Phil Lancaster

Author Archives: Phil Lancaster

Are You Walking the Dog or Is the Dog Walking You?

Dog Straining on Leash

It's really one of my pet dislikes, but I see it over and over again. 

Dog owners with absolutely no control over their animal. 

Walking with the leash fully extended (even worse if it's one of those extendable leashes) with the dog almost choking itself to death at the end of it.

Neither the dog nor the owner are getting any enjoyment out of the walk.

The dog is roving at will left and right while other walkers are trying to avoid tripping over the fully extended leash.

Instead of getting the exercise benefit from a nice brisk walk, the owner stops every few seconds while the dog checks out this tree or that lamp post or even this picnic table and then goes through the serious decision of whether or not to pee on it.

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10 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

Medical Fact: Dog Owners are Healthier 

Dog Owners are Healthier

Dog owners have been shown to benefit in many ways from their pet’s presence in a number of different studies done by medical professionals. 

As well as the obvious exercise related ones that come from having a companion that loves walking and running, there are many others that aren't so obvious. These include physical, emotional and mental well-being factors. In no particular order, here are 10 of them. 

1. Fewer Visits to a Health Professional

Doctor Scary

Studies conducted at Cambridge and UCLA have found that owning a pet corresponds to overall improved health and less need for hospital visits.

A Medicare study of its elderly patients also discovered that those who own dogs visit the doctor less than those who don’t have a pet.

If you’re over 65 and own a pet, odds are you seek medical help about 30 percent less often than people who don’t have a pet.

A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology established that animal-owning seniors on Medicare “reported fewer doctor contacts over the 1-year period than respondents who did not own pets.” And while cats, birds, and other animals were helpful, “Owners of dogs, in particular, were insulated from the impact of stressful life events on physician utilization.” (Researcher-speak for "they didn't go the doctor without a good reason.")

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April 23, 2019

About Me

Maggie My Border Collie

Now I have to admit that's not me. 

It's a picture of Maggie, my beautiful Border Collie who passed away some years ago at the age of 14. 

If she were still here, I'd get her to write her own About Me post. She was that smart. 

There's a joke Border Collie owners like to tell: 

There was this guy who went to visit his friend, who had a Border Collie. "Where's the dog, Joe?" he asked, looking around and not seeing him.

"Oh, he's gone to do the shopping," says Joe. "He'll be back in half an hour or so."

"Shopping," says his friend. "What do you mean? How does that work?"

"Well, I put the grocery list and some money in a shopping basket and he takes it round the shops. He knows which ones to go to and they put the stuff in the basket and the change back in the envelope. After he's done the rounds, he brings it all back here. Simple, really."

His friend isn't quite sure if Joe's pulling his leg, so he says nothing.

But sure enough, twenty minutes later, he sees the dog trotting up the pavement with the shopping basket in his mouth. He puts it down, stands up to unlatch the gate, brings the basket up the front path, puts it down again and stands up to ring the doorbell.

"That's incredible. That's gotta be the smartest dog I've ever seen."

"Ah, he's not so smart," says Joe. "That's the second time this week he's forgotten his key."

Now maybe Maggie wasn't quite up to doing the grocery shopping, but she was certainly a delight to train. She could be 100 meters away and if I clicked my tongue she would come racing back to me and sit at my feet with her "Yes, boss, what do you want me to do?" look.

But all dogs can be trained to do this.

You just have to now what you're doing.

Toby My Golden Retriever

I had another dog at the same time as Maggie, but sadly he also has since passed away.

Toby was a Golden Retriever.

The thing about Goldies is that they don't have a mean bone in their body. Always happy, wagging their tails as they walk along for no apparent reason. And their retriever heritage means that co-operation is built into their DNA.

But they are pups until they're 3 or 4 years old. I used to joke that if Toby had half Maggie's brains, he'd be twice as smart!

But that was really unfair. As I said before, all dogs are trainable and Toby was a beautiful, obedient, lovable dog. He and Maggie were great mates. You just had to make sure you had his attention, and there are techniques for doing that.

You might like to check out How to Train Your Dog for more information.