What My Dog Has Taught Me About The Trails

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What My Dog Has Taught Me About The Trails

September 05, 2018

By: Maree Edwards

What My Dog Has Taught Me About The Trails

Enter here for the inaugural Eukanuba™ Tails & Trails event in Auckland https://www.tailsntrails.co.nz/enter/  

 

Over the last year running has changed for me markedly. It used to be a largely solitary affair, due to being a shift worker and having a busy family life, I would hit the trails at odd hours or in the weekdays. However nowadays when I run, it is rarely by myself- as more often than not I have Rigby, our two year old Australian Working Kelpie, with me.

By Matt Rayment

Over the last year running has changed for me markedly. It used to be a largely solitary affair, due to being a shift worker and having a busy family life, I would hit the trails at odd hours or in the weekdays.  However nowadays when I run, it is rarely by myself- as more often than not I have Rigby, our two year old Australian Working Kelpie, with me.

The nature of the human/dog relationship has been studied and examined for as long as humankind has had these beings as companions, which google tells me is about 14000 years. Usually, when we reflect on this relationship we focus on what we teach the dog, however in the last while I have reflected on just what Rigby has taught me, and more specifically, what he has taught me about running - which is something that hitherto I thought I knew a lot about.

I’d like to share those thoughts with you, as having Rigby by my side has taught me a lot about the essence of running on trails...

Running is about hanging with the pack

The second he gets out of the car at the trailhead, Rigby is overjoyed to see whoever is coming along. He leaps about saying hi, and his enthusiasm for getting together with fellow runners is infectious. This sociability is something that I have taken on board to seek out opportunities to run with others, and this has been useful for me in terms of connection and engagement with my fellow human beings.  Out on the trail, it's a bad idea to try talking to Rigby, though, as many of my companions have learnt. He'll stop dead in his tracks to look up and engage in conversation, utilising a braking capacity that is frankly remarkable.

Running is about finding wonder in the small things

We can't always get out to exciting places to run. Even being fortunate enough to live next to a huge forest, The vast majority of my running is loops of familiar trail or gravel. This is largely due to time constraints as these days running fits in around my life, not the other way round. As nice as the trails are, there are only so many variations you can run and I'd hate to think how many kilometres I've clocked up pounding the same routes. Yes, it can be a drudge, and ennui can set in. Not for old mate, though.  Rigby, every time he runs, he finds something new - a new smell, a new pinecone, a new place to, er, relieve himself. He looks for the differences, not the similarities, so that every time he runs, be it somewhere new or somewhere familiar, he focuses on something new to wonder at. For me, reflecting on my surroundings, or the feel of a trail, the smells and colours, has a calming effect, it keeps me grounded in the moment, and noticing what is around me and taking enjoyment from this has increased my sense of well-being and gratitude at being fortunate enough to be able to run in such a wonderful place and to have the company of Rigby, a being who universally reflects positivity and enjoyment.

Set the dial to “Heck Yeah”

All the best running happens outside. And sometimes I can be swayed by the conditions: I was going to go for a run, but it was raining? Or it was too cold? Or too hot? I forget, but it likely limited my chances of getting out there.  Not Rigby. Any conditions, any season, are perfect for a run. Having to adapt to a Kelpie, who is relentlessly up for it be it rain, hail, or shine has for sure limited any sneaky “It’s raining” rest days. Sure, I get a bit cold and wet sometimes, but now I just get out there and run. And every time I do, I have a better time than if I just stayed home. Every time I do I quickly forget about the weather and enjoy my time with Rigby strengthening our bond and getting fit.

Running is supposed to be fun, its playtime.

For me, this was the big shift. I may be mediocre in my ability to run, but I’m serious in my training. My mediocrity is heartfelt. This has, in the past, stripped the enjoyment out of the act itself. I took pleasure in the process of training, but the act of running itself quickly became a chore. This is especially evident when I’m aiming for an event, and using a training schedule, as I so often do. I easily become a slave to running. Spending even 2 minutes with Rigby reminds me that running is supposed to be fun. It’s a process that we are superbly adapted to do, and like children, who we see incorporating running in their play, For Rigby, being out in the forest, running along the trail is playtime. He always has a total blast.  And it should be the same for us. Focusing on the play aspect of running, be it tackling an obstacle, or finding a route that you’ve not taken before, or just belting along a trail because it feels good,  not because it is part of a marathon split, is inherently refreshing and intensely good for your physical and mental wellbeing.

I love my dog, and I love running with him. I would heartily recommend hitting the trails with a four legged friend, their tails will be wagging, and I bet yours will too.

 

Do you want to get out and about like Matt and Rigby? Join them and treat your best friend to tail-to-trail fun and adventure. Enter here for the inaugural Eukanuba™ Tails & Trails event in Auckland https://www.tailsntrails.co.nz/enter/  

 

Image via Photos4Sale

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Why should I feed my dog Premium Performance?

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Why should I feed my dog Premium Performance?

January 24, 2018

By: Maree Edwards

Working dog

As most farmers know, a good working dog is worth their weight in gold. Whether they are driving sheep or herding cattle, they are hardworking athletes who keep a farm going. It’s not uncommon for them to travel 100km of hill country in a day. To keep these dogs in optimal condition it’s important they are provided with an appropriate diet.

As most farmers know, a good working dog is worth their weight in gold. Whether they are driving sheep or herding cattle, they are hardworking athletes who keep a farm going. It’s not uncommon for them to travel 100km of hill country in a day. To keep these dogs in optimal condition it’s important they are provided with an appropriate diet.

