A dog needs physical exercise to build muscles, strengthen the bones and develop fine motor skills. A healthy dog is also happier and most likely to live longer. Physical exercise is an excellent way to remove a lot of the mental stress that make your dog restless when alone, chewing on your shoes, barking at the door bell and so on.
You should, as much as possible, stay away from hard surfaces like asphalt when walking/exercising your dog. It is very tough on their joints and it only challenges a small amount of their muscles. Are you lucky enough to live close by a park or forest you should spend as much time there as possible. To a dog it’s close to heaven.
The rough terrain(puppy standard) forces the puppy to use all his muscles just to prevent him from falling. Hi is building strength much faster compared to a dog walking on asphalt only, and the soft surface works as a cushion preventing impact damage to joints and muscles. I prefer to let my dog go free so he can challenge the terrain at his own pace. Doing so he will soon start exploring the surroundings and build self esteem at the same time. You can hide treats or toys around the terrain to help him get started.
As a rule I have an imaginary limit(30 meters) as to how far he can go before I call him back or demanding his attention. This worked perfect with my last dog Otello and he never left the “safe zone” when running free. I’m not yet sure if this was just me being lucky with Otello or if it actually works, only time will tell. After only two weeks with Garm it looks promising. Every time he get to the limit, he stoppes and looks back to check on me before proceeding. That is all the time you need to connect to him so you can give a command. Be sure to give lots of praise when he make that connection with you.
This story of life starts with the death of my best friend through almost eight years, my german shepard Otello.
Two years ago he tore his ACL and went through surgery even though his odds were small for full recovery. The operation went well, but his joint had taken so much damage that it was propably only a question of time until the injury would start affecting him. In retrospect I’m not sure if I would do this operation again unless the dog is guarantied a full recovery. The next few months was hard on us both. Me, for having to watch my friend in pain day after day and Otello for having to live through it not knowing why he had to suffer. What did amaze me though was his constant positive spirit, never giving up. I think the best thing about the whole experience is how we bonded in a way I couldn’t think possible and should define the next two years together.
His injury never fully recovered. Even though he never complained, or gave a direct signal that he was in pain, it was obvious that something was wrong. Lately the trips was getting shorter every day and other injuries started to occure, probably because of the exstra load trying to take the weight of the injuried foot. Still he stayed positive and was happy just to be with me. I guess his always positive attitude and love for me is what made the decision to end his life so much harder and more difficult to deal with later on. On wednesday the 16. of march I realized this couldn’t go on anymore and a very difficult phone call was made to the veterinarian, late in the evening, asking if he could meet me at his office to end my best friends life. Twenty minutes later it was all over. The first 10 minutes I was relieved it was finally over and his pain was gone, then the black cloud of doubt crashed in hard and I started wondering if my decision was the right one. It’s not easy to make such a decision for someone who can’t defend themself, and when it’s done you can only hope it was the right one. There is NO do over! Thank you my friend, I will allways love you and remember you!
I made this blog to remember my friend Otello, but this story goes on with my new dog Garm(from norse mythology). He is also a german shepard and is barely three weeks old(born 29.02.2016). Because of his young age I haven’t been able to pick him up yet and have to wait for another four weeks to bring him home.
In this blog I will try to share the growth and life of Garm from birth to his death(may he live forever), and share my experiences with you. Hopefully you will also share some of yours with me.