Tag Archives: Maryland

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

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

Video

Clancy wins 1st place in the talent show at Maryland DogFest (dog tricks video)

9 Mar Clancy standing with bongos 12.13

Finally!!!  Here is a video of some of my Keeshond, Clancy’s tricks!  Clancy and I had a blast meeting new people, visiting exhibits, watching demonstrations and participating in the Dog Talent Show at Maryland DogFest yesterday!  (Unfortunately due to the unpredictable climate in early March in Maryland, the Ultimate Air Dogs dock diving competitions were cancelled.)  😦

Clancy wins 1st place at the 2014 Maryland DogFest talent show...  that's two years in a row! Here he is holding a gift bag with his 1st Place certificate next to two of his famous trick props.

Clancy wins 1st place at the 2014 Maryland DogFest talent show… that’s two years in a row!
Here he is holding a gift bag with his 1st Place certificate next to two of his famous trick props.

We had Rally Obedience run-thrus in the morning, so I wasn’t sure what Clancy had left in the tank for his talent show performance here.  I also have been so busy, that I didn’t figure out what I was going to do until 5 minutes before the show.

There were many dogs in the contest and Clancy and I were called up last.  After watching other competitors, I decided not to duplicate the other dog’s tricks (I didn’t want Clancy to entirely steal the show 😉 ).  Though Clancy has many more tricks up his sleeve, we’ll save them to share with everyone another day.  (I also had a time limit to try to stay within at the talent show.)  Next time we do a routine, we will be more polished and show off even more tricks!

For now, enjoy!  The theme of our performance is sharing some of the traits of the Keeshond with the audience.  (Oh, and we did win 1st place by a unanimous vote from the judges.)  😀

P.S.  We have a Rally Obedience trial and Obedience Novice trial later this week.  Then we have the 2014 AKC Rally Nationals later this month!  (Wish us luck!)  That Rally blog WILL be posted by the end of March.  🙂

P.S.S.  I do plan on writing a dog tricks blog in the near future, too!  Trick training is a great way to have fun, strengthen your bond and challenge your dog!

P.S.S.S. I am just starting up a pet services business where I also offer dog trick training!  Visit www.FUNanimalPet.com to learn more about it!

Clancy — the inspiration for Kees Of Dog’s Delight

10 Dec Clancy in the leaves - November 2013

Clancy holding flowersClancy has truly opened up my eyes to the potential that all dogs have that most humans aren’t aware of.  My main mission with my Kees Of Dog’s Delight blog is to encourage all dog owners to enrich their dog’s life, which in turn enriches the dog owner’s life through socialization and the benefits you gain from the strong bond you create with your dog.  Though I love all types of dogs, cats, and just all animals, Clancy has ignited a passion in me for the Keeshond, so from time to time you will see more Kees oriented posts, especially while the Keeshond community works on rescuing 60 + Keeshonden from one of the worst puppy mills in the U.S.  (Learn more at www.KeesRescue.com)

Clancy and I have met so many wonderful people together just by being out through our various activities.  Clancy brings so much joy to everyone that crosses his path and has many fans who would like to see more of him.  Since we do go to so many places and do so many things together (in various States, too!), there will be a new category of the blog dedicated to the Clancy fans!  (Look for the category “Clancy – My Keeshond” for just fun Clancy updates, pics and videos.)  NEW:  Clancy has his own Facebook Page!  Follow Clancy’s adventures, see him do tricks on #TrickTuesday and cute retro pics of Clancy on #ThrowbackThursday by “Liking” Clancy, the fluffy trick dog – Keeshond on Facebook!

So, here’s Clancy!  The UKC Altered Champion, Rally Obedience level 3, United Junior Jumper (1st UKC dock diving titled Keeshond), AKC Companion Dog Excellent, Rally Advanced Excellent, Dock Junior (1st AKC dock diving titled Keeshond), Advanced Canine Good Citizen, AKC Therapy Dog titled, Ultimate Air Dogs AND North American Diving Dogs Dock Junior titled, and the first CHAMPION Trick Dog titled Keeshond!  *More training for other titles are always in progress!

Be your dog’s best friend! ~ SSB  

Enjoy and thank you for visiting!

