Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

After two long weeks of antibiotics and medicine Little Bear is now fully recovered from the kennel cough. Although it was a mild dose he was pretty miserable bless him, mainly because he wasn’t able to socialise with other dogs or exert himself too much.  So walks in our favourite dog parks were replaced with solo walks at quiet times and the ball thrower had to be left at home. Add in a mini heat wave and you’ve got the perfect recipe for one miserable little schnauzer.

The lack of proper exercise also made him completely hyper at home too. We had to compensate with lots more playtime but with the vets instruction not to push it, it was impossible to wear him out physically so we had to just keep him occupied as best we could.

It reminded me of so many of the ‘problem dog shows’ like The Dog Whisperer and It’s me or the dog.   So many of the problems seem to be rooted in the lack of exercise people give their dogs.  I wonder how we’d behave if we were locked in the house for days at a time with nothing to do! 

I was amazed by a recent article on Chihuahuas in a well-known Dog magazine in which the British Chihuahua Club of Great Britain said that a run around the garden is quite enough exercise for them. Although they go on to say on their website that they will derive enormous enjoyment from outings on the lead, and lots of new sights and smells I was left with the feeling that the dogs were somehow being short-changed. 

They may be small and owners would obviously need to be sensitive to their physical limits, but dogs need stimulation.  Dogs, I’ve just learned thanks to the excellent ‘Inside a Dog’ by Alexandra Horowitz are naturally predisposed to neophilia – the love of new things.  So this explains why Little Bear is so interested in the other dogs stick, tennis ball, toy etc. 

So for a breed club to suggest that a run around the back yard is enough for a dog seems to give out the wrong message, especially considering the tendency for Chihuahuas to be bought as toys and accessories. I’m sure the advice is well-meaning but I think a stronger steer on the emotional needs of dogs is needed.

Little Bear knows two Chihuahuas.  The first is a feisty long-haired little lad who takes no prisoners.  LB barreled up to him in the field when he was a pup and was swiftly brought down a peg or two for a lack of manners. Needless to say they get on famously now. The second is a dainty little lady who  I swear can actually flutter her eyelashes. She did this to great effect on their first meeting and LB melted into a puddle of complete silliness. 

Here’s hoping that most responsible owners take the official advice with a pinch of common sense and take the time to enrich their dogs lives with new experiences and social time as well as trips around the garden!

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