Chapter 7: The Right Equipment
To safely implement the techniques on this website, you’ll need certain equipment. I’ll be specific when the time comes, but in general…
How Much Do I Need To Spend On Equipment?
It all depends on the activities you choose to do and how much value you place on quality.
Getting Used To New Equipment
For some of the exercise techniques on this website, your dog will have to be introduced to new equipment. If the dog shows fear of the equipment, the worst thing you can do is mollycoddle your dog. From a human point of view it seems illogical (because we usually want comfort when we’re frightened), but cooing at and patting your dog only does one thing: it makes the problem worse.
This is because verbally and/or physically comforting a scared dog says to the dog: “Good dog, this is the way I want you to act.” So, as hard as it is, you must ignore fearful behaviour and, ideally, divert the dog’s attention in a positive (eg. by doing obedience training using treats).
When you know your dog will be facing experiences that are new and possibly a little scary, it’s best to have a desensitisation plan in place before you start. As we go along I’ll give you ideas on how to do habituate your dog to new equipment and experiences based on these two principles:
Desensitising A Previously Abused Dog
All dogs are different, and patience is needed if desensitisation takes longer than you expected.
This can be especially true if you’ve adopted a previously abused dog. Certain processes might take quite a while depending on the dog and the type of abuse he or she suffered. If your dog really struggles with a particular area, seek help from your behaviourist or trainer.
Special Equipment For Special Needs Dogs
Special needs dogs are as precious as any other dog and deserve the same chances as their ‘whole’ (for want of a better word) counterparts. With your support and the help of some amazing devices, there’s nothing to stop your special needs dog from being active like any other dog.
Use logic, think outside the square, talk to people, do some internet research…whatever it takes to make it happen. Some welfare organisations dedicate themselves to taking care of and rehoming special needs dogs and would be happy to give you advice. Look them up, call them up, and talk to them.
The following are resources for special needs dogs, but don’t ignore this section if you don’t have a special needs dog. When dogs age they become special needs dogs, losing some (or all) of their sight and hearing, and their ability to move easily. So while you might not need this information right now, there’s no harm in knowing it for when you do.
Vision And Hearing Impaired Dogs
Just because a dog can’t see or hear so well (or at all), it doesn’t mean he or she can’t take part in most - or possibly all - of the exercise techniques on this website. Modifications might sometimes be needed, but with common sense and the help of a good trainer, you’ll find a way!
Especially For Hearing Impaired Dogs
The Unleashed™ Technology Wireless Leash Guidance Trainer GT-1 helps you train a hearing impaired dog by using a vibrating collar.
Also, check out:
Especially For Vision Impaired Dogs
Have a look at:
Dogs With Lesser Mobility For Any Reason
The following products can help dogs remain mobile when they are ill, injured, aging, or have less than four legs:
Securing A Walking Dog To The Stroller
During the walking component of an outing, keep your dog safely attached to the stroller’s handlebar using an adjustable lead. Adjustable leads are different to regular leads as they have a handle than can be clipped onto things. Not only that, the handle can be adjusted to be attached to objects of different sizes (more about adjustable leads in Chapter 9: Walkies).
Paw Pad Problems
Dogs with paw pad issues will benefit from wearing booties. Search the Internet for dog booties that are made solely for practical purposes - not booties that are more about being pretty than offering protection. Show your vet the websites with the different booties available and get their recommendation as to what style they predict would be best for your dog.
In summertime, a special needs dog can wear a doggie life jacket to help him or her swim. (More on doggie life jackets in the Chapter 13: Doing The Swim.)
Sexy Seniors: No Outings Is No Solution!
Some people’s ‘fix’ to deal with aging (or illness or special conditions) is to simply not take their dog out at all. But that’s just a crappy ‘solution’: how would you like to be perpetually stuck indoors? You wouldn’t. And neither would your dog.
Your dog might not be as mobile as he or she once was, but that shouldn’t mean an end to the outings. Use the equipment available to help your dog continue to have outdoor adventures. And not just to be wheeled or carried around - keep him or her as active as possible in accordance with the amount of daily exercise that your vet recommends.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.