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?


Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, a campaign started by the ASPCA in 2006 to celebrate protecting our animals from harm. 

During this month we need to learn how we as human beings can prevent cruelty and take action against it. Sometimes the laws are unclear and different between counties and cities, but there are Arkansas laws that encompass the entire state. You must learn your local and state laws regarding domestic animals and livestock so that you can know the steps to take to stop the abuse.

In Arkansas the following laws apply statewide:

(1) Cruelty to animals ARK. CODE ANN. § 5-62-103 

(2) Aggravated cruelty to dogs, cats, horses ARK. CODE. ANN. § 5-62-104

Aggravated cruelty is the physical abuse or overworking of an animal – a malicious act that causes harm or unnecessary suffering. However, what is the definition of “cruelty” when it comes to the law? These are the following categories of cruelty to animals.

– Neglect – not providing proper food, water, or shelter. 

– Abandonment – such as dumping of animals or leaving them behind after moving.

– Leaving Pets in Hot or Cold Cars

– Dogfighting

– Animal Hoarding (certain cities have pet limits in place to prevent this)

There are also city-specific laws, for example, the City of Little Rock prohibits keeping your dog chained for extended periods.

So, what do you need to do if you witness animal cruelty? 

If you see a dog locked in a hot car or witness a person inflicting pain on an animal, you should call 9-1-1 so they can advise you, but other situations are less clear-cut. 

  1. Assess the situation and try to gather evidence such as photographs and videos. DON’T trespass or try to take animals from the property as this is illegal and could land you in trouble, but the evidence is crucial to investigations.
  2. Contact your local animal control. If you’re unable to find information for your area, contact the police. They will be able to direct you to who you need to contact. Local rescues may also be able to help by providing info and resources. 
  3. Help investigators, but don’t interfere. Though you can report cruelty anonymously, being willing to give testimony can help a cruelty case exponentially. 

If you witness cruelty report it and follow up if you don’t see results. Research your local laws and stand up for the creatures that don’t have voices.

Here are some resources to research your local laws:

Animal Law Resource Center

Animal Legal and Historical Center

Arkansas State Animal Control Association

Municode, Pulaski Co.

City of Little Rock Animal Services

If you are unsuccessful with your local organizations below are links you can also use to report animal cruelty and find more info about the steps you can take to stop it:

HSUS – Report Animal Cruelty

Animal Humane Society – Report Animal Cruelty

Please share any info you feel will help people learn their local laws. Do your city laws differ from others? The more we learn, the more we can do.


Cat Scratch Fever

Like a lot of cat owners my furniture aesthetic ranges from moderately maimed to utter annihilation. There is just something about a couch that gets a cat’s claws itching for destruction.

Here are some methods I’ve used in my attempts to keep the demolition at bay.

Step 1

The first step is to trim your cat’s nails. It’s not a fun task, but dull claws mean less damage to your home.

Step 2

The most important step in correcting this behavior it providing scratching surfaces for your cat. This allows them to scratch that natural itch to use their claws.  

So how do you get them to use a scratching post?

Cricket found the cat nip enticing – Teighlor C.

Place the scratching post in a prominent location. Though tempting to put the post where we like it best, cats use scent and scratch marks to communicate and they like their messages to be loud and proud.

Use catnip to lure your kitty over to where you’d like them to scratch. When your cat uses the surface reward them with play and treats!

That all being said my six cats have two scratching posts and a $200 cat tree and still attack my couch at every opportunity. So how do you deter them from your furniture and carpet while you train them to use a scratching post? Here are some methods I’ve tried with mixed success.

Deterrent Sprays

Not to be confused with squirting a cat with water, which doesn’t do anything but make your cat upset and your furniture wet. Deterrent Sprays come in many shapes and forms, from using scents cats find unpleasant to sprays specifically designed to train your cat. While having to reapply daily is a downside and the odors can be quite strong, sprays are affordable and can be found at most pet supply stores. (I can try to get an image of the spray mist, but worried about showing labels). 

Feliway or other Synthetic Cat Hormones

As a standalone Feliway is not a solution, but I included this one in the list because it has been successful in helping with various behavioral problems amongst my six. Synthetic hormones help to promote a calm environment making anxious cats feel more secure, which leads to less territorial marking in general.


A lot of professional behaviorists recommend this method and there are two kinds of tape suggested. Double-sided tape, which creates an unpleasant sticky surface that cats hate, and a thick tape like SmartyKat Scratch Not Tape. The problem with double-sided tape is that it’s unpleasantly sticky for everyone, not just the cats, and getting your arm hair or clothing caught in it is not pleasant – trust me. It’s also easy for cats to find cracks in your defenses and before you know you’ve covered your couch in so much tape it looks like it has a plastic slipcover from the 1950s. However, it was the most successful method for me. The one-sided tape only needs to be replaced every few months and the cats left the couch alone where it was taped.

