Living Room Etiquette

May 15, 2017 5:29 pm

Our talks can take us to all sorts of places. From muddy fields on a windy day, right the way through to lovely living rooms with an endless supply of tea! It was at the latter where I gave a recent talk on Friday 21st April thanks to Ace of Dogs’ owner and main trainer Helen, who kindly opened up her home to us. To clarify, that should actually be Helen and Toby; Toby played the role of host perfectly; greeting everyone at the door, showing them in, and sitting patiently for a treat once people were seated! As you can imagine, he got lots of attention and loved having a big fuss made of him. He was even a willing volunteer in demonstrating some of the stretches that we discuss during the talk.

Toby being a superstar for Kim!

During my talk, I cover a number of topics including some suggestions and tips on caring for both your younger as well as your more elderly dogs. We had some great questions around the older dog at this talk so I thought that for this blog post, I would share with you some of what we discussed.

Just keep moving

Firstly, for the elderly (and middle-aged!) dogs, it is important to keep them moving. Whilst they may be slowing up a little, stopping their exercise completely is definitely not encouraged. The less exercise they do, the less they will be inclined to do and you can quickly find yourself on a downward spiral. My suggestion is to break up their walks slightly; so rather than an hour-long walk, two half hour walks may be more favourable. That is definitely not to say that they should never be taken on a long walk again (hands up who loves a long weekend walk with their dog?). The important thing is to give them time to rest after they have undergone a longer bout of exercise. In the same way that I suspect that the majority of us would not like to run a 10K the day after completing a marathon, so too do our canine friends feel the fatigue.

Somewhere to rest your head

We discussed at length the benefit of elevated beds; Toby and his doggy buddies cared for by Helen are lucky guys who all have very lovely elevated beds which Helen agreed they all adore. The benefit of elevating your dog’s sleeping and resting space off the ground is that you immediately remove them from any draughts. It is surprising how draughty homes actually can be at ground level. Moving your dog out of draughts may be especially pertinent to the elderly dog who is likely to find them particularly problematic. I am definitely not advocating the need for the purchase of new dog beds and baskets however; it is absolutely possible to raise current beds using some simple raisers.

Ramp it up

Finally, the use of ramps can be especially beneficial once your dog starts to become a little more resistant to jumping into your car. However, this can be particularly challenging as it is likely that you have been assisting your dog up until now, and most dogs prefer you to lift them into the car rather than using a newly introduced ramp! I strongly advise carers of large and giant breed dogs who might one day need a ramp to introduce it as soon as possible. I promise that it will make your future life that bit easier.

So, a massive thank you to Helen and Toby for their hospitality and keeping us all well-hydrated with cups of tea and coffee, and to everyone who attended the talk for bringing bundles of enthusiasm, energy and questions with them.

We have been busy over the past few weeks with a couple more talks already under our belt. Check back soon as I will be writing more about these over the coming weeks. Remember that we are always looking to spread the word so if you are involved with a dog training or agility club and would like to know more about booking a talk with us, please drop me a line at kim@theralph.vet.

Thanks as always for reading,
Kim

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