Good Dog: Activities & Sports
Powder, hard pack, drift, blizzard—whatever you call it, snow’s a fact of winter life in many parts of the country. It covers our favorite paths and can turn casual outings into endurance sports. What’s a pup and her person to do when it’s colder than a three-dog night?
Well, as it turns out, plenty. If you can walk, you can snowshoe or cross-country ski, and if you’re even moderately skilled on those skis, you can skijor, too. The best part is, your dog can join you, and she doesn’t have to be a Husky to enjoy the experience. Aerobic, calorie-burning and low-impact, all three activities are pretty simple to learn. Except for skijoring—canine-assisted cross-country skiing—the pace is slow, and dogs are often happy to let you break a trail for them, especially if the snow is fresh and deep.
If you’re just starting, rental equipment is the way to go. That allows you to try a variety of brands and types to find out what suits you best before investing in your own. Your dog’s needs are even simpler: unless she’s a Malamute or another double-coated breed, she’ll need a jacket to keep her warm, and something to protect her feet—booties or a paw wax made for dogs—is a good idea. Skijoring requires a padded belt for you, an x-back harness for the pup and a towline to connect the two of you.
So, how much fun can you have with your dog in the snow? Enough to warm you both up nicely. Watch these action videos for some cool fun.
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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Smart uses for your smart phone
Cell phones that only make and receive calls are so 2008! With a satellite signal and Internet access, today’s smart phones put the world—both yours and your dog’s—in your pocket.
1. Keep track of your pup’s day-to-day doings using the DogiDuty app; iPhone-toting dog walkers or sitters can manually file reports on her intake and output, then email them to you.
2. Pump up your walk. Map, record and share details of your canine-centered excursions at MapMyWalk.com or with your very own Google Earth Tour. As walks get longer, the Sit or Squat app, with its inventory of public bathrooms, comes in handy. Meanwhile, Eukanuba’s Off Leash iPhone app shows you the way to the nearest dog park.
3. Keep them healthy. Sign up for alerts about pet product hazards at HealthyStuff.org and pet food recalls at FoodSafety.gov. And be prepared for the unexpected—take along a Red Cross–trained assistant with the Pet First Aid iPhone app. You can also use your smart phone to store and access your dog’s medical records and keep track of appointments; the Pet Phone app puts that info at your fingertips.
4. Share a night out with your furry friend. With OpenTable.com, find restaurants that celebrate canine companions, then make your reservation.
5. Discover hidden treasures. Now that most of these phones are GPS-enabled, the once arcane (and obsession-forming) hobby of geocaching is within the reach of newbies. Get started at Geocaching.com.
6. Never miss a photo op. Capture the moment, then pep up the snaps with Shake and Bark (add your dog’s voice to her image) or Dog Thoughts (canine-themed captions).
7. Satisfy your curiosity. Use Dog-a-Log or iDogBook to help you figure out the answer to “What kind of dog is that?”
8. Focus on housetraining. Have a new puppy? With iPottyTrain, set alarms to remind you to take the pup out for a break, and log hits (and misses)—all of which keeps this important activity at the forefront of your attention.
9. Entertain yourself. During those quiet moments while waiting for the vet to arrive in the exam room, test your dog knowledge with Dog Trivia or play with the Obama’s Bo via The First Dog (at the time of release, a portion of the download fee was donated to the HSUS).
10. Carry a spare. Admit it—sometimes you go out with your dog but without your clicker. With the Clicker app, this training tool is always at hand (assuming you don’t also forget your iPhone).
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