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Cruisin' Canines

The Essential Guide to Getting Your Dog to Run with You

A dog can be a great exercise partner if you’re a runner. Whether you simply like to get a run in or are training for a marathon, you can always bring your dog along to give your companion a healthy workout at the same time. Here’s a brief guide to help you get started on getting your dog to enjoy a run with you. Don’t Rush into It Keep in mind, if your dog isn’t used to running, it’s important to start slow to avoid injury. Like when us humans start off running, it takes practice and guidance. You can begin with short-distance jogs to get the dog used to running, and work your way up to several miles over time. Make Sure Your Dog is Healthy Before having your dog join you on a run, confirm that it’s okay with your veterinarian, as not all dogs are suited to endurance work or prolonged exercise. Even if your vet confirms your dog is healthy and capable of enjoying a run with you, you should feed the dog no less than an hour prior to running to avoid bloat. Also, check for any cuts or scrapes on your dog’s feet and avoid going for runs on particularly rough terrain. You should also only run with your dog on cooler days to prevent heat exhaustion. Get the Right Gear When running with your dog, you may find that a traditional leash becomes more of an inconvenience than an asset. A handheld leash could easily make you feel off-balance and make it more difficult for your dog to maintain a consistent speed. Instead, consider investing in a waist leash that attaches to your core and can help ease any tension. Your dog should also have the proper gear. While a traditional collar may risk neck injury if a sudden stop is needed, some harnesses can affect a dog’s gait and make running both difficult and unsafe. Find a harness that is comfortable for your dog and which evenly distributes pressure across your dog’s core. If you’re not sure, you can always ask your vet what it best for your dog’s body type. Safety gear is another consideration to keep in mind; make sure you have reflective gear for both you and your dog if you’re running in the evenings, or during darker days. There are also light-up collars or flashing light attachments for collars and leashes that will help your dog stand out. Practice Patience It can take some time for your dog to get used to your running routine, making it important to be patient with him or her. Your dog may tend to stop to sniff around or move in front of you, putting your run to a frequent halt, but over time your dog should get used to running on a regular basis. Work with a trainer to teach your dog useful commands such as “leave it,” “hurry up,” “slow down,” “left,” or “right.” Enjoy a Run with Your Dog Today By taking these steps, you and your dog can experience a pleasant workout on a regular basis. You’ll be able to exercise or train while helping make sure your dog gets his or her exercise at the same time. While your dog may not be able to run with you every time you two go out, you can mix walking and running as equally important ways to ensure your canine pals get the exercise they need every day, encouraging a healthy and happy lifestyle.

November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month

  If you’ve been considering adopting a pet but don’t want to deal with things like house training a puppy, teaching it not to destroy your couch, or keeping up with an 8-week old ball of energy, adopting a senior dog can be a very rewarding thing to do. Adopting an older pet not only takes a dog from a shelter who has likely been there longer than most of the other dogs, but gives them a renewed sense of hope and love, since most of the time, senior dogs end up in shelters when either their owner passes away or their owner decides they can’t emotionally or financially handle the needs of an elderly dog. Choosing to adopt an older pup may have a few “cons,” but it has more than enough “pros” to outweigh them. He’s Already Calmed Down Puppies are cute, but dealing with an 8- to 12-week old dog can not only be exhausting, but overwhelming. Many people, shortly after adopting a brand new puppy, may ask themselves if they knew what they were getting into. Puppies need constant attention—they’re small, they chew on everything, they pee everywhere, and unless you’re ready to take on a nearly 24-hour job of paying attention to the new dog, they can cause a lot of trouble. Older dogs still need attention, but they’ve mellowed out. They probably won’t thrash around your apartment, gnawing at the couch and peeing in every corner like a puppy would—instead, they’ll curl up with you on the sofa for a quiet night in. You Probably Won’t Have to Housetrain Older dogs have mostly already learned that they are not allowed to go to the bathroom inside, which is often the most frustrating part about getting a new pet—cleaning up all the accidents. Older dogs have learned the basics about how to go about their day-to-day lives—this goes back to them having calmed down. They know that they need to go outside to use the bathroom, and they know not to eat things out of the trash—all things that puppies don’t know. If your senior dog has some incontinence issues, you can always hire a dog walker to stop by during the day to alleviate that issue. He Needs Less Attention While puppies need your eyes on them nearly constantly, older dogs are a lot more relaxed. They might still follow you from room to room the way puppies do, but chances are they won’t be bothersome. Instead of making you chase him around the house, trying to get that sock from the laundry basket back, he’ll likely curl up in his bed and take a snooze break. They May Be More Loyal Older dogs that wind up in shelters may have trust issues, particularly if their original owners had them for a long time. They may take a bit of time to warm up to you, their new family, but once they do, they’ll be hooked. Puppies like being around you, but they have other things to do in life, like smell all the freshly fallen leaves during autumn, prance through the snow, and more. Older dogs know that what’s outside will be there when they need it to, and will have no problem at all sticking by your side. Once you’ve gained their trust, they’ll be yours forever. Adopting senior dogs can be very rewarding. Many people who adopt older dogs often joke, “Who rescued who?” when talking about their pups—meaning, they may have rescued the dog, but it was truly the dog who rescued them. If you’ve been considering getting a dog, consider adopting one that’s a bit older—around 6-9 years old, depending on the breed.

