Collier and Lee Counties Edition

Four-Legged Fun and Exercise

Moses (left) and Elijah waiting patiently to go on their nightly power walk

Moses (left) and Elijah waiting patiently to go on their nightly power walk

JC and Linda Nall, co-owners of Naples Dog Center & Salon, have a passion for keeping dogs (and cats) naturally happy and healthy. They are with their dogs, Elijah and Moses, virtually 24/7 and love telling personal stories about fun experiences shared with their pets.

Naples Dog Center & Salon provides healthy choices in nutrition, as well as working with clients on an individual pet’s behavioral issues. “Exercise is one of the primary ways to eliminate behavioral problems,” advises Linda, who explains fun ways guardians can increase bonding time with their pets and squeeze a little more exercise time into their daily schedules.

Treadmills are fun for dogs because they help to drain excess energy and balance a dog’s psyche. The trot is a dog’s natural gait, so start them at a walking pace. Let them see us use the treadmill, which will familiarize them with its function, and then slowly increase the speed to a nice, even trot. It is never a good idea to leave a dog unattended or tie them to the treadmill. In many cases, with regular sessions, the dog will voluntarily get on the equipment and enjoy a nice trot.

Dog dancing takes communication and coordination between owner and dog. While the owner doesn’t necessarily get a lot of intense physical exercise, the bond and connection between handler and dog is beautiful to behold. Get great dance ideas by watching the amazing routines from the FCI Dog Dance World Championship, held within the framework of the annual World Dog Show. Many are posted on YouTube.com.

Hula Hoops are back and good for loosening the lower back, toning the midsection and giving our companion a fun circus routine. After we finish with the Hula Hoop, hold it vertically on the ground and coax the dog to walk through it. Gradually, after they get comfortable walking through, lift it higher and use a “Jump!” command. There is a YouTube video on this, too.

Dogs love playing “volley balloon” with their owners. Lob a balloon over to the dog; it may take a time or two for them to lob it back versus pounce on it, but most pups love the game and it can be done inside the house with no damage to furnishings and decorations.  Be sure to pop a balloon or two away from the dog’s face so they are aware of the potential noise should one pop when they hit it.

“Our very favorite times with our dogs are walking in the woods on paths or power line roads. Train your dog to come on call, so they can be unleashed for freedom runs and explorations.” It’s like a vacation in a nutshell,” says JC.

Linda goes for nightly one-to-three-mile power walks with her dogs using a hands-free leash. “The command I use is, ‘Let’s go!’, which signals to them that it’s my walk and not their free time. They get a bathroom break at the beginning of our walk, midway and at the end. This teaches them they can’t pull over to sniff something or go relieve themselves anywhere and anytime they want. These lovely walks keep our Old English sheepdog and standard poodle at a comfortable trot, which is a dog’s favorite gait.  I highly recommend the app Map My Walk which will show your path, how many calories burned, your speed and mileage.”

Naples Dog Center & Salon is located at 630 Tamiami Tr. N., in Naples. For more information, call 239-530-3647 or visit NaplesDogCenter.com.

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