Check out the links below for more information to help curb the clawing habit:


Urine Trouble Kitty

Many people will agree that there is nothing harder than getting the smell of cat urine out of carpet and furniture! Even a normally fastidious feline can suddenly start peeing outside of the box, or spraying the walls. Urine marking is one of the top reasons cats are abandoned and surrendered to shelters. People don’t understand the root cause and give up on the problem before ever attempting to resolve it. Remember it is always important to check with your vet when unusual behavior pops up. There are many reasons why your cat could be suddenly urine marking.  


When a kitty becomes a senior they can suffer from arthritis pain. This pain can discourage the use of litter boxes. You should consult your vet to check your cat to see if pain management is an option. Purchasing a low-sided pan with no cover can also be helpful as it is easier to access.


As with aging joints, other pain can cause the kitty to associate using the litter tray with discomfort. This can range from urinary tract infections to impacted bowels. Each can be life-threatening for a cat! It’s important to have your vet check them for a UTI infection and alert them if your cat strains during a bowel movement or if there is blood in their stool.


If you have multiple cats inside your household or stray cats that roam around outside it can make your kitty feel insecure in his or her environment. This is also one of the more difficult behaviors to correct in felines. For this, there are multiple solutions depending on the situation.

  • Spay and neuter as early as possible. This goes especially for males as once a tom begins to spray this behavior can remain even after the procedure.
  • Drive off strays or feed them further from your home. Another option is to have them fixed as well. This will also help with cat overpopulation so you’ll be doing a good deed. For information on how to get started with Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) for feral cats please contact Ally Cat Allies
  • Finally, remember the golden rule: one litter box for each cat in your home plus one extra. Territorial cats can resource guard and having less to fight over can make them happier in their environment.


One common cause of sudden urine marking is a change in the cat’s normal routine. This can be anything from a new baby in the home to a new litter in the box. Cats can be very sensitive to these changes and many will react by – you guessed it – pee around the house. If you’ve tried changing the litter, go back to the old kind and slowly transition to the new by mixing. If you’ve got a new addition to the home remember this is a huge change for your cat and can cause a great deal of stress. Before the baby, put up the new nursery furniture as soon as possible. Play sounds of babies crying. The cat will need time to adjust. When the baby is home, introduce the two slowly in a quiet environment with lots of treats. Products like Feliway can help ease them into this transition. 

Never thrust sudden changes on a cat and expect them to adjust immediately. If you do then you’re failing your feline when you blame them for their stress reaction.

If all else fails, seeking a cat behaviorist can help give you further insight into causes and solutions for your cat’s naughty habits!


Backpacking With Goats, Milk on the Go!

Goats have risen to popularity over the last few years. Their mischievous antics and acrobatic feats have won them a place in the hearts of people around the world. They come in all shapes and sizes, which has allowed those without land for a full-scale farm to own these playful creatures.

Wethers (castrated males) are the typical pick for backpacking when it comes to goats, as they’re usually more even-tempered and hygienic than bucks, but don’t discount does! Even a milking doe can become accustomed to a backpack and can provide fresh milk during your adventures, which can be especially good for cooking at your campsite.

Goats typically can carry 25% of their body weight, so even breeds such as the Dwarf Nigerian; can be a helpful companion on your long walks. Just remember to keep health and conditioning in mind as goats unused to carrying packs or those that are overweight, may not be able to handle the exertion.

First and foremost remember that every piece of land belongs to someone. Make sure to check in with each owner, campsite, and State or National Park to make sure pack animals are allowed on the trails. Don’t assume that just because dogs are allowed, goats are too.

Precautions and Tips For the Trail

  • Dogs and wildlife can be the biggest threat to your goats, be prepared to fend them off and avoid areas where dogs are frequently off-leash.  
  • Always have a leash handy, and your goat trained to accept it. You never know when you may need it.  
  • Bells around the neck will help you keep up with your goats, and may also keep predators at bay.  
  • Bring plenty of water for you and your animals, along with a container for drinking (can be used for milking as well). 

Always remember safety first. Bring along supplies such as first aid kits for your goats and yourself. Should the worse happen, have a plan for emergencies. Most of all have fun. When humans and animals work together, it is an unforgettable experience.


Chips, Heroic Dog of WWII

Chips was a mutt, part German Shepherd, part Collie, part Husky. He was donated to the war effort as many family dogs were during WWII and ended up becoming, “one of the most heroic dogs to serve with the U.S. Army” according to PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin.

He was trained as a sentry dog, and served in North Africa, Italy, France, Germany and Sicily. In addition to patrol duty with the infantry, he was posted to sentry duty in Casablanca during the January 1943 Roosevelt-Churchill Conference. Through eight campaigns across Europe, Chips was a POW guard and tank guard dog.

During the invasion of Sicily, Chips and his handler Pvt. John P. Rowell became trapped by an Italian machine gun team. Chips broke free of his handler diving past gunfire into the barricade. The men were forced out and surrendered to the US. Scraped and burned but otherwise unharmed day Chips helped take 10 Italian prisoners that day.

Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart medals, but they were revoked due to an Army policy in 1943 that prevented awarding official commendations to animals.

However, in 2018 (need to check this date) Military working dog Ayron was awarded the Dickin Medal on Chips’ behalf keeping Chips’ legacy alive in America’s history.


