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How to “Talk Dog”- Learn to Communicate with your Dog

shutterstock_107501672-smMany people know that for companion dogs to understand what we want from them, it is important to communicate differently than we do with one another. Our language, using many words together in full sentences, is not clear or discernible to dogs. We can help dogs learn certain words or commands by making those words meaningful, but simply talking to dogs and expecting them to understand is asking way too much of them. So, how do we learn to “talk dog“ to our best buddies so we can better communicate our needs? To be honest, it’s not that difficult.

Body Language, Facial Expressions and Tone

The old saying, “it’s not what you say, but how you say it” is a really good thing to keep in mind when attempting to communicate with your dog. Dogs are not complex thinkers and simply see the world in terms of “what’s good” and “what’s bad”. A high voice is good, so when the dog does something you like, tell them “great job” in a high pitched, happy sounding voice with a smile on your face.

shutterstock_105853361_smConversely, when the dog does something naughty like counter surfing, or jumping up on you or someone else, simply say “OFF” in a very deep voice with a grimace on your face to communicate clearly that he or she has behaved badly. It is important to note here that the dog’s attention span is very short and can work to your advantage. So, if the unwanted “jump” can be followed quickly with a “sit” command, you may replace the wrong behavior with the right one. To seal the deal, reinforce the correct behavior by popping a treat in the dog’s mouth and change your tone to a happy and high pitched one. Dogs also respond best when we are dramatic, so it is extremely important to pull out the stops and be very expressive about your “likes and dislikes” with respect to their behavior.

By rewarding or reinforcing the right behavior at the right time using the proper tone, body language and facial expressions, you and your dog will start to learn the same language and you will be amazed by the transitions the dog can make once you no longer have a failure to communicate.

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.
 

5 Ways to Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with your Dog

valentine corgi webAt Best Bully Sticks, we believe every day should be treated like Valentine’s Day!

After all, Fido deserves love, affection, good exercise, chews, and toys to keep him happy year round.

But if you truly want to celebrate, here are 5 ways to make this Valentine’s Day extra special for you and your canine friend:

 

1. Make some delicious treats in the kitchen. If you enjoy playing in the kitchen, show your dog some love by whipping up treats that he’ll go nuts for!

For some sweet decadence: Valentine’s Day Carob Dipped Dog Biscuits

For a cheesy, easy, gourmet snack: Chock Full of Cheese Cookies

If you don’t have the time to make drool-worthy dog treats for Valentine’s Day, you can show your canine best friend(s) some love in other ways.shutterstock_237411067_web

2. Get some exercise — it will benefit both of you! Take him for a longer than usual walk. Does Fido like to fetch? Get out that squeeze toy, ball, or Frisbee and wear him out — fit, healthy dogs make happy dogs!

3. Give him a new toy. Keeping your dog entertained is vital for his health and happiness.
Best Bully Sticks’ selection of chew, rope, plush, and ball toys

4. Buy some of his favorite dog chews or treats or maybe one he hasn’t had yet. Browse our large supply of bully sticks, chews and treats, and dog bones.

shutterstock_129944051 web

 

5. And last but not least, cuddle! What better way to spend quality time together than a neck or belly scratch, a massage, or relaxing on the couch together?

 

From Best Bully Sticks, wishing you and your pooch lots of love this Valentine’s Day!

 

For tips on how to make more appetizing dog treats, see our Weekly Drool Recipe collection here on our Healthy Dog Blog or Follow our Drool Dog Recipes board on Pinterest.

Choosing a Dog Trainer for your Fur-baby

dalmatian puppyMany of you were lucky enough to bring home a new puppy for the holidays. Now your days are filled with the joy of puppy love along with the chore of trying to do what’s best for your new addition.

If you’re a savvy new puppy owner, you’ll go straight to the best trainers in your area and enroll in a reputable puppy kindergarten class. Getting started with training and socializing early will help you mold your puppy into the adult dog that will become a fully integrated family pet —one that can go everywhere with you and receives compliments about his or her behavior.

How do you Choose a Trainer?

Most folks know enough these days to read reviews and ask for referrals from friends with dogs. Go a step further and interview trainers to feel safe that you’ll be receiving the best training with the most current methodology. So many trainers out there are still utilizing old school, aversive training techniques. There is no reason in the world to employ techniques like “yank and pull” using choke or pinch collars. These methods went out long ago and have been replaced with better tools, like front clip harnesses or the head halti. I prefer the harness because dogs often dislike the material around their noses.

