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Dog Care 101 Tip #198: How To Choose A Dog Trainer

January is National Train Your Dog Month and one way to have the best-behaved dog on the block is to find a great dog trainer! BestBullySticks.com is here to give you some tips and tricks to find the best trainer out there.  

Referrals
Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of dog trainers you find in the phone book or online. Go to happy customers that you know will give you an honest opinion: your friends and family. Even ask your favorite animal shelter or vet whom they would recommend.

Qualifications & References
It’s obviously important that your dog trainer be experienced and competent. Most likely a trainer will have multiple sets of initials after their name. But what do they even mean? A quick check on Association of Pet Dog Trainers can tell you the trainer’s qualifications by the initials after their name. Since there is no required certification or licensing for a dog trainer, it’s even more important to know what formal knowledge a dog trainer possesses. Also directly ask the trainer how long they’ve been training and ask for references. Any legitimate dog trainer will have no issue putting you in touch with their past clients. You can also double check if a trainer is truly a part of a professional organization by checking the entity’s website.

Methods
Not all trainers will use the same methods to train your four-legged best friend. Research Dominance, Positive, Balanced and Specialized training methods and know which method your trainer could use. If you’re ever uncomfortable with a trainer’s method, find another trainer. Every trainer is different and so is every dog. read more…

Dog Care 101 Tip #196: Successful Dog Training

January is “Train Your Dog Month,” so BestBullySticks.com thought we would help you “feed two dogs with one bone” if you will. Training is not only highly beneficial to building a strong relationship with your dog, but is also a great resolution for the New Year! So, train your dog and check something off your list! This week we’ll cover simple ways to make training successful for your dog.

Train Early & Often
The sooner you start training your dog, the more natural positive behaviors become in later life. Beginning at 8 weeks, start simple commands with your puppy. Training guru, Victoria Stilwell says early training trumps any genetic disposition. Working with your dog a little every day will ingrain positive behaviors as well.

Speak Your Dog’s Language
See the world through your dog’s eyes. Use what you know about your dog to train them. Also use a common language that can last. Clear hand signals and voice commands are necessary and remember to reward behaviors you want repeated.

“Listen” Carefully
Knowing your dog well is important for the training process. Paying attention to your dog’s facial expressions, ear, eye and body movement will tell you how not only your dog is responding, but how you determine your counter response.

Be Confident
All dogs need to feel secure and as their leader, you must espouse a calm, confident demeanor that lets your dog know they’re in safe hands. Training should be about encouragement and strengthening positive behavior, not about submissiveness.

Diet & Active Lifestyle
Keeping your dog on a wholesome diet and letting your dog get plenty of exercise will help your dog behave positively. Just like in your life, eating well and exercise improve demeanor and mood. Exercising especially prevents a dog from becoming bored, and thus potentially destructive.

BBS--PLL-Lamb-Lung-2lb-1Stay Positive
Never use harsh tactics to train your dog. It’s much more beneficial to you, your dog and your relationship to use positive reinforcement methods. Use Lamb Puff Dog Treats or any of BBS’s other great dog treats to make Fido enjoy the training process.

Keep Training
Training is never over! By consistently working with your dog, no matter how long you’ve owned them or how old they are, training always promotes positive behaviors. It also allows great one-on-one quality time with Fido!

Have Fun!
Always remember to enjoy your dog! You chose the companionship of a dog because they bring joy into your life! Playing with your dog reduces stress. Snuggling with your dog is just plain wonderful. And, taking your dog on a walk makes both of you feel better.

Happy Dog Training Month! Use these techniques to start your successful dog-training journey! 

Dog Care 101 Tip #195 – Quick Tips for Holiday Dog Safety

 If you haven’t already started your holiday festivities, BestBullySticks.com knows there will soon be a whirlwind of places to be and people to see. We urge you not to leave your dog out of the holiday happenings! However, there are a few things to remember to keep Fido happy and healthy during this busy time of year. Here are a few quick tips for holiday dog safety!

1. Stay Calm! Your dog can feel your stress. Spending a little quiet time with your dog during this busy time will help both of you de-stress.

2. Keep to your Daily Routine. Dogs thrive on a predictable routine, so don’t throw him for a loop just because it’s the Holidays. 

3. Wear him out! If you’re worried about your dog being rambunctious before your big holiday get-together, play hard right before the party! This will ensure Fido will be too tired to get into too much trouble.

4. Food Prep & Food Precautions. Food prep and presentation objects like toothpicks in food or cooking bags can easily become foul play when your dog is trying to sneak a bite. Make sure your food is out of reach or free of anything that could cause Fido harm. Make sure you also keep a tight lid on the garbage can!

