Some of the great benefits of owning a dog are:
- Reduction of stress
- They make you exercise
- They provide unconditional love
- And on top of this, they boost self esteem (even after a bad day at work, they love you!)
- When life is hard, they teach you the value of play
- Because they love you, they provide safety & security
- They provide a sense of belonging – you’re packmates!
- On top of everything, the act of petting a dog is proven to lower blood pressure and heart rate
Enjoy your weekend. Have you hugged your dog today?
Here’s an example of democracy in action in the city of Nelson on the South Island of New Zealand.
The Council consulted on revisions to its dog bylaws and dog owners responded about the unnecessary restrictions.
On 3 May, the Council announced “Nelson City Council has responded to submissions on its Dog Control Policy and Bylaw Review by developing a new proposal based on feedback from submitters.”
Deputy Mayor Ali Boswijk said, “Ultimately, the dog bylaw we are proposing will take a default position where dogs can be off-leash everywhere, except areas which are identified as prohibited or on-lead.”
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing and perhaps we should have spent more time talking with the wider community before we drafted the original Statement of Proposal. This is a good learning for us and something we will take on board in future.”
The new summary of Council’s preferred direction for the Dog Control Policy and Bylaw:
- Dogs to be prohibited from the part of Marsden Valley Reserve to the east of the Barnicoat Walkway
- Retain Girlies Hole and Black Hole as swimming holes for dogs during summer (December to March) and allow dogs in all holes during the remainder of the year
- Add Sand Island to the list of dog prohibited areas
- Dogs to be prohibited from the Maitai Cricket Ground during the cricket season but they can exercise there from April to September.
- The shared pathways (Railway Reserve and Atawhai Shared Pathway) will become off-leash areas
- The Maitai Walkway to remain an off-leash area for dogs
- Seventeen neighbourhood reserves will remain on-lead areas for dogs as requested by submitters
- The Good Dog Owner Policy will be amended with input from the Dog Owner’s Group and other interested parties.
In addition, Council is looking at establishing a dedicated dog park at Saxton Field where dogs can exercise off-lead.
Well done to the Nelson City Council for recognising that its constituents wanted something else for dogs and their owners and well done to all who submitted on the dog control bylaw.
If you don’t participate in your local community to represent your interests and the interests of dog owners in general, be prepared for restrictions that will inhibit your ability to socialise your dog and enjoy their company in public places.
Perhaps a lesson for dog owners elsewhere in NZ and overseas?
Sometimes people forget that small dogs have different needs for their care and exercise than larger breed dogs. Here’s some tips on how to keep your small breed dog happy and active.
Walking is ‘tops’ on my list for exercise for all dogs. There are added health benefits for the dog owner, too. I recommend twice per day walks. You need to be careful about the length of walk for small dogs because they may not be able to go as far as you can.
I’m a big supporter for hydrotherapy for dogs, particularly as they age or have rehabilitation needs. But, swimming is excellent general exercise for your small breed dog. Check out hydrotherapy facilities in your area for information on ‘casual’ swims (therapist supervision not required). In Christchurch, we have an excellent facility for this: Dog Swim Spa.
- Ball games – playing fetch
Small dogs can get quite a bit of exercise in by playing with toys and their owners. This is great inside exercise during the winter months – provided you have a long hallway or room for your dog to play in.
If your house has stairs or you can take your dog to work with you, using the stairs can be excellent exercise for your small breed dog. Some breeds, such as dachshunds, should not be encouraged to do lots of stair climbing because their long spine makes them vulnerable to stress and strain injuries including slipped discs. Be mindful of just how much effort a small dog may need to climb a stair designed for full-grown humans. Aging dogs with arthritis should avoid stair climbing as a major source of exercise – there are better options as described above.
I just had to share this poster which I purchased from SPARC (Sport and Recreation. It sums up one of the great benefits of dog ownership: more exercise.
It has been said “If your dog is overweight than you are not getting enough exercise.” Dogs need daily exercise and, in my case, I walk with Daisy twice per day. Walking is excellent weight-bearing exercise, which helps keep bones strong which is a particular concern of many women as they age and are at risk of osteoporosis.
Get out there with your dog today and enjoy some quality time and exercise too!
It’s that time of year again, when we start reflecting on all the food we’ve indulged in over the holidays and thinking about how we need to burn off some calories.
Well, I’ve just come across this article about the health benefits for children when the family owns a dog. Researchers have found that children from families who own a dog are more active, a possible solution to fighting childhood obesity…
Man’s best friend keeps children on the move.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand