lake for the dogs.

    There’s even a new offering of various water sports games for your dog.

    One of Clancy's first swims at 9 weeks old

    One of Clancy’s first swims at 9 weeks old

    Many dock diving facilities offer lessons and it’s a great way to have summer fun with your dog.

    6 month old Clancy retrieving a stick

    6 month old Clancy retrieving a stick

    If there is a dock diving competition happening near you, they usually allow you to give it a try during their practice hours.  Usually mornings and Sundays have less competitors trying to practice, so you may end up getting extra pool time. Of course all you really need is a body of water and a dock.

  • Look for fun dog water activities in your area or just enjoy a game of fetch at a dog friendly pool or the beach.
    Clancy cooling off with other dogs at a pet fundraiser.

    Clancy cooling off with other dogs at a pet fundraiser.

    There are often fun dog events and fundraisers that non-profit organizations or clubs put on throughout the summer.  For example, Clancy looks forward to the SPCA Puppy Plunge each August, a fun and wet dog fundraiser event at a local YMCA summer camp on the river.   Below is a video of Clancy enjoying the event last year where we helped to raise over $200 in pledges for that local SPCA. 

Search online for events in your area or check with your local humane society. 675 There are also often “end of summer dog pool days” or “dog waterpark days”

Doggie pool party!

Doggie pool party!

at many local community pools and waterparks on their final days before closing for the season.

Clancy enjoying the dog days of summer in style.

Clancy enjoying the dog days of summer in style.

Be sure to rinse out the chlorine or river water off of your dog when you’re finished.

Little puppy Clancy keeping cool at his first hockey game.

Little puppy Clancy keeping cool at his first hockey game.

  • Take your dog to a summer ice hockey game at the local ice rink (if allowed.)  Often there are recreational late night games and many ice rinks don’t mind you bringing your well-behaved dog in with you to watch the game.  Dogs will likely enjoy climbing the mountains of snow the Zamboni dumps behind the building, too.
    Young Clancy trying to be like his goalie

    Young Clancy trying to be like his goalie “dad”.

    Clancy became the “unofficial mascot” for my husband’s hockey team since he never missed a chance tagging along to the cool confines of the ice rink.

  • Take field trips to air conditioned places…  dogs love to go anywhere with you, so just load them up and take them to a pet supplies store or a family member’s home just because…
  • Physically and mentally exercise your dog inside in the air conditioning.  Teach your dog a new trick or build on manners and obedience skills by requiring them to wait longer to be released, etc.  Use interactive toys, a treat dispensing toy, puzzle toys, drag toys on a rope or use a laser to get them moving.  Buy a dog treadmill.  You can sometimes find a deal on Craigslist.  Clancy walks on his treadmill indoors in the AC and with a fan blowing on him.  He definitely prefers this over taking walks in the 90+ degree summer heat.  Watch the video below of Clancy and his treadmill tips.

Some Summer Common-sense:

I likely don’t have to tell you these known facts because you probably already know, but just in case: IMG_3800_1

  • Be sure to bring plenty of cool water for your dog when you are spending time outside in hot weather and offer it to your dog often.
  • Be aware of the pavement temperatures…  if it is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot on your dog’s feet, too! dogs-hot-asphalt-chart Walk them early in the morning, choose the shady side of the street, walk them in the grass, carry them over hot asphalt if possible or have them wear doggie booties if they will be walking on hot pavement.
  • NEVER leave your dog in a car, even with the windows open.  Try sitting in a car on a summer day with the windows just cracked and see how long you last before you can’t take it anymore…  it’s literally just seconds. IMG_5114
  • Provide shade with a canopy, umbrella, or something that your dog can use to get out of the sun when you’re at a picnic or other event.  Dogs can get sunburnt too, not to mention how much hotter it is to be in the sun versus the shade.
  • Bring a couple of powerful battery operated fans to blow on your dog.

    Clancy keeping cool by being wet, laying in a ventilated beach tent with a portable fan.