Clancy

Clancy

It’s all in a Dog’s Life … in August! Including “Where To Find Your New Best Friend”

31 Aug IMG_6785

Clancy and I enjoyed so many activities together throughout the month of August and we hope to encourage you to go try something new with your dog!   “Part 2” of Dock Diving with the Flying Fluff-ball blog post is still in progress pending more information that I’m gathering from various resources.  So in the meantime …  enjoy!

Image

Clancy brought a friend to dock diving practice with him.  One of his best friends, “Annie”, a Cattle Dog Mix, made her first baby step towards the introduction of the sport of dock diving by getting a swimming lesson…  or more like a “getting used to the water lesson”.  (Pictured above.)

Image

Since Clancy brings smiles to so many people’s face when we’re out and about, I wanted to share him with those that could really use a smile by becoming a Pets On Wheels volunteer.  We had our first visit with a senior assisted living facility in early August and just had another visit recently with another facility targeting the dementia guests.  Clancy was such a champ as he happily greeted dozens and dozens of elders.  He even performed some tricks that earned him rounds of applause.  Clancy was tuckered out after his hour and a half visit (pictured above) and we look forward to returning there in a couple of weeks.  *More on Therapy Dog work in a future blog post!

Image

Despite being late to compete in an AKC Rally Obedience trial due to an absurd amount of traffic which caused us to literally run straight from the car to walking into the Rally course blind, Clancy and I earned our 2nd leg towards his AKC Rally Novice title.  I was concentrating so much on making sure Clancy was only paying attention to me and not to all of the new distractions we just walked into that I didn’t perform the first station, a figure 8, correctly.  I crossed the center point 4 times instead of 3 resulting in a 10 point deduction, but at least it was our only deduction.  We still managed placing 2nd with 90 points and hope to finish up his RN title within a few weeks.  *More on Rally Obedience in a future blog post!

My dad with Clancy at the State Fair while I was checking out the bees.  Clancy seemed to be one of the most popular "walking exhibits" throughout the day.

Clancy, with my dad, at the State Fair while I was checking out the bee exhibit. Clancy seemed to be one of the most popular “walking exhibits” throughout the day.

Last weekend was “Volunteer Appreciation Day” at the Maryland State Fair.  Normally dogs are not permitted at the State Fair, but Clancy was welcomed because he is a volunteer as a therapy dog with Pets On Wheels.  Fortunately, the weather was just tolerable for him to join me with a high of 80 degrees F.  We actually didn’t make it to all the things we were hoping to see, but it was still a lot of fun.  Imagine you were walking at a highly attended public event with a celebrity, or in this case, with a beautiful creature that no one has seen before…  that’s what it was like for us while we were there.

IMG_6731

Pets On Wheels volunteer, Clancy, admiring an agricultural exhibit at the State Fair on Volunteer Appreciation Day.

We never made it more than 20 or so feet without being stopped by what would start out as a couple of people, but then quickly multiplied into a dozen amazed and curious people.  Now only if the Keeshond Club of America paid me a dime for every time I answered “What kind of dog IS THAT?”  I would have been able to take off work this week!  I do love it when people know what kind of dog Clancy is, even if they pronounce it wrong (see my “What is a Keeshond” page).  Several families tracked us down (they said they saw us through the crowd and just had to catch up to us) that used to have a Keeshond in their lives.  It was heartwarming to hear their stories.

IMG_6785

Clancy and I with the honorable UKC Judge Rolando Mata whom awarded Clancy Best in Show Altered in Show 2 on September 1, 2013.  Clancy won 2 BIS and 1 RBIS out of the 4 altered shows this weekend!

Clancy and I with the honorable UKC Judge Rolando Mata whom awarded Clancy Best in Show Altered in Show 2 on September 1, 2013. Clancy won 2 BIS and 1 RBIS out of the 4 altered shows this weekend!

