First Trip to the Dog Beach -
The beach is a dog's paradise and can be a blast for your Aussie. Swimming, romping, digging,
running and fetching the ball or disc, indeed a beach has it all for a dog, but taking your Aussie to the beach requires careful and practical planning. Do not assume that all dogs can swim. The water and waves can be intimidating . Most dogs can swim, but not all, and dogs entering the water for the first time should be watched closely. The first few times you take him into the water, keep him on a leash . Walk your Aussie into the shallow water. If he is not willing, offer a toy or treat to coax him. If there are other dogs already swimming, your Aussie may want to follow them to play. If your Aussie starts to dog paddle using only his front legs, help him out by lifting his hind legs. His natural swimming instincts will come out. Be careful of riptides and large waves, those could be dangerous for dogs and humans alike. Once your Aussie is swimming about, he may be so excited he will want to go at it for hours. make sure he doesn't, he will exhaust himself.
Make sure your Aussie doesn't drink the salt water, it will make him vomit and the minerals will do damage to his coat, so make sure you have plenty of fresh water. Pack multiple bottles of crushed ice and portable water bowls. Bring solid rubber dog toys to keep your Aussie from chewing on driftwood, seaweed and other undesirable and dangerous things. Keep in mind that anything that can harm you at the beach can also harm your dog, such as the sun, riptides, jellyfish, broken bottles, broken sea shells and aggressive dogs. Dogs are easy targets for jellyfish and sea lice. Limit your Aussie's exposure to the sun, just as you would for yourself . Bring sunscreen, especially for those Aussies with pink skin/noses and white fur. Limit his sun exposure to no more than a half hour before re applying the sunscreen. Always Stay With Your Dog, you should never let your dog run off out of your field of view. Whether he is in the water or on the sand.
Keep him close to you. With other strange dogs running around, it is better to be safe than sorry. Remember not all dogs are as well behaved and socialized as your Aussie and the beach is full of interesting scents of ocean life and this can send your dog into a primal state. If you don't have your pack leader skills in force, you could lose your dog.
Make sure you treat this outing no different than going to the dog park. Bring lots of plastic bags to pick up and discard your dogs 'business' Bring plenty of towels, unless you are not concerned about the smell and look of your car's interior. Wipe your Aussie down before getting in the car and make sure additional towels and blankets are on the seats/location where he will be for the ride home. And that crazy excitement he had all the way to the beach will definitely be replaced with a long snooze on the drive home.
A day at the beach is a perfect way to offer your Aussie plenty of healthy exercise
while spending a delightful day together. It is a wonderful bonding experience and the joy on your Aussie's face will be ingrained in your mind forever.
First Aussie Birthday Party
Hosting your first Aussie birthday party is lot's of fun but can be a little bit chaotic Here are some suggestions to help organize an Aussie-rific party for you, your Aussie, his dog buddies and of course your friends.
Location is most important, if you don't have a secure fenced-in backyard, check with other dog crazy friends and family to see if you can use their backyard. If this does not pan out, check with doggy day care centers, training centers and your local dog parks to find out what their policies are about throwing parties. Just remember, If you're holding the party in a public place, make sure to bring
enough food and treats for dogs that are already at the park so they won't get their feelings hurt and feel like outcasts. Keep in mind the number of four and two legged guests when choosing a location so that there is enough room for everybody. And just like with any party, have a backup plan. My husband and I had a beautiful back yard garden wedding planned, and at the last minute we got rain (in Southern California) so we ended up getting married in the back of an I-HOP. If your back up plan will be indoors, make sure you have lots of video's on hand such as 101 Dalmatians, Benji, Air Bud, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Beethoven, Homeward Bound or Lassie to name a few. My Tessie prefers to watch episodes of Animal Planet or You Tube videos of disc and agility dogs. Have plenty of cleaning supplies and doggy poop bags whether the party is held inside or out.
Make sure that all of the dogs that are invited are socialized and not aggressive, nothing ruins a dog party like a dog fight. Also make sure all of the humans that are invited are 'dog people' or they could put a damper on things as well. Don't over invite, make sure the guest count is reasonable for both dogs and people.
Pick a fun theme for the party such as Scooby Doo, Snoopy, Clifford, Lassie or Blue's Clues. If you don't think a dog themed dog party is original than consider these themes, Star Wars, pirates, clowns or a country western theme. Your local party supply store should be able to accommodate just about any them. Since you are going to be quite busy, make sure you select someone with some photographic skills to take lots of pictures, and be sure to have extra batteries on hand just in case.
For outdoor fun consider rope toys for tug of war, tennis balls and discs for throwing, Kong's filled with peanut butter and maybe even a baby pool if the weather is right and don't forget the towels. Nothing says happy birthday like a dog shaking off a few gallons of water on his mama. If it's an all Aussie event, rent some goats or sheep for herding. (just kidding)
For the main course consider hot dogs, hamburgers or turkey burgers. I know a lot of human food is not good for your Aussie, but on a rare occasion it is okay. There are lots of snack options, but before we get into that, please make sure that there are no 'food aggressive' dogs invited to this event and make sure there is plenty of room for all the furry kids to eat . Make sure you monitor and supervise all food/snacks closely.
A fun treat that I prepare for my Aussies in the warm weather is frozen flavored bowls. I take chicken or beef broth, put it in smallTupperware containers, drop a nylabone or dog treat in the middle of it and freeze it. The result is a frozen treat that is so much fun for your Aussie. From licking the flavored ice to reaching the prize in the middle, it is sure to please the pickiest of canines.
