Does your dog spend too much time alone?

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Ah, if we could, wouldn’t we spend every day with our dog! Enjoy some quality time together, take long walks and naps whenever we had the chance. But… most of us have duties outside the house! Whether it be for work, studies, errands or some important event, we sometimes have to leave our dog alone for what feels like very long hours. Some take it better than others, and sometimes this situation can even become a problem.

 Among the many unavoidable situations dog owners have to face, one of the most unpleasant ones certainly is leaving your dog home alone. Whether you’ve just popped out to the shops or gone to work for the whole day, each side is unhappy, your dog feels lonely and bored or you feel guilty. When we decided to welcome this little furry friend into our lives, we did mean to take care of it, not to leave it caged between four walls. Some  lucky ones among us are able to pop back home during the day and take their dog out for a walk. Some very lucky ones can even take their canine friend to work, but  they are not the majority.

Warning signs that your dog spends too much time alone

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Recently, we told you in details about separation anxiety. Many dogs are prone to it and sometimes it can even lead to panic attacks. The symptoms are numerous and can include whining, barking or scratching and destroying furniture. Sometimes dogs may even do their business inside while the owner is away, or right in from of them when they come home. In Alicante, Spain a bill is being drafted to prevent dog owners from leaving their dogs alone for more than 12 hours, else they could be fined from 30  up to 600 euros.

If your dog is usually stable and starts to change all of sudden, pay attention to those warning signs: if it starts hurting itself while chasing its tail frantically, or for instance if it bites or scratches itself raw. Stable dogs appreciate the company of other members of a pack. If yours looks sad or dispirited, it could be because of boredom after many hours alone. If on the contrary, your dog is restless, breaks objects and keeps barking, maybe beyond being bored, your dog needs activity! Try and give it the chance to exert itself several times a day. Or would you rather it used all its energy to redecorate your living room?

What does my dog do when it’s home alone? All dog owners have once wondered about this and The Secret Life of Pets even made it its premiss.

Of course, it’s a work of fiction but it would still be amusing to find out what our dogs do when we’re not there. Well, pet cameras have been invented for that! With the help of a smartphone application and a camera in our house, we can now watch our dogs’ every gesture, and even with the most sophisticated apps, give treats or talk through the microphone.

Some suggestions

Silly as it seems, one of the easiest ways for your dog not to feel lonely is to have great company! Without necessarily suffering from separation anxiety, your dog could be feeling that your working hours are far too long, and that beyond the need to do its business, it just needs someone at home, a walking companion, playmate and affecionate presence. The good news is that we have the solution for you: welcome a Gudog sitter in your pooch’s life!

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Bruce is patiently for walking time with Raquel

 

According to the number of hours you will have to be away for, you can opt for the Dog Walking or Doggy Day Care service. If you need these services regularly, you may talk about it with our sitters via the Gudog messaging service and they can send you a personalised reservation and offer you a corresponding fee to be spent in exchange of vouchers for several dog walks for instance. The Dog Walking service lasts an hour, during which the sitter makes sure your dog gets exercise, plays, does its business and exerts itself as much as possible. If you choose the Doggy Day Care, your dog will be staying at the sitter’s house for a maximum of ten hours and according to your preferences, it can be the sitter’s only guest or one of several furry guests. Feeling like a king, your dog will barely notice that you left. Some of our users at Gudog tell us that their dogs are overwhelmed with joy when they realise they are about to go to their sitter’s. This kind of sign definitely means that your dog is in very good hands!

Numerous products designed to entertain your dog while you’re away are available on the market such as Dog biscuits and treat dispenser toys and even audio books designed specifically to soothe dogs. But of course nothing will ever replace our sitters’ love and devotion!

Ride with your dog, like a pro!

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Summer is one of the best moments of the year to go for a ride, but you don’t want your dog to be staying home alone while you are having a good time outside in the sun! Therefore we encourage you to ride your bike along with your faithful companion, taking into account the advice which we are about to give you.

Did you know that cycling makes you burn 110 kcals in 20 minutes? For that reason, it is a very healthy activity which requires little effort, as it is up to you to decide on the pace and distance that you deem appropriate. The same goes for your dog, whose physical condition is to be taken into account before embarking on the ride!

The breed and age are the two main factors that you should keep in mind. Whereas some dogs are highly energetic and will love the ride, others not so much. Besides, burning calories also helps dogs to remain fit after a long winter.