To close up the month of August and to begin September, Clancy is competing in United Kennel Club dog shows this weekend again.  Today we took Best In Show (Altered) in the morning show and Reserve Best in Show (Altered) in the afternoon show!  We hope we can have similar accomplishments tomorrow.  Clancy is an “Altered Champion” with the UKC and now we’re working towards earning his Grand Championship title.  (Picture above is Clancy with his ribbons he earned today and his best feline friend.)   **UPDATE**  Clancy took Best In Show Altered in Sunday, 9/1, afternoon’s show!  😀

* More on how to exhibit your altered dog here:  Do You Have a Neutered or Spayed Pure-Bred Dog?  You Can Still Show Them!

 

ImageWith Clancy and I accomplishing all this in one month (plus our weekly dog training club activities), we hope to inspire you to go out and do an activity with your dog!  Don’t have one yet?  Perhaps my first physical print article (another August milestone for me that will be showing up in a local publication next week) can help you with that!  It is titled “Where to Find Your New Best Friend” (the picture above was taken of Clancy at 6 weeks old when it was decided that we were going to be best friends!)  I fine-tuned it below by generalizing some things to make it more useful for the general public.  Please keep in mind that I was limited on how many words I could have in my article…  if I had more space, I would have liked to have been more detailed!

“Where to Find Your New Best Friend” by Stacie B.

Did you know that the secret to living a longer and healthier life may be who you choose to be your best friend?  Where can you find a best friend that lowers your blood pressure just by being close to you, who will love you no matter what and never argue with you?

The answer may be right in your own town.  Your county shelter has a wide variety of furry, scaly or feathery friends to choose from!  Take a peek right now online at www.petharbor.com to see the large variety of animals near you that need homes right now.  There are so many kittens, cats, puppies and dogs (mixed and pure-breeds!) hoping for the opportunity to be your companion.  You could even find “Other” animal types such as gerbils, rabbits, birds, reptiles or even farm animals there too!

So, you have your heart set on a certain dog breed?  Have the animal shelter contact you if your ideal pet comes in!  To make sure you and your breed of choice will be happy together, visit www.akc.org/breeds to do your research ahead of time.  Too many dogs are given up because their owner wasn’t prepared for their breed specific traits!  If you are interested in a mixed-breed, be sure to research all the breeds that are part of that mix.  You will also find the contact information in that link for the “AKC parent club” of each breed to help you find your breed’s rescue or to help you find a responsible and legitimate breeder (see “Breeder Referral” in the above link).  Please be sure to do your research on the breeder, ask them lots of questions and talk to their references.  Be prepared to walk away if something doesn’t seem right.

Where do you NOT want to buy a puppy?  At a pet store or through the Internet without visiting the source!  You would likely be supporting the inhumane puppy mill industry and odds are you’ll end up being heartbroken with a pup that has health, socialization and/or behavior problems.  An Internet search for “puppy mills” will yield much information on this inhumane trade.

So what are you waiting for?  Your Best Friend is out there waiting for you!

Image

Dock Diving with “The Flying Fluff-ball” (and your dog can do it too!) Part 1

30 Jul Clancy, "The Flying Fluff-ball"!!!
Ultimate Air Dogs dock diving competitions...   On left:  Clancy waiting his turn to dock dive at "The Andersons" in Ohio. On right:  Clancy dock diving at Maryland Dogfest.

Ultimate Air Dogs dock diving competitions…
On left: Clancy waiting his turn to dock dive at “The Andersons” in Ohio.
On right: Clancy dock diving at Maryland Dogfest.

“Here is a treat that you never see in the sport of dock diving… a Keeshond!” exclaimed Milt Wilcox, the founder of Ultimate Air Dogs dock diving, to the audience as I lead Clancy onto the dock platform leading to the approximately 40 foot long pool.

Clancy watching a Lab jump in the Extreme Vertical dock jumping competition

Clancy watching a Lab jump in the Extreme Vertical dock jumping competition

While you will see a lot of Labs and lately the Belgian Malinois dominating the dog dock diving sports, the dynamics of the professional dock diving leagues encourages any water loving dog to join in the fun. Every kind of dog has a chance to not only enjoy just participating in the sport, but also there is ample opportunity to actually compete for recognition and prizes (in some cases), because of the jumping distance divisions. This allows Sheepdogs, Dachshunds, Great Danes and even the Yorkie to enjoy the cheers of an audience as they fly weightless through the air before submerging themselves in a cool body of water.

