Sports to Keep Your Dog Active

Many of us enjoy walking with our dogs to get some exercise and fresh air. It not only benefits us and our overall health but our canine companions’ health as well. Exercise stimulates the mind of each species. For us, it frees our minds and lets us have a moment to take everything in stride. For dogs, the smells of the world outside their yard are exciting. Walking the dog can get a bit tedious though. Same path, same trail, same neighborhood, it becomes mundane, then we look for excuses to stay indoors – especially when it gets too hot or cold outside! But what if you could enjoy something that is not only fun but also competitive?

In the dog world, many sports exist, tailored to each dog’s specific talents, and that list seems to expand each year! They have sports for each lifestyle and fitness level. Some of these include:

Dock Diving – this is a sport that involves water, so it is perfect for summer. Many people already have dogs that have mastered the basics of this event during regular play sessions. In dock diving, the handler throws a toy into the water. The dog is then measured on the height and length of their jump when they dive after it. Many dog breeds, such as Labradors, excel in this sport.

Agility – arguably the most popular dog sport, agility is all about speed and athleticism. This includes the handler. There is a lot of running involved! In agility, dogs must complete an obstacle course under the guidance of their handler. It takes a lot of discipline and focus on the dog’s part and is best suited to obedient and high-energy dogs.

Lure Coursing – do you have a speed demon that chases everything in sight? Then this is a great sport for you and there is no running on your part! It all comes down to the dog and their natural drive to chase. Many breeds such as greyhounds and Ibizan hounds are masters of this sport however any breed with speed can excel. It involves a white flag placed on a motorized line. The dogs are judged on their speed. It’s a wonderful outlet for their need to chase without the potential of harming another animal!

Rally – if you have a focused obedient dog, this is great for them, no matter the age, breed, or size. This goes for people too! Rally is about the team of dog and handler working together to follow obedience prompts. These prompts are placed on signs that the owner must read then direct the dog to do. Your marks reflect your swiftness and correctness in obedience.

Nosework – do you have nothing but a hound dog? Are they crying all the time? Then this is a great sport for them! This appeals to a dog’s natural instincts and comes in many different forms. There is tracking, which mimics search-and-rescue. Nose or scent work requires the dog to find a scent and alert their owner. This one is an easy one to do at home by hiding hot dogs in boxes and rewarding your dog when they locate them. Finally, there is Barnhunt, which is a trial involving rats (humanely protected in carriers) hidden in hay bales. The dog must hunt the rats as their ancient ancestors did, tunneling and climbing to find them.

In all dog sports, any breed can compete, whether a mutt or a purebred! Blue ribbons aside, the main goal of these events is to bring joy to dogs and build the bond shared with their owners. If you’re interested in participating the best place to start is by taking an obedience class at your local dog training club. Below are a few nearby locations here in Little Rock. Having practiced some of these myself, I highly recommend it.

  • Little Rock Dog Training Club
  • Off Leash K9 Training
  • Conway Canine Companions
  • The Pine Hill Ranch Canine Center

Something to Honk About

As many of our patients know, the Pinnacle Physical Therapy office sits beside a pond. This lovely pond is home to the resident Canada geese. During April we had a few new additions added to the goosey crew! On my first day at the office, I was so excited to see some adorable baby geese (goslings) waddling after their parents right outside our window. What a great first impression of my new journey with PPT!

Now I know, I know – not everyone likes geese. My husband is particularly averse to them and mentions it every time I talk about the geese hanging around our office. I’m finding out he has a pretty common story. That is, he a goose attacked him as a child! While at the zoo with family, a pair of geese approached. His mother and grandmother surrounded him to keep him safe, but the geese were too fast for them.

Side-stepping the adults, they bit my husband, and he’s had a distaste for waterfowl ever since. I was fortunate that I never had that goose-related experience, so it’s hard for me to relate. I think they’re so cute! I would also love to have one but have gotten a resounding “no” in response to that request.

I’ll have to be satisfied with the geese here at our office. We’ve been watching our goose family here at PPT grow every day, and their transformation has been amazing to witness. Very soon, they will be adults and flying on their own. In fact goslings can fly 2-3 months after hatching! Speaking of goose facts, did you know:

  • Nesting season: Mid-March to mid-May
  • The mother goose waits until all eggs are laid before she begins to sit on the nest to incubate eggs.
  • All geese eggs in a single clutch hatch on approximately the same day.
  • The Canada geese population grows about 19.5% each year.

You can check out some more goose facts HERE. Maybe learning a few facts about them can help alleviate the suffering geese have caused some people – but I doubt it.

When you come to our office be on the lookout for these little guys, and feel free to go behind the building to see the pond. It’s very peaceful watching the birds on the water taking life at a leisurely pace.

I think we could all learn a little from geese. Take things slow, don’t back down, and make an impression wherever you go – even if it’s in someone’s way, such as in front of my car when I try to leave in the evenings.

Do you think we should name them?

Home and Cooking, Seasonal

Natural Pest Control

With the changing season, many of us have begun gardens. Growing your food produces fresh, healthy fruits and veggies to fuel your body, and gardening gives you a good workout!

One of the issues I face is pest control, and using harmful pesticides is not an option for me. Because of this, I’ve researched alternative ways to repel pests and better the health of my plants overall. One of the fascinating things I’ve learned about is plant compatibility.

Certain plants help with soil nutrition when grown near each other. Clover, rye, and oats, for example, can be used as cover crops, fixing helpful things like nitrogen in the soil promoting plant growth. They also smother weeds keeping down the growth of these competitor plants. Many plants can help repel pests, attract vital pollinators, and increase growth. Some combos include:

Lettuce and calendula. Calendula attracts slugs, so they feed on them and not the lettuce.

Tomato and basil. Not just a great combo on pizza, basil repels insects, improves growth, and enhances the flavor of tomatoes.

Cucumbers and radishes. Radishes help deter cucumber beetles, acting as a trap crop for flea beetles and other insects.

These are just some of the many combinations in the gardening world! Companion planting is a great way to get the best bang for your buck this summer and increase your garden’s output.