Picking a Park

Molly at the park

There are so many dog parks popping up, how do you pick the right one?

    • Pass or open to all? It’s not a fool-proof system, but parks that need a pass require proof of vaccinations, meaning your dog is less likely to pick up something yucky from his friends.
    • Big dog/Small dog zones. Can your yorkie play with pups her own size or is everyone sharing the same space?
    • Cleanliness. Are there garbage cans and are they emptied frequently or are they brimming with poop bags? Does the park provide bags? People are less likely to pick up after their dogs if not.
    • Security. Is the fence in good shape? Is there a double gate so no one escapes when someone arrives or departs?
    • Other people. Swing by the park without your dog and scope out the people. Are they on their phones or chatting with each other? On the other end of the spectrum, is everyone crowding the dogs while they play? There is a middle ground between ignoring and hovering!

 

 

How did you choose a park to play at? What helped you make up your mind?

Building a Jump

If your dog needs a little extra exercise and walks just aren’t enough, try building a jump to tire him out!

This is a simple jump, made from materials easily found at the hardware store and it takes just 15 minutes to put together. It’s also easy to disassemble and tuck away when not in use, making it perfect for small yards.

You will need:

2 plastic traffic cones

1 shower rod cover

a utility knife

a measuring tape

a marker

1. Decide the height that you would like your jump to be based on the height and athleticism of your dog. For my guys, I made the jump adjustable to three heights; 4″, 8″, and 14″ off the ground. Use your measuring tape and sharpie to mark your chosen height on each cone.

2. Use your utility knife to cut a hole at each mark, making sure it’s large enough to easily slip the shower rod cover into.

3. Insert the rod cover into the holes and voila! A jump!

Now let’s teach your dog to go over the bar. If he is nervous or unsure about stepping over it, start with it on the ground and use a food lure to guide him over. Reward him for stepping over the bar, this is a good time to use your clicker!

As Fido become more confident about the bar, you can begin to raise it. This is a good reason to make your jump adjustable. Praise him for getting over the bar in any way, even if he’s just stepping over rather than jumping. Add a verbal cue (I say “over!”) as you lure him over the jump.

When your dog is familiar with going over, move him back from it a short distance and ask him to Stay or Wait (hey… now we’re adding some training into our play!). Stand next to the jump or in front of him on the other side and cue him to go over. Tell him what a brave boy he is when he clears it!

Some dogs will go around the jump rather than over it when cued from a distance. Standing at the side of the jump and using a hand signal will help.

You can raise the bar, cue him to Over from longer distances (a longer running start means higher jumps are possible!), even teach your dog to go Under as well as Over.

In no time your pup will be a high jump champ and you’ll be grateful for the option to get a lot of exercise for him in a small space.