Deb Rosen training GR

Many of the aversive trainers complain about having to give puppies treats and try to convince new puppy owners that they do not want their dog’s performing only when there is a treat involved. In this case, know that treats are only required in the beginning, while the puppy is learning. It’s important to reinforce the behaviors you like and most puppies will understand what is expected if a treat is delivered quickly. Once the behaviors that you feel are important are learned, the treats are “faded out” and the puppy learns to perform without them.

While you are doing your research, look at trainer’s websites, and be sure they talk about the science of canine behavior and the use of reward-based and positive methods. Training puppies using anything other than kindness will only create fear and fear may inspire aggression.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more puppy obedience how-to’s and dog training basics!

 

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.
 

Pet Obesity: What’s considered Obese for your Pet?

dog on scale cropAs we head into the New Year, many Americans are thinking about what they would like to do differently. These New Year resolutions extend to our pets as well. What, and how much we are feeding, our pets, has a significant impact on their waistline and overall health.

Guest contributor Jordan Walker of Coops And Cages offers insight on the obesity epidemic in pets and what we can do about it!

When it comes to pets, chubbiness can be pretty darn cute. Chubby pets are so fluffy and irresistible, owners and others can’t help but cuddle them! Plump pets may seem excusable and taken to mean a pet is well-loved, cared for, and oozing with cuteness. However, humans have been warned about obesity and the adverse health risks associated with it. Is this also true for pets?

The “Fat Pet Gap”
The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) says that millions of pets in America are too heavy for their own good. 53% of dogs and 57% of cats, a combined total of 179 million pets, are currently overweight or obese. However, many pet parents don’t even realize that their pets are tipping the scales. Pet owners surveyed said their pets were normal weight when they were in fact overweight or obese. APOP founder, Dr. Ernie Ward, refers to this lack of awareness as the “fat pet gap,” where pet parents have normalized pet obesity. This means fat pets have become the new norm. This should not be taken lightly!

What is obesity?
Like in humans, obesity in pets is defined as having excess body fat. If a pet is obese, not only does it weigh more, but it has more fat in its body than considered healthy. Weight is some indicator of obesity. In dogs and cats, being overweight means weighing 10 to 15 percent above the ideal weight. Obesity, on the other hand, is weighing 15 percent or higher than the ideal weight. 10 to 20% over the ideal weight may not mean much on the scale. For example, if a pet’s ideal weight is 20 pounds, it will only need to put on 4 pounds to be considered obese.

shutterstock_113408662Could your pet be obese?
Most pet owners would be hard put to determine whether their bundle of fur is obese. The onset of obesity can be barely noticeable – at least to some – and when it is, the pet may have already grown extra fluffy. Determining the ideal weight for pets and weighing them regularly will help in keeping healthy pets in healthy form.

Experts have also developed a way of determining a pet’s body condition by visual and hand inspection. In order for a pet owner to tell whether their pet is in the ideal range of health, they should feel for their pet’s ribs. In normal dogs and cats, the ribs should easily be felt, but not sharp against the skin. For both animals, when looking from the side, a waist should be defined, and the belly not sag. 

What (or who) causes pets to grow out?
Quite simply, obesity usually results when pets are overfed and under-exercised, have conditions like hyperthyroidism or Cushing Disease, or are neutered/castrated. Overfeeding is the main cause of pet obesity, and pet owners are largely to blame. After all, it is the humans who do the feeding. Free feeding, where food is freely available in the bowl, is one main cause. Pets who are allowed to eat as much as they want, whenever they want, are more likely to become obese. 

Another reason is a lack of exercise. The simple rule of “calories in, calories out” with humans also applies to pets. If pets get more food than exercise, they are more likely to plump up. Treating excessively is yet another contributing factor. Treats should be given in moderation and not replace a dog’s regular meal. Best Bully Sticks natural, single-ingredient dog treats are low in calories and high in protein for a dog chew owners can feel good about.

Check back with us next week as we continue on the topic of Pet Obesity and measures you can take to prevent obesity and undo the extra pounds!

Jordan Walker

 

Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages and other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter.

 

Halloween Night and your Dog: Tips to Keep Fido Calm this Holiday

Halloween and Dogs – not the best combination!

While Halloween is something that many families look forward to and enjoy, this is a holiday fraught with potential problems for dogs.
   “What costumes to wear?”
   “Who will take the children around the neighborhood?”
   “What candy should we get this year?”
For most families, these are the usual questions posed around this fun holiday. Another question is “What the heck is going to happen to the poor dog?”

shutterstock_153544523Halloween Hell

Just think about it. On a good day, most dogs are “set off” by an occasional doorbell ringing, someone coming to the door, or a person randomly walking past the house. On a bad day, a postal carrier or UPS delivery person will come to the door and the family dog intercepts this “intruder” with hackles up, incessant barking and possibly some lunging when the door opens.

