Spring is such an exciting time for everyone! The new flowers come up along with the warmer weather. It is a great time to begin doing more activities with your canine companion. After a cold and snowy winter, many owners make the mistake of wanting their dog to be exhausted and risk over-exerting their dog. Also some new dog owners who have newly adopted dogs or older puppies that they received during the winter and holidays make the mistake of thinking their dog will be perfect off-leash and cause many problems. There are many dangers that come along with the spring-time as well that many owners have the luxury of either being slack about during the winter that come out and by that I mean all the critters.
Many dog owners make the mistake of thinking their dog is off-leash ready on the trails without proper training around distractions and new places. I believe every dog has the capability and the right to be off-leash no matter their personality or behavior problems. A good dog trainer can make any dog successful and bring clients the happiness they always wanted with their dog. When spring comes most people hit the trails again and have done some group classes or other form of training with their dog and have gotten them good off-leash in their yard or house. This is a not a good indicator if your dog is ready, bring them to a new place or trail and work on it there because the dog will become inundated with new smells and sounds. If you cannot get your dog to come when called think about hiring a professional dog trainer and if that trainer tells your dog doesn’t have the right temperament to be off-leash, find someone else. One tool that I recommend to every dog owner in the world who wants to increase their dogs freedom and work on distraction in a safe way is a long line. A long line(pictured below) is a 30-50 foot leash that can be clipped to your dog and allow us to control dogs while allowing more freedom. It is a great intermediary tool between learn recall and finally letting your dog off the leash. Make sure your dog is ready and proofed off of distractions on the trail such as wildlife. If your dog chases bears, coyotes, squirrels, they can still be off leash, do not let anyone or any dog trainer tell you differently. Find a good dog trainer who believes in and will help you achieve your goals.
This may seem like normal care for your dog but it becomes even more important when spring and summer come around. The ticks are back out and can give your dog lyme disease if they are unvaccinated or any multitude of tick-born disease. Make sure your dog is getting their monthly flea and tick treatment before they enter a wooded area. Summer brings mosquitos who are responsible for transmitting the deadly heartworm disease to your dog. Make sure your dog is taking their heartworm preventive medication monthly. Finally making sure your dog is up to date on all their vaccines is extremely important because in spring and summer they will be interacting with more dogs and people. We want to make sure everyone and their dog can be healthy and happy, while enjoying the trails.
Although we want to run around with our dogs all day and although they seem like they want to do it, we have to be careful not to do too much with our dogs too fast. Lets face facts, they do not get the same amount of exercise in winter as they do in spring and summer. Just like people dogs need time to get back into shape, make sure you are watching your dog and looking for signs of them doing too much such as limping, heavy breathing, lethargy. Build up your dogs physical fitness to avoid later injury and discomfort from doing too much too fast. If your interested more in dog exercise and getting your dogs physical fitness ready read our article on getting your dog ready for exercise.