To keep up with the sometimes extreme weather conditions and steep terrain of NZ, ideally they need a high energy but low volume diet. Feeding high volume meals has been shown to be a risk factor for GDV (a twisted stomach). The risk can be lowered by feeding smaller volumes of a higher energy diet.

Traditionally farm dogs have lived on a diet of home-kill meat and bones, with perhaps a few biscuits thrown into the mix. Unfortunately for some, this high bone diet has led to an expensive vet visit which isn’t ideal for the dog, farmer or the vet (who gets the often messy job of sorting it out). Dogs in work need high levels of easily digestible animal protein for strong, healthy, lean muscles and tissue repair. It can be taxing jumping fences and covering all of those miles on the farm! By feeding a good source of high quality protein to maintain muscle mass, injury rates are likely to be lower, ensuring your working dog enjoys an active lifestyle for as long as possible.

Eukanuba™ Premium Performance offers everything a working dog needs for both short bursts of energy, as well as those times where sustained energy is needed throughout the day so they can keep on working. It also helps to maintain strong and healthy teeth.

Certain fibres have been shown to help improve stool quality and promote nutrient adsorption, so working dogs can get the most out of their food. Smaller firmer stools make for a much easier clean up as well. Eukanuba™ Premium Performance utilises beet pulp for this.

With all the hard work of farm life,joints of highly active dogs can experience some wear and tear. By including natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, Eukanuba™ Premium Performance offers those well used joints the support they need for intense work days.

By feeding these invaluable workers a premium diet like Eukanuba™ Premium Performance, you can rest assured that your canine team are getting everything they need in their food, in order to be the best they can be out on the farm.

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Performing a puppy health check at home

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Performing a puppy health check at home

December 01, 2017

By: Maree Edwards

Routinely performing a health check on your puppy is a great way to get them used to being handled. This will prove to be invaluable for trips to the vet and groomer.

Routinely performing a health check on your puppy is a great way to get them used to being handled. This will prove to be invaluable for trips to the vet and groomer.

Always start slowly when performing a health check on your puppy. It helps if you initially try this when they are well exercised and tired, therefore less fidgety when you begin. Like all things puppy, little and often is the key. Reward your puppy with treats as you go to ensure it’s a positive experience for your pup.

Start by stroking your puppy all over from the nose right down to their tail, including down each leg. Make it a positive experience, a puppy massage! Include a belly rub while checking for any redness or marks on their skin. It’s important to feel between your puppy’s toes. Getting your puppy used to this will make nail clipping an easier experience for both you and your puppy. Ensure you check there are no grass seeds or debris caught between your puppy’s toes and no broken nails that could cause discomfort. It’s also important to check if your puppy has dew claws. These may need extra clipping as they won’t wear down on their own. Some breeders remove dew claws, so don’t be alarmed if your puppy doesn’t have them. Although most puppies have them only on their front legs, some pups are born with rear dew claws as well so it pays to check all legs.

Observe your puppy’s face. Is everything symmetrical? Check your puppy’s eyes to make sure they are bright and clear. Look for any irregular discharge or redness. If you see something that doesn’t seem right, contact your veterinarian for advice. Check that your puppy’s nose is moist. Lift your puppy’s lip up and check their gums. It’s important to know what your puppy’s gums usually look like so if you note any changes you can seek advice immediately. While checking gums, have a look at their teeth. Does everything look as it should? What does your pups tongue look like? Getting your puppy used to having their mouth looked at will make it much easier when it comes time for a vet check as well.

Check each ear. Look into your pup’s ear and check for any redness or smell. A strong smell can be an indication of an infection. By regularly playing and checking your puppy’s ears it will be easier to gauge their reaction when something is wrong or when they are sore.

Make a note or take a photo of any changes you find on your puppy’s physical condition so you can communicate these to your vet. If there is anything that concerns you, ring your vet clinic for advice.

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Me and My Dog

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Me and My Dog

May 01, 2017

By: Maree Edwards

If you love your dog and you love to kayak or canoe, you might want to try bringing your dog out in the boat with you. Before you do, though, you should take precautions to ensure your dog doesn’t get injured or become uncomfortable.

If you love your dog and you love to kayak or canoe, you might want to try bringing your dog out in the boat with you. Before you do, though, you should take precautions to ensure your dog doesn’t get injured or become uncomfortable.

Before I began bringing my Beagle mix, Katie, out with me, I did a lot of research to make sure I was doing it safely. These are the things I found to be most important to keep your dog safe while canoeing.

Help Your Dog Adjust to the Canoe or Kayak

First consider your dog’s temperament and personality. Not every dog likes the water, and some dogs are afraid of it. I’d definitely start by taking your dog to a lake or river just to test the waters, so to speak, and see if he’s interested in it.

Then get your dog used to your boat. Canoes and kayaks make a lot of noise, so you just want your dog to get used to the different sounds yours makes and the motion of the paddle. It’s a good idea to do a slow introduction.

Also consider your dog’s size in relation to the boat. Canoes are wider and have some space to move around, but kayak cockpits are smaller and just designed for one.

I live in a condo, so I store my boat behind the couch. Before we went out on the water, I’d take my kayak out and stick it in the middle of the room, just as a way to get Katie accustomed to it. I would sit in the cockpit and invite her in, but I wasn’t going to force her. Soon, she was sitting in my lap in the kayak’s cockpit. Eventually, I gently pushed her out of my lap in the boat, and she would just sit in front of me.

Beyond the Canoe and Kayak: Your Dog’s Equipment Checklist

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