Take a Trip to Carbon Canyon Park in Brea with Your Dog

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Carbon Canyon Park is located off of Carbon Canyon Rd right past Valencia Avenue in Brea.  Spanning 124-acres, the park is a good mix of recreation and wilderness.  The park has something for everyone, from Orange County’s only Redwood grove, to a 4-acre lake to go fishing, to tennis, baseball, and volleyball courts. A trip to Carbon Canyon Park is a great way to spend a day getting out into the sunshine with your 2 and 4-legged friends.

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Surfing Dogs? Yes Please! – September 25th-27th

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What are you and your dog doing this weekend?  Sitting at home trying to stay out of the heat? Why not head to the beach for the nice weather and to watch the 7th annual dog surfing competition, taking place at the Huntington Dog Beach?  Unleashed is hosting Surf City Surf Dog this Friday-Sunday with the main surfing event taking place Sunday Morning.  If you haven’t witnessed one of these events before, this is the weekend to do it.  The weather will be nice and there will be plenty of dogs and humans at the beach to socialize with while you watch the dogs surf.  For the schedule of events CLICK HERE, for general information check out http://surfcitysurfdog.com

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Construction Begins on a New Anaheim Hills Dog Park Next Month

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A new dog park is slated to open in Olive Hills Park in Anaheim Hills next summer, construction begins next month.  Check out this OC Register article for more details:

Construction contracts awarded for parks

The city’s second dog park is scheduled to open in Anaheim Hills by next summer, boasting an open space for canines to run and mingle.

Construction is expected to begin next month on the dog park at Olive Hills Park, featuring water stations, trees, a walking trail and separate play areas for large and small dogs. Earlier this month, the City Council awarded a $1.13 million contract to Horizons Construction Co. of Orange to complete the work.

“I do think it really is good for socializing the dogs and having the dogs’ owners go out and actually get to meet other people,” said Councilwoman Lucille Kring, who added that she has asked for dog parks to be built in Anaheim since 1999.

Kring also suggested a dog park be built at Maxwell or Twila Reid parks in west Anaheim as a way to deter homeless people from gathering – some residents living near Twila Reid Park has raised concerns at the council meeting. City officials said homeless people have largely stopped gathering at La Palma Park after Anaheim’s first dog park opened there in March.

The dog park at Olive Hills, just off East Nohl Ranch Road, was originally scheduled to open this year, but city officials said the site required additional review before construction could begin.

Separately, a new gazebo, benches, tables and play equipment will be built at a new pocket park in the 900 block of Circle Park, just north of Ball Road and Gilbert High School in west Anaheim. The City Council awarded a $383,465 contract to Micon Construction Inc. of Placentia to build the park by February.

Contact the writer: 714-704-3769 or amarroquin@ocregister.com

As the Weather Starts to Cool Down, Why Not Take Your Dog With You on Your Next Run?

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I’m not a big runner myself(unless you consider the elliptical machine), but if you enjoy getting outdoors for some fresh air and exercise, check out this article from competitor.com on how to get your dog involved, so both of you can get in a good workout and stay healthy…

Four-Legged Fun: A Guide to Running With Your Dog

I’m Thinking of Biking with my Dog, So Now What? – Bonus / Gear Sale!

Because the last few posts have been on the topic of Bikejoring, I just wanted to post this Alpine Outfitter Sale that I just received an e-mail for today.  They have some good deals on all types of Bikejoring related products, but it ends on Friday, so check it out soon!

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I’m Thinking of Biking with my Dog, So Now What? – Part 3 / Teaching Commands

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Now that we’ve covered some of the equipment you’ll need to get started, time to get on the bike and go! Not quite.  Before you hop on the bike with your dog, you will want to master some basic commands.  This way, when you are riding full speed and need your dog to avoid an obstacle, i.e. a pedestrian, you will have some confidence knowing you have verbal control over your dog.

In my experience, there are 4 basic commands you’ll want to teach your dog before you get going: Left, Right Stop, Go.  You don’t need to use these exact words as the commands, but pick something that works for you and stick with it.  I personally use Left, Right, Stop, and OK.  I have also incorporated “slow” and “leave it” which helps me have even more control over her when we need to slow down or when she sees a squirrel.  If you are really serious about bikjoring or mushing in the future, and were thinking about doing it competitively, you might want use the traditional commands that most mushers have used for 100’s of years.

The most common commands for a dog team are:
•  Hike!: Get moving (“Mush” and “All Right” are sometimes also used).
•  Kissing sound: Speed up, faster.
•  Gee!: Turn to the right.
•  Haw!: Turn to the left.
•  Easy!: Slow down.
•  Whoa: Stop.
•  On By!: Pass another team or other distraction.

Like I said above, the words that you’re using don’t matter much, as long as they’re consistent and they don’t get confused with words that you use on a daily basis, which might confuse them and make the training process take longer.