Two years ago, while cleaning up the spilled water around Clancy’s water bowl, I questioned myself “why did I choose the puppy that was digging the water out of the water dish?” (Which when given the opportunity, he still does to this day!) Perhaps it was a sign of destiny. Just one week after bringing our new Keeshond puppy home, we headed to the lake house my husband grew up at in Michigan. Our 9 week old Kees puppy took to the lake immediately and he went for his first swim.

Clancy has always loved the water...  any dog who who enjoys the water can enjoy dock diving!

Clancy has always loved the water… any dog who who enjoys the water can enjoy dock diving!

At nearly 6 months old, Clancy loved swimming and retrieving, but couldn't be convinced to jump off of the dock yet.

At nearly 6 months old, Clancy loved swimming and retrieving, but couldn’t be convinced to jump off of the dock yet.

Several months later, we vacationed on another lake and Clancy immediately was eager to get in the water. We did get him a life jacket to give him more stamina in the water. All that fur can weigh a Kees down! We tried to encourage him to jump off the dock into the water, but instead he would run back to shore and then swim out to retrieve his stick.

The following summer, we returned to my mother-in-law’s lake house in Michigan and wanted to see if we could get Clancy to jump off the dock into the lake. We ran down the dock with Clancy at our feet and jumped in ourselves. Clancy put on the brakes and bowed at the end of the dock, barking ecstatically at us in the water just ahead of him. I slapped the water and encouraged him to jump in. The “Velcro dog’s” (one of a few nick-names for a Keeshond) desire to re-attach himself to us took over, so Clancy stopped barking and took the leap of faith!

One of Clancy's first dock jumps....  July 2012

One of Clancy’s first dock jumps…. July 2012

As I talked about our vacation to a local dog lover, they encouraged me to try the sport of dock diving and told me about a facility that had the regulation size dock and pool that had open practices not too far from where we lived. Just for fun, I headed there with Clancy, not even considering competition. After all, I thought a Keeshond could never be in the same league as the Labs, Retrievers and other “sporting dogs”. Well, Clancy didn’t know he was a “non-sporting” breed and leapt off the dock with just as much enthusiasm!
.

.
As Keeshond owners know, we get all kinds of attention when we’re out in public with our unique smiling fluff-balls. Seeing a Keeshond take part in dock diving makes everyone do a double-take! “That fluffy dog can’t swim, can it?” Yes, he can swim very well! “You can’t let that coat get wet, it will take days to dry!” Actually, it dries quite quickly and as long as you groom him before getting wet, it’s not difficult to turn him back into a big fluff-ball. Everyone enjoys seeing the transformation of the dry Kees versus the wet Kees too! It’s almost like one dog goes in and a different dog climbs out… with gallons of water pouring off the coat. Probably the biggest workout of it all for Clancy is the climb out of the pool with his saturated coat adding all that extra weight.

Clancy's  transformation of being a  dry Keeshond to wet to mostly dry again in less than a half hour!

Clancy’s transformation of being a dry Keeshond to wet to mostly dry again in less than a half hour!

Socializing with the dock dog enthusiasts, they encouraged me to compete with Clancy. I learned there are a few different dock diving organizations in the United States which are Ultimate Air Dogs (UAD) (www.ultimateairdogs.com), Dock Dogs (www.dockdogs.com) and Splash Dogs (www.splashdogs.com). While there are some differences in the rules and other logistics, they all offer multiple divisions in order to allow dogs to be competitive at the level they jump. This encourages any dog to be able to participate. For the “Novice level” jumpers range from 1″ (yes, I said one inch!) to 9’11”, “Junior division” jumpers are in the 10′ to 14’11” range, “Senior division” is from 15′ to 19’11” and so on. There’s even a “lap dog” league for the small dogs to not get their egos hurt, though some of those lil’ guys can fly! The top 5 dogs from each division at the end of each weekend event then get to compete for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in a divisional finals. Clancy recently won 2nd place in the Junior division at the Ultimate Air Dogs Maryland Dogfest event!
.

