Posts Tagged ‘Bob Dealy’

Getting in Shape for Hiking with your Dog

Friday, April 20th, 2012

This week, Canine Camp Getaway hiking instructor Bob Dealy is guest blogging for us with some tips for getting your dog ready for hiking season.

The past couple of days it’s gotten unseasonably warm in the northeast, which got me to thinking that my dog Shadow has to start getting in shape for the hikes we’ll be taking at Canine Camp Getaway of NY in June. Black lab (ops) training, ha-ha!

Camp owner Janice Costa has informed me that we’re expecting record numbers for this year’s camp. That means lots of new folks for morning hikes. These walks can be the highlight of camp for many guests. A good walk gets the juices flowing; you and your dog make new friends, as you get ready for daily activities. It should be a fun and carefree activity.

Having this forum allows me to talk about common sense things you will need to make those morning sojourns more enjoyable, whether you’re joining us at this year’s Getaway, or planning hikes of your own in the coming months.

First and foremost, let’s talk about you and your dog. I did say common sense! For our hikes at camp, we generally walk for 45-50 minutes. So if your normal dog walk is only 20-30 minutes, you need to stretch this out a little longer until you’re spending about 45 minutes to an hour walking together at least once a week. Not only will this build up your and your dog’s endurance, but as you progress, you’ll get better at recognizing signs of fatigue for each of you. Being able to read your dog’s body language (and paying attention to your own bod) will help to keep you from overdoing it in your hiking trips.

The same basic concept holds true if you are planning a two-hour hike or longer; build up to it gradually by extending the time you walk together a little each day, paying attention for signs of fatigue. It’s okay to push a little, but don’t overdo it; doing too much too fast can lead to injury or soreness.

As many of our camp walks will be on a wooded trail, there are insects – and this is generally true wherever you’ll be hiking this spring. Where I live on Long Island, it was a very mild winter and the bug and tick population is very healthy. I assume it was much the same throughout the Northeast. So it’s advisable that you and your dog have protection.

Your vet can advise you on the best care for your dog, dependent on where you live and what types of parasites are common where you’ll be hiking. For you, there are many personal bug sprays on the market; my advice if you don’t have a favorite is to try some out before hand to see how well they work. I’m personally trying out a product by Eco Smart, which claims to be pet friendly.

There is a product by OFF, the clip on which I don’t recommend for hikes. If you read the instructions you will find its best use is to create a barrier around you if you are in one place for a while. This means seated or standing. It’s not a bad product to use for other times you are on vacation, but not ideal if you’re going to be in motion. So take a couple of minutes and read the instructions and uses for these products before purchasing. For hikes, try to stick to a spray-on or lotion. It’s also been said that consuming a little apple cider vinegar can make you less attractive to bugs; dogs can benefit from this as well. Add a tablespoon to their water, and add a tablespoon to a bottle of water for you, as well. Do this for several days and you’ll likely notice yourself getting fewer bug bites.

Next, we come to hydration. As we all know, it’s important to drink up in warm weather. It’s important for our pups to do the same. So while you’re walking the dog and getting ready for camp, keep an eye on him/her for signs of thirst. As a runner, I’ve learned that a belt that can carry a water bottle is a beautiful thing. It helps to keep both hands free and it’s always available. Giving your dog clean water is better than having them find a muddy puddle because they are thirsty.

Remember, if you’re enjoying a few cocktails in the evening, drink some extra water before bed and when you wake up. Alcohol acts as a diuretic and you need to replace fluids after drinking. I know it sounds weird, replacing fluids after drinking, but trust me on this one. Grab an extra piece of fruit from the dining area. Fruits contain gobs of water.

The turnaround point at our favorite hike is a clearing with a pond on the other side of the woods. Dogs are not allowed in the pond. However, this is a great place to stop and regroup. It has become a favorite photo op site. So have your camera or personal device ready to take pictures.

As far as what to wear, we’ve had people wear shorts, tee shirts, long sleeve T’s, long pants, boots, sneakers, sandals. The choice is yours. We will be walking in the woods, the trail has been wet in the morning, sometimes muddy and there are some rocky parts. So office shoes are not advisable. Be comfortable for the conditions.

Recall is important if you like to hike with your dog off leash. So practice having your dog come back to you when you call him or her. If you aren’t confident in your dog’s ability to come on command, you may want to keep your pup leashed to be safe. This is a decision only you can make. The area off trail has a lot of brush and you can lose sight of your dog easily.