    Clancy keeping cool by being wet, laying in a ventilated beach tent with a portable fan and his water.

  • You may want to try cooling mats/beds and or cooling jackets.  I personally haven’t had success with these on my Keeshond, but they may be good for other dogs.
  • Know the signs of heat stress.

    Clancy, like all Kees, have a beautiful double coat.  When it's hot, should you shave a Keeshond?  No. No. No.  Use the tips in this blog post to make your dog comfortable.

    Clancy, like all Kees, have a beautiful double coat. When it’s hot, should you shave a Keeshond? No. No. No. Use the tips in this blog post to make your dog comfortable.

  • Keep your dog properly groomed, especially if it is a double-coated breed, such as the Keeshond.  Line-brushing your Kees to ensure the fur is combed through all the way to the skin will allow air to circulate keeping your Kees comfortable.  Please see my comments below about shaving Keeshonden.

Finally, I know this may be a controversial subject for some, but as much as you think you are doing a favor by shaving them, please do not shave your double-coated breed, particularly the Keeshond.

During the summer, the 2nd most common question I’m asked when I’m out with Clancy (first most common is always “What kind of dog IS that?!”) is “aren’t you going to shave him?”  Well, I’m sure the inquirer is expecting a yes or no answer, most likely a yes answer.  However, I feel I have to accompany an explanation with my answer of “no”.

Clancy prefers the air conditioning vent over his bed during the summer...  the cat is happy about that!

Clancy prefers the air conditioning vent over his bed during the summer… the cat is happy about that!

I explain how the double coat insulates him from the cold AND the heat, how fair their skin is and how easily they would get sun-burnt and their coat would not grow back the same way it’s meant to be.   Just brush your Kees a little more regularly during the hot months to encourage air flow and your Kees will be fine, especially with the tips I listed above.

This has always been Clancy's favorite way to cool down.  What's your dog's fave way to beat the heat?

This has always been Clancy’s favorite way to cool down. What’s your dog’s fave way to beat the heat?

Please feel free to share your own suggestions on having fun with your dog when it’s hot and enjoy the rest of summer with your pup!

“Be your dog’s best friend!” ~ SSB

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Video

A Cute Dog Trick from a Hockey Fan

15 Jun

As Clancy and I watch Game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals (we’re big hockey fans), here’s a quick, funny and cute dog trick video poking fun at the Tampa Bay Lightning fans.  This is another fluffy dog tricks video dedicated to bringing attention to rescuing the Keeshonden in Marjorie’s Puppy Mill in Harpursville, New York.  Please learn more at www.KeesRescue.com.  For each milestone met on the #FreeTheKees petition, we post another dog trick video!

P.S.  Our favorite teams aren’t involved…  but we do respect the Bolts and the Chicago Blackhawks!

Clancy hiding head

Clancy pond hockey

P.P.S.  The Keeshond Karnival and Symposium was a lot fun!  We will share more about it soon.  Despite it being quite warm, Clancy did well in his dog trick show performance.  He performed this trick from this video, too.  🙂

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! (with caution)

31 Jan
Many dogs love the snow, the Keeshond adores it!

Many dogs love the snow, the Keeshond adores it!  Clancy looks up as if to say, “C’mon out!  The snow is great!”

While most dogs would want to be indoors (and should be!) cuddling with their human friends in front of the fireplace during the extreme cold spells and snow that have been blanketing much of North America this winter season, there are a few breeds that would actually want to spend more time outdoors.  As you may guess from their fur coat, the Keeshond would be one of them!

Clancy enjoys the companionship of the snow  when he can.

Clancy enjoys the companionship of the snow when he can.

The Keeshond is known as a “Velcro Dog”, always wanting to be by your side.  It doesn’t matter how deep asleep my Kees, Clancy, is or how quietly I try to exit a room…  he pops right up and trots to my side to escort me WHEREEVER I go, and he will plop right back down at my feet when we reach our new destination.  I have found that the only thing that can detach us is snow.  That freezing fluffy white stuff trumps me!