November Dog of the Month is

Pilgrim! Well, howdy there! My name is Pilgrim, and I’m a 4-month-old White Shepherd-Husky mix. The nice humans at PAWS called me John Wayne, but after my mom and dad took me home, they began calling me Pilgrim in a silly cowboy voice. I love to run, play and burrow into soft things (including crotches). I love to play with other dogs, but I’m still learning how to hang out with my feline roommates, Pica and Pixel. I also have a friend named Philip, who walks me twice a day and leaves notes for my parents that make them smile.

We’re on Thumbtack Now!

Look for us on Thumbtack now! We’re new to it, so if you’re a Thumbtack user find us! We could use some reviews. 🙂 Check us out here: Cruisin’ Canines. If you don’t know about Thumbtack, it’s a new way to search for services you use regularly, from your dog walker to your house keepers, tree trimmers, or mechanics. You can put out a request for a service, and companies will contact you to send you bids. Seems like a win-win to us. Let us know what you think!

September Dog of the month is

September Dog of the Month

STALEY! Breed: Greyhound Age: Four, in November Where I live: Chicago (former Floridian) Joys in Life: Lincoln Park Farmer’s Market, my squeaky lobster, car rides to the ‘burbs, and laying on the couch watching Netflix with my little kitty sister, and posting photos of my beautiful face on Instagram (my handle is @staleythegreyt , follow me!) Cruisin’ Canines Chicago Dog Walker: Sal!

Unique Ways to Get Your Dog to Exercise More

Dog Exercise Tips from Cruisin’ Canines

If your dog could lose a few of the old L-Bs, it’s time to think about doing more for your pal than taking him on a slightly longer walk a few times a week. If you’re looking for better ideas for getting your dog to run around some more, check out these helpful tips. Go for a Run This seems pretty obvious—because it kind of is—but if you enjoy running (and your dog is not a flat-faced breed), running short distances with your dog can be a great way to burn calories—for both of you. Keep in mind though that if you go for a jog with your dog, it’s not your running time, so if the dog wants or needs to stop, you should let him. Try Out Agility Courses If you have a high-energy dog—or at least one with longer legs than a Dachshund—agility courses can be fun for them. Not only is it great exercise, but it helps your dog develop new skills as well as confidence. Group Exercise or Play Dates If your dog seems bored in your yard, you might think they’d behave the same way at a dog park and write it off as a waste of time. However, some dogs simply need the stimulus of other dogs to get them riled up and ready to play. For that reason, scheduling play dates with other people you know who have dogs, or taking your pet to the local dog park, can be great ways to get your dog to run around a bit more. As an added bonus, this will also help your dog learn socialization skills. Find Stairs How much do you hate the Stairmaster? A lot, probably, thanks to how tough of a workout it can be. The same can be said for your dog—running up and down stairs can be a great workout.  After just a few trips up and down the steps, your dog will be pooped. Note: it may be advisable to check with your vet to see if your dog’s hips are healthy enough for running stairs; dogs with bad hips may not benefit from this exercise. Use a Laser Pointer We’ve all seen them used with cats, but laser pointers can be great for dogs for the same reasons. Point it on the floor, on your dog’s paws, really anywhere except in your dog’s eyes, and watch them chase it around like mad. Schedule in Even More Walks If you don’t already have a dog walking service, you might want to consider adding one to your dog’s schedule. Going on more walks throughout the week is a good way to gently add more exercise into their routine. No matter what your schedule and needs are, you’ll be able to find a walker that can accommodate your situation. Use a Treadmill or Visit Pet-Friendly Stores You can use treats (though it seems counterintuitive, it’s not) to get your dog to walk slow speeds on the treadmill. Never tie or leash your dog to the treadmill, if you do try this method, as it can be dangerous. However, you can hold your dog’s leash to guide him. Use training treats to help your dog learn how to walk on the treadmill, and once he is comfortable, you can very slowly increase the speeds. Getting your dog to exercise more is your responsibility. After all, pudgy pets may be funny and cute looking, but they’re not healthy, and they deserve to live their best lives—and that means one where they don’t have to carry around excess weight.