.
During the Maryland Dogfest event a few weeks ago, Clancy was acknowledged by the owners of Ultimate Air Dogs for having the longest jump on record for a Keeshond, at 12 feet and 10 inches! While there have only been a sprinkling of Keeshond appearances in the professional dock diving world, it is still a fun record to have!

Another fun recognition feature offered in professional dock diving are titles. There are varying qualifications within the different dock diving entities, but a benefit of competing for titles in UAD is if you are registered with the United Kennel Club (UKC), then you also earn titles and points towards dock diving championships in the UKC. Clancy just earned his Ultimate Air Dogs and United Kennel Club Junior Division dock diving title in July 2013 in Maumee, Ohio. (Someone actually caught Clancy on video jumping over 12 feet and put it on YouTube!) UAD founder/owner (and ex-Detroit Tiger’s World Series winning pitcher), Milt Wilcox, confirmed that Clancy is the first Keeshond to get a dock diving title with UAD! (He’s the judge and emcee in these UAD videos too!)
.

.
On a future blog post, I will dive a little deeper (pun not intended, but it is funny) into comparing the different dock diving organizations and will offer some insight on how you can give your pup the opportunity to fly!  If you’re looking for a fun way to enjoy the warm weather with your dog, or perhaps a little out of the ordinary competition, consider dock diving with your fur-pal. If you have a Kees or other long-haired breed, just be prepared for at least a 6 foot splash and shake zone!

Dock diving – Another fun thing for Best Friends to do together! Be your dog’s Best Friend! ~ SSB

Clancy, "The Flying Fluff-ball"!!!

Clancy, “The Flying Fluff-ball”!!!

Take Me Out… to the Dog Park! A Guide for all to have a ball at the Dog Park.

4 Mar Spending time outside with your dog is good for both of you!  Most dog parks are open rain or shine.

Everyone knows that a tired dog is a good dog, and nothing tires a dog out more than another dog! All the romping, wrestling, playing tag, playing keep away and the good ol’ just run with the pack in an open field is sure to give you a peaceful evening, if you take about an hour out of your day to stop by the dog park. Now the dog park isn’t a place for every dog. Your dog must tolerate other dog’s presence at the very least, but you both would get much more out of the experience if they enjoyed being in the company of other dogs. Your dog must also be sociable with people and tolerate children… for you will often find kids running up to pet your dog or trying to initiate play with them.

Clancy enjoying canine companionship at the dog park.

Clancy enjoying canine companionship at the dog park.



Most dog parks are divided into a “Large Dog” park and a “Small Dog” park. If you are nervous that your Maltese may get stepped on by a Mastiff, you have your own dedicated fenced in area separate from the big dogs. However, if your lap pup plays like a big dog, feel free to join in the fun on the big dog side! Before entering, it’s always a good idea to ask the larger dogs’ owners if it’s okay for you to bring your small dog into the large dog side, because some big dogs may not play well with small dogs.
The keeshond plays with the big dogs, so Clancy can only look on and bark "hi" to his smaller cousins.

The keeshond plays with the big dogs, so Clancy can only look on and bark “hi” to his smaller cousins.



Not only is the dog park a great place for your dog to socialize, but for you, as well! You are in a place where you have at least one thing in common with everyone around you… you all love your dogs and most people love to talk about them. Before you know it, you and your dog will make new friends. It often begins with knowing the dog’s name and referring to their owner as “Rocky’s Dad” or “Diesel’s Mom”. You can learn about all kinds of walks of life or there’s plenty of space to keep to yourself if that’s what you prefer.
Dog parks offer fun socialization for both dogs and humans!

Dog parks offer fun socialization for both dogs and humans!



While a dog park is a great place for your dog to socialize and play with other dogs, it’s also a great place for you to bond with your dog and practice training. The large open space is a great place to legally have your dog off leash to play fetch or take a walk together without the tether. It can also be a test for your dog to obey your commands with the distractions of other people, dogs and oh, all the smells! For those that are ready to practice more advanced training (it’s highly recommended that your dog has mastered his commands in a controlled environment first), just be sure you are in a position to enforce your dog listening to you. Also keep the training sessions short, for you don’t want to set up your dog to fail and this should be a place for your dog to look forward to for fun!
Dogs are natural pack animals and most enjoy the company of other dogs.