Always carry poop bags! Whether you’re hiking with us at Canine Camp Getaway or hiking in your own neck of the woods, it’s important to leave the trails as you found them. As responsible dog owners, that’s important! So be smart and bring an extra bag, just in case.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to ban you from hikes because you didn’t walk enough, forgot water or bug spray. That’s not what we’re about at Canine Camp Getaway. These tips are just that, tips to make your experience more enjoyable. See you in two months. Is it really that close already?

Dog Friends, Old and New

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

This week, Canine Camp Getaway hiking and lure coursing instructor Bob Dealy is guest blogging for us about dog friends, old and new, and about the journey from “new dog” to “beloved friend.”

For ten years my beagle Duke and I were inseparable. We were best friends and a good team. Around Christmas 2010 he passed. This November I was fortunate enough to have Shadow (Black Lab mix) come into my life. She is lovable and happy and we are bonding well. The two dogs are very much alike in many ways.

My old friend Duke set the bar high for future canine companions.

I love the way the two dogs would come up with alternatives to barking by using their tails to bang against objects to get attention. They are great at socializing with people and other dogs. Both are willing and ready to take a car ride at a moment’s notice, and when I come home, they give me the best happy dance you’ve ever seen. I was charmed when I first brought Shadow home that she went right to Duke’s old toy box and started playing with the toys. Talk about a quick adjustment period! Who could be so lucky?

I’m comforted by the similarities I see in the dogs. So what is the problem?

It seems that I am very lucky to have two great dogs, and I am. Yet I sometimes find myself assigning Shadow the job of being “Duke 2.0.” She is not.

I have not allowed her the time and space to show me all the wonderful things that she can be yet. I get disappointed when Shadow shows a behavior that Duke never would (i.e. the case of the disappearing chicken breasts). But she is not he. I must learn to teach her what is expected. I can’t take for granted she knows what to do just because of the similarities. And I certainly can’t expect her to live up the expectations of an old friend she has never met.

And that is the point of this entry. In dogs, as with people, we need to give those we let into our lives the opportunity to show us what is great, unique and different about them — even when they seem so much like others we have loved.

They say it’s the journey that matters, not the destination, and that is particularly true with our four-legged friends. Getting to know a new dog is a wonderful adventure. And just as no two dogs are alike, the relationship you build with your canine buddy is utterly one of a kind.

I see great things for Shadow and me in the future. We’ll share adventures, hikes, vacations, BBQs, days out playing with friends and lazy nights in watching Yankees games. We will share many of the things I shared with Duke, and many new things that are all Shadow. She will be her own dog, and I have no doubt she’ll make a great companion.

The Scoop on Poop

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

This week, Canine Camp Getaway hiking and lure coursing instructor Bob Dealy is guest blogging for us with the scoop on poop, responsible dog ownership and why cleaning up after dogs sometimes takes a village.

In the reader sound off section item of this morning’s paper, a lady was complaining about dog owners not picking up after their dogs. She was a bit dramatic, stating, “Do I have to dress up in a uniform and issue summonses?”

My first reaction was, Lady, you have no idea how far dog owners have come.

In college I lived off campus, I constantly had to dodge piles that were left on the sidewalk on my way to and from classes. It was all over the place.

Dog owners are so much more responsible today. The fact I noticed this as rare indicates there have been great strides made by dog owners over the last couple of decades.

Still the reader’s comment is valid. My dog can still find stray poop along our daily walk. And if you’re a responsible dog owner, you know this shouldn’t be. Like a lot of you, I’ll sigh, tell my dog to leave it and continue with the walk. As someone who likes to run, I occasionally have to avoid it or clean it off my shoes after returning home. But rarely on a walk will I pull a bag out and clean up someone else’s mess. After all it’s not my responsibility!

But after thinking about it, I have to wonder, should it be? I reluctantly came to the conclusion, yes.

There are two reasons for us to consider this. One, dog poop is the greatest danger to our own dogs, as it transmits illness to our dog or other dogs in our home area. Active dog owners are at greater risk than the general dog-owning public. Two, it enhances the reputation of dogs and their owners within the community. Property owners are not responsible for the care of our dogs and that includes picking up after our dogs.

If you know where there is stray waste on your walk, take an extra bag and remove it. Set the example for responsible ownership in your community. The property owner will appreciate it, and maybe the person whose dog dropped it will learn from your example. (I highly doubt the second part but it’s possible.)

In a world where we are asking for public funds for dog parks, showing increased responsibility in ownership can only help us all.