April Dogs of the Month are…

Rikki and Sophie

dog-siblings Rikki and Sophie! Rikki  Breed: Huskie mix Age: 7ish years Where I live: North Center Joys in Life: barking and talking, snuggling, running, tugging toys, cookies,  my buddy Kraig, sleeping on the furniture Cruisin’ Canines Chicago Dog Walker: Kraig Chicago Dog Walking Buddies: sister Sophie; their best bud is Joey, but they love all their friends Addie, Bell, Rudy, and even tiny Lilli and Peque Sophie Breed: German Shepard Mix Age: 8 or 9 years Where I live: North Center Joys in Life: walks, cookies,  massages from Kraig or anyone,  sleeping Cruisin’ Canines Chicago Dog Walker: also Kraig Chicago Dog Walking Buddies: brother Rikki, and all their doggy friends I asked their walker Kraig for some stories, he writes: We would climb huge snow mounds and Rikki would always be first and immediately bark and howl! And Sophie loves her daily hip massage, she won’t go inside until I do it! Even if her mom is there calling her in. And, Rikki in the window, playing sentry, barking and howling it up every day alerting Sophie that I’m arriving! The neighbors love that one.

Dog-Friendly Parks in Chicago

dog friendly parks in chicago

Source: No matter what time of year it is, you want to make sure your dog is getting adequate exercise, and a dog park can provide the space for just that. Here are some of the most dog-friendly parks in Chicago for walking, running or any exercise you could imagine: Arrigo Park Arrigo Park Neighborhood: Little Italy Address: 801 S. Loomis St. Chicago, IL 60607 When you want to take your dog on a peaceful stroll, Arrigo Park is the place for you. Located near the University of Illinois – Chicago campus, this quaint area is ideal for students and faculty who can take their pooches out for a stroll before, in between or after classes for the day. While this park isn’t the biggest, it gets the job done when your dog needs to take a quick walk. Challenger Playlot Park Challenger Playlot Park Neighborhood: Buena Park Address: 1100 W. Irving Park Rd. Chicago, IL 60613 If your dog loves to be leash-free, Challenger Playlot Dog Park will be a great fit for it. This 4.66-acre park is big enough to roam about, but it also contains a .08-acre dog-friendly area where your dog can socialize and play with other pups. Just remember, though: If your dog is off its leash, you may need to prove you’ve obtained a permit from the city and that your dog is up-to-date on all its vaccinations. Challenger Park also has a doggy water fountain in case your dog ever needs to grab a quick drink. Chase Park Chase Park Neighborhood: Ravenswood Address: 4701 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL 60640 This smaller park is a popular summer location because of its community pools, but that doesn’t mean you and your dog can’t make a stop here when you’re in the Ravenswood area! Chicago dog walkers will love the rubberized track. Chase Park also has community gardens that make for great scenery as you stroll around the trails. Churchill Field Dog Park Churchill Field Dog Park Neighborhood: Bucktown Address: 1825 N Damen Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 This park is also a great place for your pup to make some new doggy friends! With dogs of all breeds congregating around Churchill Field Dog Park, your dog will definitely be able to interact with other animals. The park itself is half gravel and half asphalt, and it has dog bag areas for your convenience, too. This park also features a gated section where owners can take their dogs off their leashes for maximum roamability and mingling. Clandestine Dog Park Clandestine Dog Park Neighborhood: Lincoln Square Address: North Kedzie Avenue & Ainslie St. Chicago, IL 60625 Here’s another off-leash oasis for your dog to enjoy. Clandestine Dog Park is another mellow park where your dog can meet new friends—and you may, too. The park has grown in popularity, so you may be surprised who could become a new puppy playmate. Clarendon Park Community Center Clarendon Park Community Center Neighborhood: Uptown Address: 4501 N. Clarendon Ave. Chicago, IL 60640 Clarendon Park Community Center is an all-inclusive park for both dogs and people. Within this 8-acre park lies a .13 acre stretch of land designated specifically for dogs. Clarendon Park isn’t just a park, though; it’s a gathering spot for the whole community to play sports, attend meetings and more. Once you’ve taken your dog for a walk, you can come back alone to take advantage of the fitness center or any of the many other amenities. Coliseum Park Coliseum Park Neighborhood: Near Southside Address: 1466 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60605 While Coliseum Park may not be the biggest area in the city, this little area can easily suffice for a space to walk around when necessary. The park has a dog run area, which is ideal for a quick stroll or jog. Unfortunately, this run area is also located almost directly underneath the El tracks, so if your dog startles easily, you may want to avoid this area. Overall, though, this off-the-beaten-track park is a great stop if you’re near the Southside and need to get your dog outside for a bit. D’Angelo Dog Park D’Angelo Dog Park Neighborhood: The Loop Address: 438 S. Franklin St. Chicago, IL 60607 D’Angelo Dog Park just opened in 2012, so it’s a little new to the area. Just because it’s new, though, doesn’t make it any less of a great area to hang out with your pup. When you’re in the South Loop and want to give your dog a little room to run about, D’Angelo Dog Park fits the bill. The park also comes with a drinking fountain just in case your dog needs a little refreshment. Douglas Park Douglas Park Neighborhood: Lawndale Address: 1401 S. Sacramento Dr. Chicago, IL 60623 For those living in the Lawndale and Pilsen area, Douglas Park makes for a gorgeous getaway. This park may be spacious (at 218 acres), but it still maintains a sense of serenity with its ponds, running trails and beautiful flowers. When you bring your dog to Douglas Park, you’ll be able to get in a great walking workout, all while enjoying the dazzling view. Eckhart Park Eckhart Park Neighborhood: Noble Square Address: 1330 W. Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60622 When you want to take your pup to a smaller park, Eckhart Park could be a great stop for you two. At 8-acres, this Chicago park has the space dog walkers need for a quick stroll or a longer walk. While the park does not have a designated dog-friendly section, you’ll find that your pooch will thrive in this park. If you have a family, Eckhart Park makes for a great stop, too. You can relax with your dog while they play on the baseball field or the playground. Grant Bark Park Grant Bark Park Neighborhood: South Loop Address: 11th & Columbus St. Chicago, IL 60605 When you’re downtown with your dog and looking for a place to take your dog on a stroll, Grant Bark Park

