Celebrating sports with pets

Why not celebrate your favourite sport together with pets! Just keep in mind a couple of tips and tricks for special sporting events, then football, hurling, and even rugby can be enjoyable for both pets and their owners.

Sports have a way of taking over their fans lives during big games. Houses are decorated for private celebrations and matches become a party amongst circles of friends. But all this celebration can be stressful for our pets. What should you keep in mind to ensure that everyone enjoys the game? Animals have keen senses and are very sensitive. Dogs, cats, rodents, birds and other pets notice when we are excited or happy, but we also have to look out for their nerves during these eventful parties. Dogs will often celebrate a goal together with their two-legged friends when they see how excited they are. Many dogs love being in a small group of sports fans, especially when there’s a delicious treat in it for them, as long as the group isn’t too big. A public viewing event in the city centre or a loud, cramped pub is no place for a dog. The noise and crowd quickly becomes too much and too stressful for our loyal friends.

No red card for Rover!

The whole world is caught up in sports fever once the weather gets nice, and even dogs aren’t immune to this virus. Admittedly, our four-legged friends love ball sports all year round – they are practically born for hunting this round object. But now that the days are longer and brighter it’s even more fun to set up a match in the garden or park together with your dog. With a couple of tips and tricks, the whole team will have plenty of fun and your dog can become a keen striker or goalie.

First of all, there are many different types of balls. They can be made of rubber or soft plush, for water games or classic balls for the park. It is important to choose a ball large enough that your dog can’t swallow it. Give regular tennis balls a miss too, as these wear down your four-legged friend’s teeth and are very harmful.  A doggie tennis ball from your Maxi Zoo store is a much better alternative. Whether a ball with a thrower (a plastic arm used to catapult balls long distances to get your dog running) or simply a hard rubber toy that bounces around on the grass, the type of ball is completely up to you and your dog’s likings. Some dogs also love rubber balls on a rope, which are great for throwing and fetching. You could also try the newest craze in dog sports – ball herding (Treibball), where dogs learn to move large balls such as gymnastic balls.

So that you don’t need the intervention of a referee to show your dog the red card, it is important to set a few ground rules. Rover has to give back the ball voluntarily at any time. You can start by offering him a swap – he gets his favourite treat and you get the ball, which you can then throw again straight away. This makes giving it up routine and your dog will learn that he gets that ball back if he gives it to you temporarily. Make sure that your pet doesn’t suddenly become totally fixated on the ball and loses interest in everything else. You can avoid this by varying the game from the classic fetch – you could try hiding the ball in the garden and getting your dog to search for it, or getting them to sit and rolling the ball across the ground, only letting them run after it once you’ve given your OK. You can also practice a few obedience exercises thought play so that fair ball exchanges and passes between dog and human become second nature!

Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.