Second Chance: Exercise For Happy Pet Home

Animals, just like people, are at our best when our minds and bodies are kept active. At Second Chance Humane Society, the shelter staff does a lot to keep us engaged, happy, healthy, and, well-behaved (and are thus adopted more quickly).  Sounds like a lot of work?  It’s not. Even for busy people there are many opportunities throughout the day, as outlined below, to integrate enrichment into your pet’s lives.

Elmo

Elmo

Let’s begin with one of my favorite daily activities – eating.  When feeding time comes around, using puzzles and games can be stimulating and fun. Food toys such as Kongs, the Buster Cube, Tricky Treat Ball, the Tug-a-Jug, and TreatStik are great for adding extra concentration and physical activity.

Playing games around meal time can also be a fun challenge. You can have a pet hunt for meals by hiding kibble piles around the house. When your pet is at home for a long day away from its people, chew toys and food dispensing challenge toys work great to relieve anxiety and boredom – as well as prevent gnawing on furniture, shoes, etc.  Nylabones, hard rubber toys, and natural bone marrows, etc. for dogs; for a curious kitten like me, string,  feathers, and wadded up pieces of aluminum foil provide hours of entertainment.

My most favorite daily activity involves games and exercise. Having areas in the home where it is safe and acceptable to run and jump and climb is important for young cats – and as your cat ages, it is good to encourage them to continue to exercise, so find a game your cat enjoys. Taking your dog out for rigorous exercise – walking to Frisbee to bike-joring – is an especially important way to keep them happy. Exercise it also a great way to bond and eliminate unwanted behavior.

Tricks and behavior training are excellent means of exercising a pet’s mind, focusing our mental energy and making us generally more pleasant to be around. For example, I have been working on doing somersaults and salsa dancing on command and find the challenge stimulating. Other training techniques can be integrated into daily routines for developing self control. One example is teaching your pet to sit before eating or going out the front door.

My name is Sugar. I am only 12 weeks young and was found with my brother after we lost our mother. I am sweet, funny, outgoing and ready to exercise my right for a good forever home. I can also teach you some salsa moves and bring great lightness to your life.

Sugar

Sugar

My friend Elmo is an 18- month-young Dachshund whose initial shyness quickly evaporates when outside playing with other dogs, even cats. So exercise is also a great “ice-breaker” for pet-to-pet and/or pet- to- people introductions.

Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff & Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org

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