Clancy wishing that the weather was like this everyday.

Clancy wishing that the weather was like this everyday.

As much fun as a Kees may have in the snow, there are some precautions that all dog owners should take to ensure that it remains all fun and games in the snow.

As we struggle to keep our footing in the slippery conditions that winter brings, keep in mind that salts, de-icers and other chemicals are dangerous for your pets. Try to use kitty litter or sand for traction instead. If you must use a chemical, supervise your pet in those areas to make sure they don’t drink from puddles and remove the slush and dissolved product as soon as possible. Wash paws after exposure.  Being a fuzz-butt mom, I keep baby wipes at the door at all times anyway.

Clancy loves to bury his face in the snow.

Clancy loves to bury his face in the snow.

 Staying warm uses up more energy. Pets that spend a lot of time outside need more food, especially protein. Ask your vet if you should vary your pet’s diet for the winter if your dog spends a lot of time outside in the cold.  Dehydration is often a forgotten danger of the bitter cold, for water sources freeze outside. Also avoid using metal bowls this time of year (if you don’t know already from watching “A Christmas Story”, yes, tongues will stick to metal in below freezing temperatures.) 

My snow angel, Clancy.

My snow angel, Clancy.

Check paws to pull out any snowballs that have gathered in between pads which are not only uncomfortable, but also could lead to frostbite!   Snowballs accrue quickly around the furry pads of the Keeshond’s feet.

Be aware that frigid weather lessens the sense of smell, causing more cases of lost dogs than any other time of the year.  Keep your pet leashed or fenced in as they frolic in the snow with an ID tag.

Young Clancy with his best feline friend, "Mr. D".

Young Clancy with his best feline friend, “Mr. D”.

One of the reasons I chose to get a Keeshond was for their love of all living things, especially because they are known to get along well with cats.

So Clancy would appreciate if I gave a public service announcement on behalf of his feline friends.  To protect your vehicle’s engine and to save an animal’s life, remember to knock on the hood of your car or honk your horn before starting your car. Engines can stay warm for hours after being shut off, offering an enticing warm shelter for cats. Before using the remote start feature, give a quick press of the “panic” button on your car key first to scare away any unsuspecting sleeping felines. Clancy sitting in snow 2014

Another vehicle-related danger of winter is exposure to anti-freeze. Ingesting as little as a teaspoon of the harmful chemical of ethylene glycol can kill. It’s sweet taste unfortunately attracts pets, so be sure to promptly clean up any spills and keep it out of pet’s reach.

Clancy ready to play hockey!

Clancy ready to play hockey!

Okay, so now that we’re more aware of things that could harm our beloved pets, let’s discuss fun things you can do in the snow with your dog! 

Many dogs enjoy “snowball toss”…  Clancy will jump up in the air to catch and eat snowballs tossed his way.  He also enjoys snow drift bouncing…  where I encourage him to hop up on snow drifts and hills as I run alongside him.  Clancy enthusiastically bounces from mound to mound, and if it’s soft and powdery, he will burrow into the snow drifts.

Clancy loves snow mounds!

Clancy loves snow mounds!

Another fun game is having him wait where he is, then walking a good distance away, kneel down, stick your hand in the snow and wave it back and forth just under the surface making the snow ripple.  I then tell Clancy to “come and get it get it get it!” and he runs as fast as he can to come and pounce on my hand under the snow.  It’s great exercise for the dog and also gives you a chance to reinforce the “come” command.  Another fun game is to toss a smelly treat into the snow or bury a favorite toy and telling your dog to “find it!”  Clancy enjoys running along the snow with his nose to the ground.  Sometimes he does need hints, but the excitement when he finds the item has to make you smile.

