Keep your dog entertained this winter

February 24, 2010 10:04:27 AM PST
Think about how bored you get in the winter, when it's dreary and you can't go outside. Think again about your dog who's also cooped up in the house all winter long. A bored dog is not just unhappy; he can get into trouble, according to the Topline German Shepherd Dog Club of Chicago. So club members have come up with some games to keep your dog entertained during the winter months.

Topline will be demonstrating these games and tricks at the 2010 International Cluster of Dog Shows on Saturday and Sunday at McCormick Place. Other entertainment events in this year's dog show include Earth Dog, which displays how small terriers and dachshunds were once bred as hunting dogs to track game above and below ground; Dancing With Your Dog where dogs dance with their handlers using music and movements to showcase teamwork, artistry, costuming, athleticism and style in interpreting the theme of the music; as well as "Meet the Breeds," which is an opportunity for guests to meet the AKC's (American Kennel Club) "new kids on the block" that include up and coming breeds such as the Boykin Spaniel, Bluetick Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, and the Pyrenean Shepherd. Admission for children 12 and under is free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Even if you don't make it to the dog show, you can play these games with your dog at home:

FETCH: Playing fetch with a ball or a toy is a great indoor activity. If you have stairs, one of the best ways to exercise your dog is to stand at the top & toss the ball down the stairs. Your dog runs to the bottom of the stairs, fetches the ball & runs back up the stairs to give it to you. This is an indoor activity that will tire out even the healthiest of dogs. Games of fetch with a stuffed toy are ideal for most sitting rooms.

HIDE & SEEK: Dogs love this. You leave the dog in one room while you hide in another then call the dog when you're well hidden. Some dogs can be fooled for quite a while and get plenty of exercise racing round hunting for you. It's a bit noisy but great fun.

TUG OF WAR: Tug of war is a great indoor activity because you can play tug games just about anywhere in the house because it does not require a lot of space. Playing tug games with your dog can be a quite rewarding experience. It is mentally and physically stimulating for your dog, and pretty good exercise for you, too. Have fun and be safe! Choose a dog toy that is designed for tugging. The best tug toys are durable & flexible such as a sturdy dog toy, rope, or jute typically made out of rubber or a fibrous material with a comfortable handle that keeps your hand away from the dog's mouth.

Before you begin playing tug of war with your dog, you should teach a release command, like drop it. This will help you stop the game if necessary. It is okay to let your dog win; this builds their confidence and rewards them. However, if the dog misbehaves or begins playing too rough, you should be the one who ends up with the toy.

BOW/CURTSY: This is a great stretching exercise for dogs. Put your dog in a stand/stay while standing in front of the dog with reward (food treat) in hand. Move both hands in towards dogs front paws (above paws) while saying "bow". As dog extends head down for treat in a bow position, reward with a treat.

CRAWL: Teaching your dog to crawl will also develop his balance and abdominal muscles. Put your dog in down/stay. Hold a treat in right hand with left hand on dog's withers (farther back on large dogs). Move hand with treat up and down (short movements) while saying crawl. As dog moves forward, hold him/her down with hand on back. Move treat hand away from dog so dog has to follow to get treat. Reward initially after any movement and then require longer distances. If dog has trouble crawling, this can be done under some-one's legs or under a solid chair or low table.

BEG: Teaching your dog to beg will develop his balance and abdominal muscles. Have your dog sit, facing you. Hold his favorite treat just above his head and tell him, "Say please." Your dog will probably lift his front feet off the ground to reach the treat. As soon as the feet are lifted, even a little bit, give him the treat

2010 INTERNATIONAL CLUSTER OF DOG SHOWS
8 am to 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday
McCormick Place Lakeside Center
2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
773-237-5100
www.ikcdogshow.com

THE BICHONS ARE BACK AND THE ROTTWEILERS RETURN FOR THE 2010 INTERNATIONAL CLUSTER OF DOG SHOWS

The International Kennel Club of Chicago will host the 2010 International Cluster of Dog Shows this weekend at McCormick Place in Chicago. The show draws top dogs from across the United States and Canada to compete for prizes and the coveted title of "Best in Show." One of the largest all-breed benched dog shows in the country, the International Cluster of Dog Shows attracts over 60,000 visitors to observe more than 10,000 purebred dogs from 161 breeds demonstrate their skills in a variety of competitions.

Judged competitions include conformation, agility and obedience; the Best in Show Amateur-Owner-Handler Competition; Junior Dog Judging, offered exclusively at International Cluster of Dog Shows for children ages 9 ? 19; and the Puppy Spectacular, which features the finest puppies aged 6 months to 12 months competing for "Best Puppy In Show." Again this year, a "Chicago-style" no-benches format is to be used allowing guests to meet and greet with dogs and their handlers.

New demonstrations at this year's show include Earth Dog, which dramatically displays how small terriers and dachshunds were once bred as hunting dogs to track game above and below ground, as well as Dancing With Your Dog where dogs dance with their handlers using music and movements to showcase teamwork, artistry, costuming, athleticism and style in interpreting the theme of the music. Additionally this year patrons are encouraged to "Meet the Breeds" as in the AKC's (American Kennel Club) "new kids on the block." These include up and coming breeds such as the Boykin Spaniel, Bluetick Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, and the Pyrenean Shepherd .

"The Kennel Club shows are a great family activity. Not only are you able to watch the competitions, but it's a great opportunity to learn about various purebred dogs, meet excellent breeders, and possibly find a great breed for your own family," said Louis Auslander, President of the International Kennel Club of Chicago, Inc. "This year we're especially excited to offer free admission to children under 12, hopefully allowing even more families to experience all that we have to show."

The International Cluster of Dog Shows also presents an array of dog-related retail and non-profit booths featuring artwork, novelty dog wear, organic pet food, and everything in between; educational seminars on topics ranging from pet care to breed selection; performance events including the Purina® Pro Plan® Canine Performance Team; dog-themed entertainment; representatives from non-profit rescue organizations featuring adoptable pets looking for a home; and the opportunity to get an expert-led tour of the dog show, offering a primer on everything that goes on both behind-the-scenes and as part of the judging program. Tours depart from the Purina® Pro Plan® booth. In addition, show visitors will have the opportunity to win a year's supply of Purina® Pro Plan® brand pet food by stopping by the Pro Plan® booth.

The 2010 International Cluster of Dog Shows will be held from 8am to 5 pm at McCormick Place Lakeside Center, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Saturday and Sunday February 27 and 28. Tickets are $17 for adults; children 12 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Tickets will be sold at the door. For $2 off coupon, schedules, and more information visit www.ikcdogshow.com or call 773-237-5100.

About the Competition At the International Cluster of Dog Shows dogs are judged in a tiered format ? first by Class (with six categories per breed), followed by a Winners Class competition, consisting of winners from the Class judging. Next is a Best of Breed competition with the two remaining dogs from the Winners competition (one male and one female dog). The dogs chosen from this competition (one dog per breed) are then called to compete in one of seven groups (Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding) and the seven group winners then meet in the final competition where one is ultimately chosen "Best in Show." Judges review physical structure, condition, coat, gait, and temperament when reviewing a dog and aim to find the perfect dog of a particular breed. There will be approximately 65 judges from across the country, Europe & Canada at the International Cluster of Dog Shows.

Established in 1900, the International Kennel Club of Chicago hosts two benched AKC Dog Shows per year, supports the work being done by the AKC Canine Health Foundation and offers AKC Canine Good Citizen tests.


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