If you want to go the healthy route with snacks, use crunchy vegetables such as green beans or carrots but make sure there are treats for your human guests as well, and make sure that the human treats are not toxic to dogs just in case a canine sneaks a nibble. If you want to go the sweet route, there are numerous recipes on line for dog cookies, cakes and other treats. Here are a couple of sites to check out.
Don't forget the ice cream, I mean, how could you? You can buy Frosty Paws Ice cream at your local supermarket or other frozen treats at pet stores. Or there is always the option that you can make it yourself. Check out these websites for great dog ice cream recipes.
Every good dog party has to have treat bags for all the furry attendees. Great items to put in your treat bags are dog safe stuffed animals, dog bubbles, biscuits, dog jerky and tennis balls. Go to your local dollar store to find some simple and fun goodies to add as well.
Have fun with your wiggle butt birthday party bash! You will be the pride of your pack and the talk of the town.
First Trip to the Dog Park
Dog Parks have reached a peak of popularity. Especially for those of us living in suburbia with small back yards and limited resource for Aussie exercise. What a joyful thing it is to see your Aussie running free and playing with other giddy pups. Time in the dog park is your Aussies version of happy hour with friends.
You must realize that when you take your Aussie to a dog park you have a responsibility to make sure he is well socialized. Most dogs have few, if any, problems with basic social interaction. It is usually the nervous, fearful, or shy dogs that may have trouble with socialization. Not everybody, however, takes this responsibility and dog parks can become volatile when there are dogs there demonstrating dominant and aggressive behavior. So there is always a risk, but well behaved and socialized dogs are the recipe for a opportunity to socialize with other dogs is important for his well being since dogs are pack animals.
The first thing you need to do is research the dog parks in your area. Check reviews on Yelp and other sites. Get feedback on important information like how high the fences are, availability of agility courses, accessible water, poop bags and disposal etc. Most importantly get feedback on other's experiences regarding dogs and their owners. I have been to dog parks where the owners are a bunch of snobs in a clique that basically shun any newbie's that come in. Sometimes there can be issues with owners not keeping an eye on their dogs, which can lead to problems.
When we get to the park, our pack is crying, whining and wiggling their butts like crazy. We wait until everyone calms down in the car. This can take a bit, but they need to understand that until they chill, happy hour doesn't begin. We already have the leashes on from when we first left the house. A leash coupler may work for some people with multiple dogs.
At the entrance , make sure your Aussie is still calm before entering. This is no easy task as they are giddy with anticipation. If your Aussie has never been to a dog park, keep the leash on for a little bit until you are confident of his friendly behavior. Your Aussie should be willing to allow others to sniff his butt. This is how dogs greet each other. Thankfully we humans use a different greeting method. Your Aussie should do the same with the other dogs at the park, exchanging hellos with others showing he has polite manners as well. Once your Aussie is comfortable with the greeting exchanges, it should be fine to remove the leash. Pay attention and watch his body language, so you can avoid a nasty situation before it arises. If your Aussie is the one to become aggressive, then you need to remind him who the boss is and don't let him go back to interact with the others until he has relaxed and calmed down. He will catch on quickly of what acceptable park behavior is and will be reminded of who the pack leader is. If he doesn't catch on, then it is time to leave the park and go home. All dogs are different and some learn and are more comfortable with the situation then others in this social setting, just like people. There are definitely people out there that could use some help with their manners in social situations.
Here are some handy dandy tips for visits to the dog park:
1. Make sure your dog is spayed/neutered. This is essential and not negotiable. Male dogs will get along better with each other and they will leave the females alone.
2. Do not take your puppy, no matter how tempting it is. You want to make sure they have had all of their immunizations and are ready to run with the big dogs. If not ready, you could traumatize your pup.
3. Make sure you are prepared for the park visit, dress comfortably with tennis shoes so you can run around with your Aussie and have some great bonding time. Flip flops could open up the possibility of toe nibbling or stepping in things.
4..Don't assume there are poop bags, even if reviews state there are, they may be all out. Bring your own poop bags, and always clean up after your Aussie. So many dog owners don't which makes walking through a dog park like walking through land mines dodging at every step.
5. Bring fresh water and a portable dog bowl. You can get the bowls at any pet supply store. We keep them in our glove compartment in the car. Even if water is available at the park, it could be filthy or if a fountain it may not be working properly. We were at one particular dog park where they had a giant tub of water and there was a red tri that insisted in sitting in it the entire time we were there.
6. Never bring food into the dog park. That would just be asking for trouble.
7. If you bring in toys be prepared for other dogs to play with them and create their own games. This is okay since your dog is there to socialize. Then again, other dogs may also steal your dog:s toys or destroy them. We usually bring tennis balls and soft discs and have never had any issues. If there are a few to no other dogs there, which is likely during the week in daytime hours, then toys are definitely needed to keep your Aussie active and entertained.
8. Limit what items you bring in for yourself. A purse, drinks and other things can become toys for another dog. I usually lock my purse in the car and put the keys in my pocket. I bring in a bottle of water with a cap. I always get thirsty out there.
9. Make sure you have some towels in the car to wipe off dirty or poopy feet. Be prepared, the ride home may be quieter, but it will also be stinkier after your dogs have been running around like crazy maniacs for hours.
10. Once you get home, be prepared for your Aussie to take a nice long nap, and you will most likely need one as well.