Happy doggy ambassadors!

We’re on the search for 5 new ambassadors for 100 Happy Doggy Days!
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So if you want to show the world how happy your dog is and all at the same time be raising awareness of overweight and unhealthy pets, then comment below with a photo of you and your doggy getting active and a small explanation as to why you think your dog would make the best doggy ambassador for 100 happy doggy days!

There is no criteria other than joining in on the #100happydoggydays challenge and committing to walk your dog 100 days in a row. We love all dogs; small, big, short-hair, long-hair, chubby or fit. The point of 100 happy doggy days is to encourage people to exercise with their dogs more often for a happier and healthier pet!

Many of our followers have already met our doggy ambassador, Coco.

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If you want to see more of Coco follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

Happy walking!

Brigitte

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11 ways to a happier dog: Stimulation and Training

Dogs are highly intelligent animals, which is why it is so important to try keep them mentally stimulated. Bored, unmotivated dogs will tend to compensate for lack of stimulation by developing their own forms of amusement – many of which are unacceptable to their owners.

There are many ways to keep a dog mentally stimulated that don’t involve a huge time commitment: just a few minutes every day will make a huge difference to your dog’s outlook on life. The key is to introduce variety and mental challenges that he will enjoy tackling. You reward will be a dog that is happier and more alert, and a pleasure to own.

1. Consider a new activity such as agility training (Check out ways to vary your exercise routine)

2. Try showing him in the fun classes at dog shows, such as the dog with the waggiest tail or best biscuit eater ever!

3. Teach him some new tricks such as rollovers and high-fives

4. Enrol in an advanced dog training class

5. Give your dog’s toys names and teach them to him. Make a game out of asking him to fetch them for you one at a time.

6. Make use of interactive toys that are filled with food and dispense treats as they are moved around during play. (Always take into consideration your dog’s diet and weight)

7. Hide treats in the house and garden and encourage your dog to find them

8. Involve him in the family, such as taking him to the beach or on a picnic. Check out Sydney’s top dog-friendly beaches

9. Vary the route of your walks and research new ones for you to enjoy. Check out Sydney’s top 5 dog walking tracks

10. If your dog enjoys swimming in summer, take him for walks near water or treat him to some hydrotherapy sessions.

11. Go for walks with other dog owners so that your dog has plenty of social contact

Happy walking!

Brigitte

Sydney’s Top 4 Dog-Friendly Beaches

With the warmer weather on its way, we decided to share Sydney’s top dog-friendly beaches for you and your dog to enjoy this summer!

1.Greenhill’s Beach – Cronulla

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Photo credit: Shire Dogs

This is Sydney’s only ocean fronting dog friendly beach.  The beach is off-leash before 10am and after 4pm each day. Dogs are banned from the beach, even on a lead, outside of these times.

2. Dumaresque Reserve – Rose Bay


Photo credit: Great Dog Walks

Dogs are allowed on leash at all times and off leash between 4:30 pm and 8:30 am.

3. Sirius Cove – Mosman


Photo credit: Great Dog Walks

Unleashed dogs are permitted on the beach and in the water all day Monday to Friday, and prior to 9am and after 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.

4. Silver Beach – Kurnell


Photo Credit: Great Dog Walks

Silver Beach fronts Botany Bay and is off-leash 24 hours a day between the third and fourth groynes (jetties) from the western end.
Have you visited one of these beaches? How did you find it?  We would love your feedback!
Happy walking!
Brigitte

Day 50 of 100 happy doggy days

Having hit day 50 of 100 happy doggy days we decided to dedicate this blog post to ‘ways you can make your walk more fun’. Walk are often nowhere near as much fun for the owner as they are for the dog. You trudge the same route every day and see the same sights – and the only time you interact with your dog is to reprimand him for barking or when you try to put him back on the lead. It needn’t be like this!

Walking your dog is an excellent way to develop your relationship and improve his social skills. Dogs love to exercise and enjoy spending this quality time with their ‘pack leader’.

So here are 5 ways to make walks fun

Vary the route If you’re bored then your dog probably is too. Remember that he will pick up on your moods. If you live near a park, nature reserve or beach, get into the car and take him there. You could resolve to make one dog-walk a week a special outing involving the whole family! Check out our top 5 dog-walking tracks in Sydney

Visit shops and friends Combine the walk with errands such as shopping or a visit to the bank. If you have friends who are dog owners, arrange to meet up and walk together so the dogs can play.

Take some exercise Jogging with your dog will keep you both fit and he will enjoy it. Cycling while your dog trots alongside can also be fun

Play Frisbee Visit the park and see how far you can throw a Frisbee with your dog catching it before it hits the ground. Check out other fun games you can play with your dog!

Get educational Agility and obedience training mean exercise for you and training for your pet.

If you haven’t joined 100 happy doggy days yet, make the commitment now to walk your dog 100 days in a row.

Happy walking!

Brigitte

The sniffers

As humans we don’t tend to spend a lot of time thinking about smelling. Smells are only minor blips in our sensory day especially when compared to the enormous amounts of visual information that we take in every second. Maybe if I really focus I can smell the coffee next to me on the table, and maybe the fresh scent of the book cracked open – but only if I press my nose into the pages. Not only are we not always smelling, but when we do notice a smell it is usually only because it is a particularly good smell, or a bad one: it’s rarely just a source of information. We find most odours alluring or repulsive; few have the neutral character that visual perceptions do. As we see the world, the dog smells it. Their world of odours is at least as rich as their world of sight.

Dogs don’t act on the world by handling objects or by eyeballing them, as people do; instead they bravely stride right up to a new, unknown object, stretch their magnificent snouts within millimetres of it, and take a nice deep sniff. Animals sniff to investigate the world.

