Whiskers University Helps Dogs Beat the Winter Blues

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-  Humans are not the only ones who fight the winter blues, according to Kristie Swan, Head Trainer and Manager of Whiskers University in Grand Rapids. Swan said she receives a lot of calls about animals behaving differently, sometimes acting out, during the winter months.

“We don’t realize when we gear back our own physical activity, how all of that affects our dog.” Sure, owners might still take their dogs out for a walk around the block, but during the other months it might be for a run through the woods or a day out in the park, Swan said. The lack of sunlight can affect dogs the same way that it does humans, she added, putting them in a funk. Many times animals will start sleeping longer, get a little mopy and even a little testy, like a child who can’t go out for recess.

Whiskers University, located at 2855 29th Street, SE Grand Rapids, offers classes ranging from Pilates for dogs, Zen doggy workshops to agility courses. Even before classes start, dogs and their owners must even do stretches. Swan said that Pilates is a great way for dogs to ease some of the pressure on their joints and muscles that are prone to strains. A couple of dogs demonstrated by actually using an exercise ball.

“Jack definitely seems to enjoy it and it is an active situation so it gets us up and stirring about.” owner of 2 year-old yellow lab Mike Novak said.

Classes lengths, times and prices vary, according to Swan.

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