Exercise as Magic
You have heard me say it many times but I will say it again: proper exercise is such an important component to a dog’s (and human’s) health and well-being. Today we are starting a short series that will document real live cases (foster dogs) that we are currently working with and examine how proper exercise can dramatically change a dog both inside and out.
As you probably know, we are committed to help dog rescue organizations in any way that we can. One of the innovative ways that we help is by offering ourselves as ‘exercise companions’ to foster dogs that are placed in homes where the foster owner is unable to adequately exercise the dog. This can be a tremendous help to the foster family for several reasons:
- it frees up some time and lessens the pressure on them to exercise their foster dog.
- it helps overweight foster dogs lose weight and become more fit which can make the dog more easily adoptable.
- it helps ‘over active’ or behaviorally challenged foster dogs calm down which can make the dog more easily adoptable.
- it makes the foster dog feel good which can translate into better behavior which can translate into an easier foster experience for the foster family.
We also will provide a weight management consultation to foster families who are fostering overweight dogs. The truth is, even experienced dog owners are often unsure about how many calories to feed their dog. Leveraging our SlimDoggy app and dog food database, we create a dog profile, much like we offer through our consultation service, that provides the foster family with specific feeding recommendations so that they know exactly how much to feed the dog. We will also provide a SlimDoggy measuring cup, if need be, to ensure compliance. This can also be a tremendous help to the foster family for several reasons:
- it provides the owner with clear direction on feeding quantity so that they do not feel stressed out about fostering a “chubby puppy”.
- it saves money on food costs- supplies tend to last a lot longer when you know how much is too much!
- leaner dogs can be more adoptable than fat ones (I have no scientific evidence here, just anecdotal evidence and first hand experience with all of our fosters).
The Current Lineup
We are currently working with a wonderful foster family, Ken and Carol, that have two foster dogs (from Fetching Companions Rescue) in their charge, Danny, and Angel. In this series, we will be writing about our experiences with Danny and Angel, Danny from the perspective of how we use exercise to influence behavior, and Angel from the perspective of what her feeding profile should look like in order for her to lose about 10 lbs.
Danny is a young lab mix- likely about a year old and full of energy. It is clear that Danny has not had a lot of training– he acts very much like a puppy and is not sure about even the most basic commands. Danny is very lean, if anything he could stand to add a few pounds. But Danny’s lack of exercise and training has made him difficult to handle. He desperately needs a good run!
Here is a picture of Danny after our run today. He is chilling out and very well behaved, unlike he was when I picked him up.
Angel is an older girl, likely between 7-9 years old. She was a “skinny minny”when she was first rescued (weighing less than 50 lbs.) but is now pushing 70 lbs. and in need of weight loss. Due to some arthritis, Angel is not a good candidate to run with so her weight loss will be driven by daily walks and by sticking to her calorie plan.
Here is a picture of Angel. She is a sweet and beautiful girl, Just a little plump.
Tomorrow, we will share our first impressions of Danny and what it was like running with him and how that impacted his behavior after we were done.