JANUARY Dog of the Month is

VASH! Breed: Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) Age:  3 years 11 months. Where I live:  Logan Square Joys in Life:  Eating Snow, Playing Fetch, Chasing squirrels, and Chewing on sticks. Cruisin’ Canines Chicago Dog Walker:  Mitch Chicago Dog Walking Buddies: Bear the Old English and Violet the Shep mix are both good friends!    

How to Make Sure Your Dog Gets Enough Exercise in Winter

To accomdate the cold start with short but frequent walks

Photo Credit: Outdoor exercise isn’t the only place that your dog can get some activity in. Play fetch inside—this is especially great if your home or apartment has a long hallway. You can also bring your pooch to a dog-owners meet-up ahere sometimes, an indoor play space is rented out for people to get their dogs to socialize when it is too cold for dog park visits. Alternatively, you can bring your dog to the local pet store where you can browse for the pet supplies you need to buy anyway while getting a little bit of indoor walking in. This might not be the best or most convenient idea, but it helps in a pinch. Indoor Entertainment With the temperatures dropping rapidly and Chicago winter becoming all too real, it’s hard for a lot of dog owners to be able to give their dogs the exercise they need. It gets more difficult to go on long walks when it’s too cold to be outside for more than 10 minutes, and a lot of dogs are also resistant to going outside for longer periods of time. So how can you make sure your dog gets enough exercise in the winter? There are a few ways. Outdoor Excursions Your dog will still need to go outside, of course. The best way to accommodate for winter weather is to take them on more walks with short distances rather than just a few longer walks each day. Unfortunately, not a lot of people’s schedules can accommodate for mid-day walks, so dogs are often relegated to two or three walks per day out of necessity. One way around that is by bringing your dog to a doggie daycare center or, even easier and more convenient, hiring a dog walker. Dog walkers can bring your dog out for a short walk during your workday, so that not only does your dog get a little bit of extra exercise, but when you come home they won’t be as jumpy—they’ll have had the opportunity to burn off a bit of energy, thanks to the dog walk. Dress Your Dogs If you want your dog to better acclimate to the ever-lower temperatures, it’s important to dress them. While some dog owners scoff at this idea, the truth is some breeds have shorter coats that do not keep the animals as warm, and even 5-minute walks outside can make the dog extremely, dangerously cold. This is especially true with smaller breeds. Coats and sweaters are popular, and it’s also important to protect a dog’s paws. Not all dogs are receptive to wearing boots (funny as they may look!), so it’s up to owners to wash off their dog’s paws when coming back inside, as the salt can be harmful to their paw pads.

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