Quick Tips for Going Green with your Pet

Going green is the new big thing. It helps the planet, and it can help you save money too. Let’s be real, we all know that means more money to spend on your pets in the long run, but it can also mean happier and healthier pets in the future.

Check out these tips for keeping the earth fit.

  1. Recycle pet food cans and plastic containers, such as those used for cat litter.  
  2. Speaking of litter, use the environmentally friendly kind. Clay litter is bad news because the dust irritates their respiratory system.  
  3. Since we’re talking about bathroom habits, remember to scoop your dog’s poop as it can pollute surface and groundwater.  
  4. If you’re picking up poo for your Cockapoo, remember plastic fills landfills; so biodegradable bags are the way to go.  
  5. Bags too close and personal for you? Buy reusable products such a metal poop scoops and washable puppy pads. 

10 Natural Home Remedies for Your Dog

These days herbal remedies are making a comeback when it comes to human health and skincare. However, your pooch can benefit too!

  1. Itchy skin? Try Vitamin E oil! Vitamin E capsules can also be broken open and used on warts, calluses, or dry spots.  
  2. Another great option for easing the itch is oatmeal. Not only is it delicious, but poultices or oatmeal baths can help soothe irritated skin.  
  3. Does your dog have an upset tummy? Electrolyte-packed liquids like flavorless pediatric drinks can help a puppy stay hydrated if he has diarrhea.  
  4. If your dog is having the opposite problem and suffers from constipation, a bit of canned pumpkin in their food can help move things along. Diced prunes can also be helpful.  
  5. Probiotics in yogurt, giving your dog a spoonful of plain yogurt can help his tummy get back on track. There are also products made especially for dogs containing probiotics that can be purchased from your vet or over-the-counter.  
  6. Dirty ears? Apple cider vinegar diluted with water and used as a rinse. Pour a small amount in the ear and massage the base. Let the dog shake to loosen debris, then gently swab the outside of the ear with a cotton ball.  
  7. Apple cider vinegar can also be used as a flea and tick repellant. Before your dog goes outside spritz them with a 50/50 solution of ACV and water.  
  8. Fleas also hate citrus! Lightly rub the juice of a fresh-squeezed orange or lemon along with your dog’s coat before he heads outdoors. Go ahead and make yourself some lemonade while you’re at it.  
  9. It may be gross to think about, but adding beneficial nematodes to your garden can help kill off fleas as they feed on flea larvae. Ladybugs can also be helpful and keeping away those tiny pests.  
  10. Food grade Diatomaceous earth is a powder made up of fossilized organisms called diatoms. This powder can break apart flea eggs and dry them out. You can also spread it where your dog frequents. If your dog licks it off, it’s full of minerals that are good for him! 

Consult a veterinarian before administering any medication to your pet.


Meet the New Kitty! Tips for Starting a Multi-Cat Family

I’ve seen it time and time again. You’re at the pet supply store buying some food for your resident cat then you notice that the local animal rescue is having a pet adoption event. In the corner, you spy a tiny kitten. You feel an instant connection with the ball of fluff. There is no stopping it. I mean you already have all those cat supplies at home. What’s one more?

Without giving it another thought, you sign the paperwork and head home elated. However, your beloved house cat greets the newcomer with a less than a hospitable tirade of hisses and growls from your –rather angry – feline.

Never fear! If there is one subject I know after living in a house with six cats, it’s how to handle troublesome cat behavior. Hopefully, the information in this post will settle your cat disputes amicably and keep the fur from flying. Following some simple steps will ensure that your new cat will transition into your family seamlessly.

Tips for a Peaceful Transition into a Multi-Cat Home:

  • Have both cats checked by a vet to make sure there are no underlying problems that could increase aggression.  
  • Give them SPACE! If there is one thing I’ve learned about my kitty companions, it’s that they don’t care to have their personal space violated. Let your two cats have separate rooms away from one another so they can exchange greetings behind closed doors!  
  • Wait 2-3 days and swap spaces. Cats do altogether better if they don’t see each other during the introduction. Getting to know each other through smell first will allow your cat to adjust to the new cat’s presence without the chance of a fight. 
  • Keep things positive! Feed and play with both cats near the entrance of where you’re keeping the new cat isolated. Enlist a friend to make it more fun! 

This process must be gradual and can take several weeks in some situations. If successful the cats will remain peaceful when they greet each other. If your house turns into a war zone immediately following the meet and greet – start the introduction process over again.

Warning Signs to Watch for in a Multi-Cat Home:

  • Aggression: Hissing accompanied with growling, prolonged eye contact, bristled tails, and arched backs.  
  • Urine Marking: It may be how dogs say, “hello”, but it is usually how cats say, “go away, this is mine!” Urinating outside of a litter box often means your cat is stressed.  
  • Resource Guarding: This can lead to bullying and aggression. Cats do not like to share – well – anything, so make sure each cat has a food bowl, water bowl, and resting area. The golden rule for litter boxes is one for each cat – then one extra. 

Change is never easy for anyone but especially cats! Breath deep, have patience. I promise in time, you’ll have a peaceful multi-cat home.