“Follow the leader!” Dogs are natural pack animals and most enjoy the company of other dogs.

Before heading to the dog park, please know your specific dog park rules and ALSO be aware of these lesser known guidelines for an enjoyable time:

The double-gated entrance to the dog park

The double-gated entrance to the dog park

This Afghan Hound feels a little nervous being on his leash at the dog park.

This Afghan Hound feels a little nervous being on his leash at the dog park.



* Unleash your dog before entering the park – Dog parks have a double gated entrance, not only as a safety measure, but also to allow you to remove the leash in the enclosed area before opening the second gate to the dog park. This will allow your dog to escape from the crowd that usually is at the gate to greet the new dog. Your dog behaves differently on a leash versus off the leash. Dogs may feel trapped being on the leash while other dogs are free around it, which could cause defensive aggression.

*Do not coddle your dog if it’s scared – If you do, you are just reinforcing it’s scared behavior. Be confident, but do not force him into uncomfortable situations. Dogs with their tail between their legs, have the hair along their spine raised or are crouching may need some space and time to get acclimated.

Hi!   Who, or should I say, what, are you?

“Hi! Who, or should I say, what, are you?”

Hi!  Hello!  Who are you?  Aren't you glad that we don't greet each other like this?

“Hi! Hello! Who are you?” Aren’t you glad that we don’t greet each other like this?


* Let your dog be a dog – Dogs jump up on each other, knock each other down, wrestle, growl, snap at each other, and yes, they hump and will sniff each other’s genitals. It is all part of the dog communication world that most humans don’t comprehend, but the dogs are just doing what is natural to them.

Some dogs try to initiate play by wrapping their arm around another dog’s back, which may trigger humping. This is a natural behavior to establish dominance. Most of the time, the dogs will work it out themselves with the humpee warning the humper to stop with a growl or a snap. Let dogs be dogs and they’ll learn from each other what’s acceptable or not much quicker from each other. However, do be ready step in and remove the offending dog if tempers start to flare or it’s going on for more than a few seconds. Excessive humping can cause aggression not only with the participating parties, but trigger aggressive responses from other nearby dogs. Other behaviors, such as growling or snapping should not be interfered with. By yelling and stopping this natural behavior because you don’t like it, it may create waves in their communications with each other. By stopping your dog from growling, you may be teaching him to skip that warning sign he’s giving and he’ll go straight to biting the next time. Dogs have a way of working everything out themselves. However, if things are getting too intense, try distracting your dog with another activity, or create a loud noise, but avoid yelling.
"Whoa!"  Clancy literally runs into an Aussie.

“Whoa!” Clancy literally runs into an Aussie.


If a dog fight does break out (a rare occurrence which rarely lasts for more than a few seconds), encourage everyone to not scream or yell (which hypes up the dogs more). DO NOT try to separate the dogs by putting your hands/body in the middle of them or try to grab their collars, for you will likely get nipped or bitten. The quickest way to separate the fighting dogs, is for each owner to grab their dog’s hind legs (preferably where the hips connect to the body to avoid injury to the dog), lift and drag him straight back (like a wheelbarrow) then turn him 180 degrees to face away from the other dog. If you are by yourself, do the above method to the attacking dog, and tie him to something, then repeat with the other dog if necessary. There are also citronella sprays on the market to aide in stopping dog fights as well. For more information on how to prevent and stop dog fights, please visit http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-articles/breaking-up-a-dogfight.

Clancy can't resist being tempted by a child wanting a doggy kiss.

Clancy can’t resist being tempted by a child wanting a doggy kiss.

* Do not let your dog jump on people – Though dog park patrons should be prepared for muddy paw prints on their outfit, this is a basic rule that should be enforced with all dogs all the time. Not being consistent with the “no jumping on people rule” will make your dog inconsistent in obeying elsewhere.

Clancy claiming a water bucket at the dog park on a hot summer day

Clancy claiming a water bucket at the dog park on a hot summer day

* Bring water for your dog – There’s many travel water devices for dogs out there that make it easy to bring water along for your pooch wherever you two go. Your dog will get thirsty quickly and frequently with all the exercise he’ll be getting at the dog park. While some dog parks supply water, don’t assume it will be there or assume others will let your dog drink their dog’s water. Try to offer your dog water in private, for dogs may get possessive of a water bowl.