Clancy playing goalie

Clancy playing goalie

If you have a safe opportunity to do so, playing hockey with a soft item with your dog is fun and exercise for all.  Chasing the “puck” or letting your dog play “goalie” or just carefully stick handling with a puck around your dogs legs are some fun ways to interact with your pup in the cold.  Run around in cleats if you’re not experienced wearing ice skates so you don’t risk hurting your dog with the sharp blades of skates!  Also, limit your time on ice with your pup to give his/her paws a break.  If the ice is choppy or has lots of cuts in it from ice skates, be aware that it is sharp and could cut the pads of your pup’s feet, so use caution or buy booties for your pup.IMG_7360

We’d love to hear what your dog thinks of the snow and any outdoor snow games that you enjoy together!

Please share in the comments!

They are your best friend…  Be your dog’s best friend! ~ SSB

IMG_7418

Make Your Dog an Ambassador for all of Dog-Kind!

29 May

Clancy enjoying an outing at a family gathering and hanging out with a friend's dog. A well-behaved dog is often welcomed into friends and family's homes.

Clancy enjoying an outing at a family gathering and hanging out with a friend’s dog. A well behaved dog is often welcomed into friends and family’s homes.

Dogs are man’s best friend. So are you being your dog’s best friend? Best friends do everything together. Do you and your furry bff go to parks together, go to stores together, go to friends houses together, do activities together such as going for a swim, participating in dog sports such as agility, tracking, obedience or the like? While you have work, family, TV, and other entertainment to occupy your time, you have to remember that all that your dog has… is you! So, you don’t think your dog is capable of joining you in activities outside of your home? It’s true that in order to go out and about with your dog, your dog must know how to behave in public (and wouldn’t it be nice if they knew how to behave at home, too?) With some time and patience, any dog can learn to behave.

Clancy (about 5 months here) enjoys going to watch hockey games! Since he's well-behaved, I can get away with bringing him to places that most dogs would not be welcomed at.

Clancy (about 5 months here) enjoys going to watch hockey games! Since he’s well-behaved, I can get away with bringing him to places that most dogs would not be welcomed at.

Dogs are always learning… it’s up to you if they learn good habits or bad habits by your level of enforcement. Dogs learn mainly by repetition. They pick up on routines rather quickly (you know they know when it’s dinner time!) By introducing and enforcing some basic rules, your dog can become an ambassador for dog-kind. If every dog was well cared for, sat politely to be petted and posed no threat of danger to people, there would be a lot less fear of dogs and less red-tape in public places. So how do you get your dog to that point?

Clancy earning his Basic Obedience graduation certificate at just 4 months old. Especially for puppies, you have to use positive training techniques and make learning fun! While it's best to start training your dog while they're young, every dog benefits from training, no matter the age!

Clancy earning his Basic Obedience graduation certificate at just 4 months old. Especially for puppies, you have to use positive training techniques and make learning fun! While it’s best to start training your dog while they’re young, every dog benefits from training, no matter the age!

There are so many options when it comes to training your dog these days. There are a variety of dog training classes out there you could sign up for, or have a dog trainer come to your house for private lessons, or there’s a large variety of dog training books and free advice on the Internet. In order to pick the appropriate type of training for you and your pup, you should be aware of the learning traits of your specific breed of dog (it’s as easy as doing an Internet search!) The most important aspect of teaching your dog, is consistency! For example, if you tell a dog to stay and it moves before you release it, you must place your dog back in the original position and tell them to stay again. No matter how many times it takes! You will need to start off with very short sessions (always give them a chance to succeed at a smaller goal before trying a bigger goal) and work your way up to longer sessions over time. If you ask your dog to come and it doesn’t, then you have to go get your dog and make it come. If you are not 100% consistent, then your dog will not be either. This goes for all that interact with your dog.

Clancy and I in our first Rally Obedience trial. You must start with basic training as a foundation to start to train for other dog sports. Participating in dog sports creates a stronger bond with your furry best friend and is a lot of fun!

Clancy and I in our first Rally Obedience trial. You must start with basic training as a foundation to start to train for other dog sports. Participating in dog sports creates a stronger bond with your furry best friend and is a lot of fun!