I am by no means a professional trainer, so take my advice for what it is, a novice Bikejorer that self trained his dog.  If you’re thinking of doing this professionally, I recommend getting the book below. It will go into more details than you probably care to know about the sport, and how to train your dog professionally.

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So, with that said, here’s how I trained my dog to ride on a bike either pulling or side-by-side.

  1. Start by using the commands on your daily walks with your dog.  Every time you turn a corner, use the corresponding “left” or “right” command.  After doing this for about 2 weeks consistently, Sierra, my Husky, was able to start anticipating which way to go before we turned.  When she did, I gave her a treat.  After another week or two she was consistently turning on command. During that same period, every time we approached a driveway or intersection, I would tell her to “stop” and when we crossed I would say “ok”.  These commands took about the same amount of time for her to learn.  Within a month of doing this on walks, she had the commands down, no treats needed, which gave me the confidence to start on the bike.  If you want to accelerate the process, you can do multiple quick walks a few times a day to speed up the learning process.
  2. Once you have the commands down while walking with your dog, the next step is to start getting her used to the harness and bike.  If your dog hasn’t worn a harness before, I suggest incorporating the harness into her normal walks so she is learning the commands with the harness on.  This way, when you get on the bike for the first time, she is comfortable with the harness and commands, it will make the first couple rides a lot smoother.  To get your dog used to the harness, like everything with a dog, I recommend starting slow.  It’s much easier to take a few days working your dog up to liking the harness, than to have to undo the fear they might have after forcing it on and hoping for the best. To start, first show your dog the harness, let him sniff it, and give him a treat after he does.  After a few rounds of this, make your dog put his head through the harness in order to reach the treat you are holding on the other side.  This way, your dog will be comfortable with the harness going over their head, because they now have a positive association with it.  Once your dog is comfortable with the harness over their head, gently clip the harness and let your dog wear it for a few minutes, and then take it off, and give a treat.  Gradually repeat this over the next few days and keep it on longer and longer each time.  Once they’re all good with that, you can start using it on your walks.
  3. Time to get on the bike! Just like when you were learning to drive a car for the first time, I recommend finding a very low traffic area that has places to practice your turns, stoping, and starting.  I also recommend making sure it has very low pedestrian traffic.  You don’t want to start off your first bike ride with an injured, law suit happy, bystander.  If you plan on letting your dog pull you, start by giving her the “go” command and try to match her pace as she starts.  You will really want to take your time and watch her closely.  Some dogs might just see a giant two wheel monster chasing them when they look back, so they try to run faster, and unlike chasing the elusive magic dragon, the bike will catch her if she decides to stop in a panic.  Make sure you regulate the speed the first couple outings to avoid this situation.  Even if your dog is pulling like crazy, make sure you are riding the brakes so you’re traveling at a safe speed. As you both get more comfortable with each other and the commands, you can slowly go faster and faster until you get so close to light speed that only the physics of the universe will be able to slow you down.

Tips – (learn from my mistakes)

  • Every time you get close to a pole, tree, pedestrian, or some other unmovable object which could possibly get in-between you and your dog, SLOW DOWN and pull your dog close to you.  The two times I flipped over my handle bars were both from Sierra going on one side of a tree/pole and myself going on the other.  Not a fun experience for anyone involved.  For more details on this, see my previous posts on biking.
  • Use your bike bell/horn every time you get close to a pedestrian.  Even if the person is out of the way, they can always decide to step right in front of you if they don’t hear you coming.  It also prevents them from jumping in shock when they first see your dog in their peripheral vision.
  • Take it easy the first few times you go out.  Your dog will be working a lot harder than you, make sure you always remember this.  They will need breaks and especially water much more frequently than you.
  • If it’s warm out, skip the bike.  If you wouldn’t want to put a jacket on an run a few miles in the current weather, wait until the evening when it cools down to take her out.  Especially in the middle of summer, it can often be too hot to safely bike your dog.  I never go out if it’s over 75 degrees with my Husky.
  • Look out for small critters running around the area.  Depending on your dog’s prey drive, a rabbit or squirrel running out in front of your dog could lead to something akin to Mr. Toads Wild Ride.

I’m Thinking of Biking with my Dog, So Now What? – Part 2 / Gear

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Now that we’ve covered some of the basis of biking with your dog, let’s look at what equipment you will need to keep both you and your dog safe.  Before you begin, please make sure your dog is in good physical shape. They will be running for a prolonged period of time, so any small health issues can become bigger issues very quickly.  If you’re at all unsure if your dog can handle the stress, please check with your vet before you start biking with your dog.  Also, if your dog is under the age of 1, you really don’t want to put a lot of pressure on your dog’s muscular and skeletal system, as it’s still developing.  You can start teaching them to be comfortable next to a bike, and start teaching commands, but try and avoid having them run until they are over a year old.

OK, so now you’re ready to start, you’ll need to make sure you have the right equipment to keep both of your safe. So let’s dig in to the basics.

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