Get Active: Get a Dog

Meet Roxie, our adorable and loving Golden Lab.
She has been with us 9 wonderful years.
My first journey into weight loss wouldn't have happened without my two incredible dogs by my side.  Every morning at 5 am I would walk the dogs before slogging off to work.  Once I got home, it was back outside for a game of fetch or another walk.  The secret to a good game of fetch is find a dog who doesn't want to be a willing participant.  Unfortunately for me, my lab is a fetching phenom. Scientific studies show that getting a pet, especially of the K-9 variety, is proven to improve the physical wellness and fitness of it's owners.  A dog is not for everyone, and finding a good dog can prove to be challenging.  Once you find that right companion though, there's no telling you where they may take you.

Having a pet significantly increased my step total. I went from 7-8,000 steps per day to well over 20,000.  This didn't happen until we got our second dog, Roxie the Golden Lab.  Most of that walking was spent trying to tire the dogs out so they'd stop fighting.  Lesson learned though, the walking worked miracles not only for myself, but also for them.  They ended up becoming best friends until our oldest pups very last day.  If you want to find a furry companion, here are some tips to make the process easier and to make sure you have a life long friend.

Hit the Shelter

I struggled with this one at first when we were looking for our first dog.  Growing up I had a pure-bread Cocker Spaniel from a highly qualified breeder.  My soon to be wife wasn't having it though and wanted to go the shelter route.  Having rescued two dogs now, I realize a few things; one, you can find a pure bread dog at your local shelter and two, you can find a lot of puppies at the shelter.

You want to make sure you find the right rescue shelter for you.  Our first go round we went to the ASPCA.  Most ASPCA shelters are highly reputable and we did all the homework we could to ensure we had a healthy, well mannered pup that was up on all his vaccines.  Our second go round, we new we wanted a Golden Retriever or Labrador.  Luckily we found an incredible Golden Retriever rescue in Nashville and low and behold we ended up with a rescued Golden Lab puppy! Both dogs have been phenomenal despite their differences.  A good shelter will allow for a trial period over the course of several weeks.  Enough time for the dog and you to adjust.  A reputable shelter will also check in on you periodically and see if you need anything.

This is Kujo, our first pup as a couple. We rescued him in 
South Carolina.  He was an amazing spaniel mix. He passed 
away unexpectedly two years ago.

Match the Dog to You

Matching a dog to your personality is probably one of the most important things you can do.  That's why it is great if you can find a rescue that gives you a warming up period before you make a decision.  You want to find a dog who's temperament, energy level, and personality are in sync with your own.  If you are a relatively low energy person who is relatively inactive, you don't want to go getting yourself an energetic, highly athletic dog such as a Lab or German Sheppard.  Even if you want to be more active with the dog, you still want to find one with a similar activity and energy level to you.  Trust me, even low activity dogs will be more active than us and get our rear ends off the couch.  Dogs feed and thrive off energy and if you don't get it matched just right, you may find yourself regretting your decision later on down the road.

Find a Trainer

This is especially important if you are a first time dog owner.  I cannot tell you how valuable a good dog trainer can be.  We didn't do dog training with our first pup and relied solely on reading books from the Dog Whisperer.  A highly educated dog trainer is going to help you not only with training your dog, but also help you be able to read your pup like a book and work on any mental and physical blocks you may have going on in your life.

Dog's don't communicate verbally and one of the first lessons you will learn from a good trainer is how to communicate with your pup.  This training is also highly recommended to help you communicate with your significant other.  You learn a lot about your own non-verbal cues which can send your dog off a cliff if you don't catch it before it becomes a problem.

Relax and Have Fun

Having a dog shouldn't be stressful.  Once you have found the dog that is a perfect match for you, have fun and most importantly relax.  The great thing about a dog is they don't care if you are having a good day, bad day, are rich or poor, want to talk or not. They are always there for you and will never leave your side.  Go for walks, play in the back yard, snuggle with them on the couch, and most importantly, return the love they give to you.  If you do it right, a dog will teach you to live in the moment which is the greatest gift they can give you.

I've been incredibly luck to have three very wonderful dogs in my life.  My dog growing up was often the ear that was always listening. You never know when you might need them, but you will need them.

Do you have a dog? If so, what kind? What are your favorite activities together? Drop a comment and subscribe via the button right below the title banner.  As always, thanks for reading!

Comments

  1. Roxy can fetch anything, balls, toys, shoes, stuffies. ANYTHING! Great dog.

    ReplyDelete

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