The tissue of the inside of a nose is entirely blanketed with tiny receptor sites; each with soldier hairs to help catch molecules of certain shapes and pin them down. Human noses have about six million of these sensory receptor sites; sheepdogs, over two-hundred million; beagle noses, over three-hundred million. The difference in smell experience is exponential. We might notice if our coffee’s been sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar; a dog can detect a teaspoon of sugar diluted in a million gallons of water; two Olympic -sized swimming pools. Want more amazing facts about your dog’s nose?

When you begin to appreciate your dog’s smelly world you will enjoy watching him just sit and sniff around. You may even consider taking him on a ‘smell walk’, stopping at every land mark along your route in which she shows interest. He is looking; being outside is the most smelly, wonderful part of his day. You will double-think cutting that short next time.

Check out Inside of a Dog: What a dog sees, smells and knows by Alexandra Horowitz

Happy walking!

Brigitte

Let’s Play!

Playing games with your dog is a great opportunity for you both to learn to communicate, trust, have fun and work together. There are several games you can play with your dog which not only assist in training but also keep your dog stimulated. Playing games will significantly increase the bond between the two of you and is good exercise too! You can enjoy playing with your dog on his own, or invite some of his canine friends and their owners to join in the fun as well.

Toy Time

Collect a variety of toys for you dog and give each of them a name. You can then use treats to help teach your dog to identify and pick up the toys in his mouth, either giving them to you or dropping them into a toy box. Always carry some toys in your pocket when out on your walk with your dog, so that you can use them in a game. It’s particularly useful to be able to engage him in play when you see distractions ahead, such as another dog. Balls, Frisbees and tug-of-war are ideal.

Games you can play
(with the stuff lying around your house!)

Hide and seek Put your dog in the down and stay position then go off and hide. Call his name and see how long he takes to find you. Praise him every time he is successful.

Treasure Hunt You can play this indoors and out. Hide some teats or toys then release your dog to go off and find them. Make it easy for him at first.

Follow the leader Set up an obstacle course using items such as cones, steps, a shallow padding pool, a hula hoop and so on. Time how quickly you and your dog can successfully negotiate the course.

Tug-of-war Some trainers advise against playing the tug-of-war game, but provided you ensure that it is you and not the dog that remains in charge at all times, you are able safely to signal the end of the game, they can be very fun. It’s best to avoid sing items such as clothing as this could encourage your dog to pull at something you are wearing. Instead, make a toy from knotting think rope.

10 Human Benefits of Walking Every Day

For many of us the thought of walking our dog is seen as just another chore as part of being a responsible dog owner. Yes, this is true but it is easy to forget that walking every day is not only for your doggy’s benefit. There are several benefits for us humans too.

Why then is it that over 60% of Australian adults are still failing to do the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day? (The Australia Health Survey 2011-2012). In fact, both men and women spend over two months of each year on sedentary activities!

So if you still need more convincing to get more active with your doggy, here are 10 human benefits of walking every day!

1. A healthier heart

Regular walking has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in check. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Australia, with 43,946 deaths attributed to CVD in Australia in 2012. Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes (Heart Foundation, 2014)

2. It lowers the risk of disease

As well as heart disease, a walking habit can slash your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, asthma and some cancers. A study in the British Medical Journal showed taking more steps every day can help ward off diabetes. And according to the charity Walking For Health, regular exercise such as walking could reduce risk by up to 60 per cent. Those of us who are active have around a 20 per cent lower risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast and womb than those least active.

3. It keeps us at a healthy weight

If you’re trying to lose a bit of weight a walk of 30 minutes or more a day can make a big difference with little effort! If you start walking every day you will accustom your body to that level of physical activity and naturally may work yourself up to a daily jog. You’ve got to start somewhere!

4. It can help prevent dementia

Each week, there are more than 1,700 new cases of dementia in Australia; approx. one person every 6 minutes (Fight Dementia, 2014) According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, physical exercise reduces your risk of developing dementia by 50 per cent and also works to slow down the deterioration in those already affected (Help Guide, 2014).

5. and osteoporosis

Walking counts as a weight-bearing activity, it stimulates and strengthens bones, increasing their density – which is very important! It also helps maintain healthy joints so may ward off conditions such as arthritis.

6. Toned legs and bum!

A consistent routine of walking can help strengthen and shape your legs, giving great definition to calves, quads, hamstrings and lifting your glutes (buttock muscles) – especially if you add hills.

7. It gives you a chance to think.

When we walk, we think. And because walking is a low-difficulty endeavour, we can direct our executive functioning to more internal matters. We work through problems, come up with ideas, replay conversations, scheme, ruminate, and discover solutions. Or maybe we just think about that funny cat video we saw on YouTube. That’s a worthy subject, too.

8. It boosts your vitamin D levels

If you’re walking outside in daylight, you’ll be boosting your body’s stores of vitamin D – a nutrient that’s hard to get from food, but that we can synthesise from exposure to sunlight. It plays a big role in everything from bone health to immunity. Just make sure you slip, slop, slap.

9. It gives you energy

A brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive!

10. It reduces stress and makes you happy!

It is an increasing trend to find Australians reporting higher levels of stress and anxiety each year (Australian Psychological Society, 2013). Like any other cardiovascular exercise, brisk walking boosts endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression (Science Daily, 2013). Studies have shown regular, moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) to be as effective as antidepressants in cases of mild to moderate depression.

So start walking today with your pooch by your side and don’t forget to share the experience with us #100happydoggydays!

Happy walking!

Brigitte