Before signing up for a dog training class, ask if you could observe a class to see if it would be right for you. Some trainers are all about positive teaching (my personal favorite) where you quickly reward for the correct behavior with a quick word of praise or a click (see clicker training: http://www.clickertrain.com/whatis.html) along with a taste of an irresistible treat. Incorrect behaviors are corrected with a distinct sound such as “aaap!” and an immediate repeat of the exercise until they get it right to deserve their reward. Dogs like to be rewarded! They want to please you and will eventually learn to do what you want with this type of training. It may take longer for some breeds to get it. See on average how quickly your dog learns here (from Stanley Cohen’s “The Intelligence of Dogs”): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intelligence_of_Dogs

Other dog trainers rely on combinations of techniques that may include corrections with a quick jerk on a choke collar to regain the dog’s focus. The collar used in training or “working your dog” at a dog sport can make a big difference in the dog’s behavior. Some very stubborn out-of-control dogs may only initially respond to a prong collar or the even harsher electric shock collar (this should only be used as a last resort when other training methods have been unsuccessful, please consult a dog trainer before using.)

Clancy doing his "stick 'em up" trick, one of Clancy's many tricks under his Advanced Trick Dog Title. Keeshonden love to learn and perform tricks! All dogs love to learn new things and with even just 10 minutes of daily training sessions, it won't be long before your dog can show off what it knows!

Clancy doing his “stick ’em up” trick, one of Clancy’s many tricks under his Advanced Trick Dog Title. Keeshonden love to learn and perform tricks! All dogs love to learn new things and with even just 10 minutes of daily training sessions, it won’t be long before your dog can show off what it knows!

The keeshond is an emotional dog that does not respond well to harsh corrections, punishments or raised voices. They are smart dogs that enjoy being trained (as long as you keep it fun!) Clancy enjoys doing “Tricks for Treats” everyday and also understands when I get his leather buckle collar out to put on him, it’s time to “work”. I only place it on him when we are doing training or doing an obedience trial. (Other times when we are out and about for fun, he wears his harness.) When I place his show lead on him, he knows that it means it’s time to be a “show dog” and his behavior changes appropriately.

Though Clancy and I will likely never be classified as "athletes", we do enjoy having fun participating in all kinds of dog sports! Here Clancy and I are doing lure coursing. As long as you and your dog have a good bond and basic training, you two can learn to participate in all kinds of dog sports and activities together!

Though Clancy and I will likely never be classified as “athletes”, we do enjoy having fun participating in all kinds of dog sports! Here Clancy and I are doing lure coursing. As long as you and your dog have a good bond and basic training, you two can learn to participate in all kinds of dog sports and activities together!

After some basic manners training, you will be able to bring your dog out and about and start exploring the large variety of dog sports available in your area (you and your dog do not need to be an athlete, it’s just an opportunity to have fun with your dog!) The American Kennel Club offers a “Canine Good Citizen” test that every dog owner should strive to complete with their dog. Here are the test items: http://classic.akc.org/events/cgc/training_testing.cfm Many dog trainers offer prep classes and then give you the opportunity to take the test at during the last training class. If your dog can complete all ten items on the test, they are indeed an ambassador of dog-kind and you should be proud to bring your dog out in public! If every dog was a “Canine Good Citizen”, then there would be less fear of dogs and we would have more opportunities to have man’s best friend with us everywhere we go, making us a better friend to our canine companion.
Clancy proudly sits next to his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and course graduation certificate. Every dog and owner should aspire to achieve this to be a confident ambassador of dog-kind! Training to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (any dog, mixed or pure-bred can achieve this) takes a lot of practice and patience. If at first you don't succeed, try... try again!

Clancy proudly sits next to his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and course graduation certificate. Every dog and owner should aspire to achieve this to be a confident ambassador of dog-kind! Training to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (any dog, mixed or pure-bred can achieve this) takes a lot of practice and patience. If at first you don’t succeed, try… try again!

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