* Do not bring treats, dog food, or people food into the dog park – Not only will you have a pack of dogs following your every move, but it could cause tension/fights among the dogs. Also, PLEASE know what foods are toxic to dogs such as grapes and keep them away from the dog park. If you must bring treats as a reward for training your dog, try your best to contain their smell, conceal them and give them to your pup in secret.

* PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG!!! – Not only is it a health hazard to people and pets for doggie doo-doo to be lying around, but no one wants themselves or their dog to step or roll in it then track it perhaps along with roundworm eggs, into their car or homes. Doggy bags are usually supplied at the parks, but it doesn’t hurt to have a couple grocery or newspaper bags in your pocket in case they’re out. We don’t want to ruin our opportunity to enjoy dog parks, so everyone just needs to do their dooty!

Clancy sneaking in a sniff while the brown dog bows down to play with the dog with the tennis ball.

Clancy sneaking in a sniff while the brown dog bows down to play with the dog with the tennis ball.

*Be cautious of bringing toys to the park – Before engaging in play with a toy with your dog or another dog, sit back and observe all the dogs there. Some dogs are toy aggressive, once a toy is introduced to the environment, it could start fights for dogs getting possessive of a toy. Take away the toy if it negatively affects the dog pack behavior.
dogs hanging out Spreading out at the dog park
* SPREAD OUT! – Dogs love their owners and tend to hang out near them. When the owners congregate together, so do all the dogs… which can lead to aggression from too many dogs being too close together. Often dogs like to just play with one or two playmates at a time, and aggression can occur if they feel like they’re being ganged up on. Also, if everyone congregates in the same place on a daily basis, the ground gets worn and muddy in that spot resulting in dirty dogs and ruined grass.

*Know your dog! – Know your dog’s behavior and signals. Watch for signs that your dog has had enough. Dogs can become over stimulated which can cause anxiety and aggressiveness. Also, when your dog becomes tired, they may get cranky. I know when Clancy has had enough when he suddenly becomes barky.

*Always keep an eye on your dog (and any around you)! – Don’t let him crowd the gate making it difficult for others to leave or enter. Don’t let him dig which creates safety hazards. Always be on the look-out for your dog squatting to be quick to pick up any doggie doo. Be mindful of standing near playing dogs so you’re not knocked down. You even need to be aware of dogs lifting their leg to mark you. (Now don’t you really want to hang out a dog park now?)

Watching your dog have fun, meeting so many different kinds of dogs and chatting with other dog lovers makes it fun to visit the dog park.

Watching your dog have fun, meeting so many different kinds of dogs and chatting with other dog lovers makes it fun to visit the dog park.


While I can appreciate the concerns of those that avoid dog parks due to fear of dog diseases or dog bites, please keep in mind that the vast majority of dog park patrons are responsible dog owners. They have their dogs up to date on their vaccinations, have them on flea/tick prevention and have socialized their dogs. Be sure to do the same and follow the suggestions in this article and you, too, can become a respected dog park patron.

Letting your dog play with other dogs and getting fresh air together is another way to bond together.

Letting your dog play with other dogs and getting fresh air together is another way to bond together.

Though it’s best to consult with your veterinarian, until your puppy has completed all the series of vaccinations, it’s advisable to avoid all places where many dogs go until your pup is fully protected. As soon as they are finished, get them out to the dog park to build the necessary socialization skills to grow up to be a great dog!

To find a dog park near you or near your travel destination, ask other dog owners or anyone in a dog related business. Other good resources include your local Parks and Recreation or doing a search online.

Best friends do everything together! Be your dog’s best friend! -SSB

Please share with us! What and where is your favorite dog park and why??

With many acres of land, a lake with a doggie dock and walking trails throughout the fenced in dog parks, this is Clancy and I's favorite dog park!  Located in Michigan.

With many acres of land, a lake with a doggie dock and walking trails throughout the fenced in dog parks, this is Clancy and I’s favorite dog park! Located in Michigan.