Tag Archives: dog exercise

Exercising your dog may soon be illegal in Baltimore.

Does your dog use a backpack to burn extra energy on a walk? How about use a treadmill or weight pull equipment for sport or conditioning? These items may soon make you a target in Baltimore. Not only that, but with new laws already in place that have recently removed judicial review from animal matter hearings, if you’re targeted, there’s very little you can to about it, too. (Read more about that, here.)

According to CBS Baltimore, City Council is trying to make these items, and others, such as break sticks- commonly used to break up dog fights, considered “dog fighting paraphernalia,” and posession of them a crime, punishable by $1,000, and up to 90 days in prison. (For the record, some of our local shelters use break sticks to safely break up dog fights as needed, without injury.)

Why is this a problem? As someone that addresses 100% behavior modification training these days, adequate exercise is often a challenge for owners of working breeds, terriers, and others. I recommend dog treadmills, and weight pull training and equipment to clients on a weekly basis, or more often! Read “Weight Pull Saved my Dog-Life” by Kristina Vakharia, a friend, client, and city resident, to learn the benefits of such training. Additionally, there are legitimate competitive sports that utilize this equipment, such as APA weight pull, among others, which have competitions locally.

As with many other things, making these things illegal for outlaws (who, by definition, aren’t going to care about the laws, anyway) really only effects the responsible owners out there. For those of us who choose to have high maintenance dogs, maintaining their needs may get that much harder! Start writing City Council now. Be sure they’re aware that this equipment is NOT just for dog fighting, and that you’re not interested in seeing this law come into effect.

Office of the City Council President, 100 N. Holliday Street, Suite 400, Baltimore, MD 21202

Coucil President: Bernard Young, CouncilPresident@baltimorecity.gov

District 1: James Kraft, James.Kraft@baltimorecity.gov

District 2: Brandon Scott, Brandon.Scott@baltimorecity.gov

District 3: Robert Curran, Robert.Curran@baltimorecity.gov

District 4: Bill Henry, Bill.Henry@baltimorecity.gov

District 5: Rochelle Spector, Rochelle.Spector@baltimorecity.gov

District 6: Sharon Middleton, Sharon.Middleton@baltimorecity.gov

District 7: Nick Mosby, Nick.Mosby@baltimorecity.gov

District 8: Helen Holton, Helen.Holton@baltimorecity.gov

District 9: William Welch, William.Welch@baltimorecity.gov

District 10: Edward Reisinger, Edward.Reisinger@baltimorecity.gov

District 11: Eric Costello, Eric.Costello@baltimorecity.gov

District 12: Carl Stokes, Carl.Stokes@baltimorecity.gov

District 13: Warren Branch, Warren.Branch@baltimorecity.gov

District 14: Mary Pat Clarke, MaryPat.Clarke@baltimorecity.gov

Appropriately Exercising Your Dog in the Heat

Heat can be very dangerous to our pets. Last month, I repeated an essay by Dawn Rexroad on the “Hidden Dangers of Summer,” which included information on parasites that are common, as well as how to recognize and, more importantly, prevent, heat stroke. This month, let’s address how to safely exercise your dog so that he doesn’t go stir crazy during the summer months we should all enjoy!

Especially during these months, when I ask clients the question I always ask “How much exercise does your dog get?” The answer is often “Plenty, her tongue is hanging on the ground by the time we’re done!” While panting can be a sign that the dog is winded, it can also be a sign that the dog is hot, or even stressed. Panting alone cannot be an indicator of adequate exercise. However, if you notice a fat, swollen tongue, that is probably a sign that you need to make an effort to cool your dog down.

So, how do we safely ensure that the dogs get the amount of exercise that they need? I don’t recall a summer where we’ve had this many days over 100 degrees in a row, but it’s time to start getting creative! Personally, I’ve been making an effort to go to bed early and wake up to walk dogs at a safe time. I learned that even 8am is too late to walk the dogs the distance they need to go for proper exercise. So, we’ve been getting up and walking at 7am. Late night walks are an option for those that are night owls, as well. Swimming can be a GREAT way to exercise dogs and keep them cool, if your dog is inclined to like the water. Fortunately, swimming is also an activity that we can join them in, staying cool ourselves! Last, indoor activities can suffice in some cases. For some dogs that I normally walk in the afternoon, I’ll give them a quick potty break, and then give them a run on a treadmill (if one is available and when the dog has been introduced to it properly).

While there is no substitute for proper exercise, other activities such as teaching new commands using target training (watch: teaching touch), playing hide and seek, and having interactive toys and puzzles for your dog to play with are good ideas. These will all burn some mental energy, which can help keep them entertained during the day when it’s not safe to play outside.

Be creative; exercise and train safely. Enjoy your summer!

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