On Halloween, we have kids of all ages and sizes arriving in scary costumes and masks, carrying strange objects to hold candy, and screaming “Trick or Treat” in a cacophony of sounds enough to make any average dog a little crazy! To a more reactive or young dog, this may feel like an onslaught and trigger underlying reactions you have never seen before or prefer never to see again.

On top of everything I just described, the whole purpose of the holiday, for those appearing at the door, is to receive food. It may be before the dinner hour or after, but most dogs are hungry all the time and believe me on this one, can smell the goodies through the wrappers. That said, the appearance of so much food may also trigger some “resource guarding” behaviors. Wrapped together, like a beautiful piece of candy, this is a set-up for the dog and one that might put an otherwise well-behaved dog into a world of trouble.

cinnamon eating bully stickSet for Success

If you feel the dog can handle the activity, in advance of Halloween, take out some masks and start your desensitizing process. Start by ringing the doorbell, and if the dog barks, discourage her with an “uh, uh, quiet” said in a deep, firm voice. Ring again, and, the second after the ring, be ready with a treat. Deliver the treat and a praise like “Good Job” said in a very happy voice. Have everyone walk around the house for a while with his or her masks on. Do this every few hours every day before the holiday.

On the day of the holiday, make sure the dog gets a great deal of exercise. In fact, if you take the dog to daycare, make an appointment for Halloween and leave the dog most of the day so when he returns he is thoroughly exhausted! A tired dog is a less reactive one.

If you have a very reactive dog, it’s best to put her in another room, with music or a TV on with something to do. Give the dog a marrow bone or a bully stick to chew on. It’s best for someone to stay with the dog, but at the very least, check on her often and make sure she is not freaking out.

Keep Halloween a happy holiday for everyone, including your best furry friends!

 

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.

Dogs and Kids: What you Need to Know

This week we have the pleasure of introducing a guest blogger:

Deborah Rosen, Founder and Owner of Good CitiZEN Dog Training!

 

dog kid Just like in the movies.

 
Like Travis and Old Yeller, Timmy and Lassie, Rusty and Rin Tin Tin, dogs and kids have been put together for as long as we can remember. Because of how this is portrayed in the media, we often jump to making assumptions that kids and dogs are made for each other like apple pie and ice cream. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

When you see disclaimers in pet classifieds saying a particular dog is not “kid friendly” you will know these dogs were either not well socialized as puppies or became fearful of children for a variety of reasons. Certainly, these are dogs to stay away from as you look for a new furry family member. What you may not realize is that many rescues come without historical information. It is for this reason that I advocate for adopting either a well documented socialized older dog or a puppy to incorporate into a family with younger children. There are many puppies available through rescue organizations as well.
read more…

Happy National Dog Day!

national doggy dayNational Dog Day is a time to celebrate and honor our four-legged best friends even more than we already do! For their unconditional love and devotion, for selflessly saving lives, for keeping us safe, and for bringing comfort to the sick, the blind, and the needy, we come together and encourage (loving) dog ownership all over the world. We spread awareness of how all dog breeds, mixed and pure, have helped us every single day, and we embrace this opportunity to give our own dogs a loving, happy, and safe life!

To keep your dog extra happy and healthy on this 10th annual National Dog Day, Best Bully Sicks offers a large selection of treats and chews perfect for your pooch!
read more…

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Emergencies do happen. Making it to the vet can be difficult, especially in the middle of the night. That is why being familiar with Basic First Aid procedures for pets is a great way to minimize harm and prevent emergency situations.

First and foremeost: Advanced veterinary first aid should only be administered by certified individuals or a veterinarian. Even if you’re certified to administer first aid on people, don’t try to play veterinarian! The American Red Cross is a great resource for education on the subject and even offers courses in Pet First Aid. Here are some basic steps you can take to ensure that both you and your pet prepared for anything.

First Aid Supplies

Keep a list of phone numbers on hand including your veterinarian’s number, and others like the Animal Poison Control Center: 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435) and a local emergency veterinary clinic. In the event something happens to you, keep a friend’s number handy who is capable of caring for your pet in your absence. It’s also a good idea to maintain your pet’s medication and vaccination history for reference. The American Veterinary Medical Association has compiled a comprehensive list of pet first aid supplies that should be in your emergency kit.