Remember that in order to enjoy your doggy bike ride, you must avoid high temperatures. Thus, do not go for the ride at the hottest time of the day, or else your dog could suffer from a heatstroke. Also remember to bring water along with you to cool down your pooch.
What’s more, if your dog is one to pull the leash, there are various bike tow leashes available on the market that could come in handy for you. They consist in clip-on metal bars to be fastened onto the bike frame, easy to attach or remove to suit your needs.

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Tow leashes are ideal for dogs who are getting started with bike rides, and/or for small to medium sized breeds. It’s always best to teach your dog as a pup as they understand orders even better at a young age, but older dogs are also good companions for the ride and can learn just as efficiently.

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Just begin at a normal speed, as if you were walking alongside your bike, so that your dog feels comfortable, and then little by little, start increasing the pace until you see that they are enjoying the ride! It is also important to teach your dog that when the front wheel  makes a turn, your dog also has to turn. The aim is to “push aside” the dog so that they don’t get run over. That way, they will learn to follow the same direction as the front wheel.

Do be on the lookout for any danger that could turn up during the ride: watch out for traffic (whenever possible, we recommend rides in the countryside as they are less dangerous, healthier and gentler for our hairy friends’ paws) and for potential distractions for your dog, such as the spotting of another dog, cat or rabbit, which could turn out to be a hazard for you both.

What’s more, tow leashes can be risky to use for some large dogs as the leashes are welded and in case of a sharp pull, the welding could snap.

This is what happened to Troya, Gudog’s new member, a mixed German Shepherd who started using the tow leash as a pup. She was very good at it until she became an adult and reached 30 kilos which is when she became stronger and started to pull. The welding snapped when some hares and cats crossed the street in front of Troya whose instinct to “hunt” had her make a sharp pull.
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Here, Troya is using a 1-meter-long chain attached to the bike frame and covered in a plastic tube (on sale at ironmongers’) so that the chain doesn’t get caught in the wheels.

Finally, if your pooch is not one for exercise, if they are a bit old, or simply because it’s just one of those days, you can always enjoy the ride with a doggy bicycle sidecar!

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Give them time and trust and everything will run smoothly!

Dog agility: exercise and fun with your dog!

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If you are inseparable from your hairy friend but also keen to work out, look no further, dog agility is what you need!

Dog agility was born in 1977 in England at the Crufts Dog Show. The idea stemmed from creating a show jumping event for dogs to keep the audience entertained during the intermission, and since then it hasn’t stopped attracting fans.

What does Dog agility consist in?

The dog must get through a circuit made up of a series of obstacles, helped by instructions from his owner, within a time limit set by a judge.

In agility, it is very important that the dog should learn certain commands such as sit, lie down, stay, and that it should be able to follow hand instructions as once on the track the owner will be the one in charge of showing the dog, through gestures and commands, which way to go.

Of course, due to their genetic characteristics, certain breeds are more likely to stand out from others in agility. But one should keep in mind that the key to success in this sport lies in the coordination and nimbleness of the owner, as well as in their capacity to communicate and have a good relationship with their dog. Consequently, it is not unusual  to see pooches of different breeds, including mixed breeds, appear on the podiums of renowned international competitions.

 

Any dog, regardless of its breed or size, can partake in an agility competition. It is vital that the dog be in good health and, most of all, that it should not suffer from illnesses such as dysplasia or other types of ailment. For that reason, it is best to do a good veterinary check up beforehand.

There are three categories in which your dog can compete, according to its size:

  • S (for small dogs) below 35 cm at the withers.
  • M (for medium dogs) between 35 cm and 43 cm at the withers.
  • L (for large dogs) from 43 cm at the withers, and above.

The obstacles are classified in three categories:

  • Jumps: hurdles, panel, spread and tire jump.
  • Contact obstacles: seesaw, dog walk and crossover.
  • Others: tunnel, collapsed tunnel, weave poles, long jump and pause table. 

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The benefits of doing agility with your dog

  • It’s a good way to keep both of you in good shape, all the while improving your coordination and concentration.
  • You will learn to communicate better with your dog and vice versa.
  • Obstacles are a proprioception exercise. It’s a great opportunity for easily scared dogs to gain trust and self-confidence.
  • You will meet plenty of dog lovers, just like you!

And if you’re busy but still want your dog to exert itself, remember that our dog sitters are here to help!