Let me introduce myself. My name is Rumor, I am a nearly 2 year old Black Lab. I was named for the Greek Goddess of the same name. She was a swift-footed goddess who delivered messages…not always truthfully. In other words she was rather capricious and spirited. Yes, that’s a good name for a female Lab!
Like most pups, I love running around, love being with my people and most of all, I love food. If left up to me, I’d most likely eat all day. That’s where you come in. You need to make sure I don’t get too much food. And the food I do get should be healthy, just like for you humans. Since my breed has a tendency to get pudgy, my mom and dad feed me weight control food. I have my own treats and don’t get much in the way of human food. Makes sense ‘cause I’m not human!
We dogs need exercise and lots of it. I take my mom on running/playing outings twice a day, regardless of the weather. We’ve seen many a sunrise together so she can fit it in before she leaves for work. Then, as soon as she gets home, we go out again. I have her trained, but believe me, it was not an easy thing to accomplish. It helps to have fields across the street from the house, but you can get a good workout right in your own backyard. And during the day, my dad takes me for a long walk through our neighborhood. So you can see, my humans are quite trained. Anyone can train their human like I did but it does take perseverance. Here’s what you do:
Step 1. Look cute. We do that naturally. We’re dogs.
Step 2. Sit by the door, looking longingly at it. Nudge your leash if it conveniently hanging on the knob. If not, try to get a hold of it and carry it to the door. Humans love when we do things they think are smart.
Step 3. Whimper softly, looking back into those human eyes. Humans tend to melt pretty easily.
Repeat those steps. Often. Constantly. Until they get the message.
If steps 1 through 3 did not work, some dogs think it’s time to bring in the big guns. I have some friends who have resorted to desperate measures to get this point across – I don’t recommend this. Things like chewing up shoes, scratching destructively at the door, tearing up the yard, incessant barking – all destructive ways to relay the need for exercise – are ways of relieving pent-up energy but generally speaking, those kinds of tactics don’t lead to the desired result.
This is why I’m here – to let people know that we pooches struggle with our weight too but unlike humans, we cannot fight it on our own. When they adopted us, they adopted the responsibility to love us and care for us. So they have to make sure we get the exercise we need. Obesity in dogs is not good. According to Petplace.com, between 25% and 40% of dogs are overweight. When we’re overweight, it gets to be tough on our hearts and of course, on our joints. Many of us are prone to hip problems and carrying around extra weight can really cause us problems.
And remember we’re all different. I’m a Lab. I need to run. A lot. And I’m working hard to train my mom while I’m at it. She’s doing pretty well, I must say. But other breeds have different needs. I hope you will take the time to get to know us as individuals.
So you can see, it’s important that we pups get our exercise. You don’t need to take us to large fields to get exercise. We can play in our own backyards, or even inside the house if need be. Frisbee, tennis balls & sticks are all great for a good game of fetch. We are not picky. A walk around the neighborhood or a cross country run – we just love being outside and spending time with you. One other thing. Remind your mom and dad to take a plastic bag along on the trip. I don’t like to leave ‘evidence’ behind.
Oh, and not that I’m a fan, particularly, but don’t forget that cats can get overweight too. So make sure to play with your feline friends, don’t overfeed them and keep them fit and trim.
After all, a healthy pet is a happy pet.