Basic Procedures and Treatments

As important as these supplies are, proper knowledge of their use is crucial. BestBullySticks encourages all pet owners to become familiar with basic pet first aid. To get you started, we’ve put together a brief guide below outlining some common pet-related emergencies and treatments.

Choking

One of the most common emergencies, symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing and an excessive pawing of the mouth. First, look into your pet’s mouth to see if any foreign objects are present. If there is something blocking their airway, use tweezers or a pair of pliers to gently remove the object. However, be careful not to push the object further down the throat or spend too much time trying to remove it; you might be better off seeking immediate medical attention.

Animal First Aid AwarenessFractures

Limping or an outright inability to use a limb is usually an owners first sign of fractures or breaks. Pets should be immediately muzzled and checked for any bleeding. Carrying your pet can cause further damage and they should be placed on a stretcher for transportation. Never try to set a break or fracture yourself. Done improperly, this may cause irreparable damage.

Seizures

Do not attempt to restrain your pet during a seizure. Doing so may injure you and your pet. Move any heavy objects your pet could bump into such as furniture and be sure to time the seizure (usually 2-3 minutes). After your pet has come back around, contact your veterinarian.

Bleeding (External)

After muzzling your pet, identify the injured area. Using gauze or a clean bandage, apply firm pressure to the affected area for at least 3 minutes or until bleeding stops. If bleeding is severe and located on your pet’s legs, use an elastic band or clean t-shirt as a tourniquet between the wound and body. Once you’ve stopped the bleeding, seek veterinary attention.

Poisoning

More difficult to identify, there are a wide range of symptoms exhibited by an exposure to toxins. Vomiting, convulsions,  diarrhea and weakness are among the most common. Do not induce vomiting. Instead, identify the source of poisoning and contact poison control.

sick dog

Animal CPR

If you ever discover you pet to be unconscious, administering CPR can save a life. The American Animal Hospital Association has assembled a thorough guide for performing pet CPR.

Of course, not everyone needs to be certified — or even take courses for that matter — but knowing how to respond and care for animals properly in an emergency situation is important. BestBullySticks hopes you never run into an emergency. Being prepared never hurts, though. From our selection of dog apparel — essential for extreme climates— to custom dog tags and leashes, we’ve got you covered! So take the time to review the information above and if you are interested, enroll in the American Red Cross’ first aid course.

For even more information, check out our four-part series on animal first aid covering first aid kits and disaster preparedness, treating dog burns, treating dog bites, and CPR and Heimlich for canines.

The 4 W’s When Planning your Dog’s Bath

 SPRING is around the corner, and for many dog owners, that means rain, mud and extra time spent wiping Fido’s paws at the front or back doors! If your dog really enjoys getting dirty (an annoying and lovable quality at the same time), bath time can be a hassle.

Even if rain is not in the forecast anytime soon in your area, dogs do sweat (and smell), something we dog owners become more aware of as summer draws closer.

 We at BestBullySticks have compiled 4 things to consider planning to clean Fido– before the next Puddle fest or heatwave!

Why

If it’s not sweaty season, and he’s not smellier than his usual, a bath once a month should be plenty. If bathing this regularly, use a mild shampoo, perhaps one with oatmeal. Medicated shampoos should only be used every other time. If a bath is called for due to rolling in feces or an encounter with a skunk, a specially formulated shampoo and/or several baths will be necessary to eliminate the smell.

Who

Will you be the one to tackle Fido in the bathtub for this necessary task? If so, be sure to have a helper on hand– it will be faster and less stressful for your dog (and you!).

 Where

This time of year, it is probably still too cold to submit Fido to a bath outside. If possible, give him an inside bath until temperatures warm up.

When

Before breakfast or dinner is a great time to bathe your dog because mealtime will serve as a reward and calm him down if baths are unpleasant and distressing for him.

If you are a new dog owner or new to giving your dog a bath, we hope these tips prove helpful when planning your dog’s bath!

For more tips on canine health, see Healthy Dog Blog posts on Dog Care!

 

12 Crucial Facts About Your Canine’s Canines

February is Pet Dental Health Month and at Best Bully Sticks, we care about your canine’s canines! Check out our infographic below and find how why your dog’s teeth are so important to their overall health! 

 

Dog dental care is easier when done on a regular basis. Once you get into the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth, he or she will come to expect their yummy-flavored toothpaste and maybe even a dog treat or chew as a reward!

For tips on how to make teeth cleaning a regular fixture in your household, see our blog Loving on Your Dog Means Caring for his Teeth.

 

Looking for an easy way to keep your dog’s teeth clean? Check out Best Bully Sticks full line of all-natural bully sticks for dogs

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