5. Pretty Poisonous Plants. Toxic holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, ivy, Christmas cactus and poinsettias. Call your vet or poison control immediately! National Poison Control can be reached at: 888-426-4435 and 900-680-0000

6. Visitors & Guests. If your dog isn’t used to being around large groups of people, a major holiday isn’t the time for socialization training. Keep Fido nice and cozy in a crate or his favorite room of the house. Visit your dog every once in a while to let him know everything is okay. If your dog is out, make sure you tell all your guests not to feed any table scraps! Also make sure your dog won’t bolt out the door every time a new guest enters your home.

BestBullySticks.com hopes these quick tips will help you remember Fido’s needs during the Holiday season.

Happy Holidays to you and your four-legged friend!

Dog Care 101 Tip #187 – Dog Comfort & Safety on Halloween

If you live in a neighborhood in America, the night of October 31st is busy! All Hallow’s Eve is night full of great costumes, flashy yard ornaments and maybe a future cavity or two. However, BestBullySticks.com knows Halloween can still be spooky and scary for some family members, particularly your dog. So whether you decide to stay in or go out, here are a few tips on keeping your pooch calm and safe.

Staying In
If you decide to stay in and hand out yummy goodies to trick-or-treaters, make sure your dog isn’t frazzled by the end of the night from frequent doorbell rings or door knocks. Here are some handy tips to work on ahead of time.

The Doorbell: Teach your dog to stay quiet when the doorbell rings by having a friend stand outside and ring the doorbell or knock. If your dog starts to bark, give them the “quiet” command and as soon as the barking stops, treat and praise your dog. Over time your dog will equate the doorbell with receiving treats and barking will become less and less.

Kid-Friendly: If your dog isn’t well socialized with children, make sure you keep your dog away from the open door. Halloween isn’t the time to learn. However, you should introduce your dog to children slowly and by giving him positive reinforcement, your dog will become kid friendly in no time. But remember, even dogs that are very kid-friendly can still be overwhelmed on a very kid-centric holiday like Halloween.

Simple Commands: It’s always good to remember the simple things like “sit”, “stay” and “leave it”. Work with these commands more than normal leading up to the 31st to reinforce your dog’s ability to take commands. read more…

Dog Care 101 Tip #178 – Natural Dog Care: Herbal Remedies

Herbs make your best recipes burst with flavor and flowers and plants help spruce up our yards each spring. But these plants have hidden health benefits as well. Naturally occurring plants and herbs have been aids to good health for hundreds of years. Best Bully Sticks compiled a list of great herbs and plants that you can use to boost your pet’s health and can help with ailments from itchy skin, cuts, digestive problems and more!

Aloe Vera
This soothing plant has great health benefits for humans and dogs alike. Break off an Aloe plant’s spiky tendril and use the “juice” on minor cuts, scrapes and even sunburns.

Calendula Flowers
A pretty flowers, with powerful health benefits, the Calendula is a handy plant to have in your yard. This flower has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities that you can use in a few different ways. The petals can be directly applied to a wound dressing or even brewed into a tea for an antiseptic wash. You can also add the Calendula flower’s petal tea to Shea Butter or Vitamin E lotion to make an ointment. These mixtures are great for cuts, scrapes, burns and even minor ear infections. 

Ginger
This knotted root is a great way to solve your dog’s tummy issues. Whether it’s motion sickness or nausea, ginger tea and dog biscuits are great ways to give your dog ginger. To make ginger tea, simply peel and slice ginger into roughly one-inch x 1/4-inch x 1/8-inch slices. Put 5-8 slices into a pot with ¼ cup water, bring to boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Let this mixture cool and add to your dog’s food. You can even feed your dog ginger slices by wrapping them in a slice or lean meat. If you’re on a trip, pack ginger snaps for your dog. 

Goldenseal
Despite its lofty name, Goldenseal is a fairly ambiguous looking plant with a small red, berry that blooms on top. This plant inhibits bacteria from latching on to cell walls and is particularly good for body parts with mucus membranes, such as the respiratory system and mouth. Mostly just the root is used in treatments and can be used to make poultices, teas and tinctures.

Chamomile
Hyper dog? The flowers of the chamomile plant work to soothe and calm your dog’s hyperactivity, upset stomach or even nervousness. This mild and gentle plant can be used in a tincture, water or oil infusion, salve or ointment. You can grow Chamomile yourself or purchase it in any health food store.

Echinacea
This handy plant can boost your dog’s immune system when he’s feeling a little under the weather. The root of this plant is what is used most often, but the leaves, stems and flowers can be used as well. Although Echinacea is most beneficial for the immune system, it can also be of help for urinary tracts and lymph systems. But no matter how it’s given to your dog, it give your dog the boost he needs!

aloe veraHerbal Remedies are wonderful tools, but you should always contact your vet before starting any herbal treatment. These remedies can be toxic if not given the correct way or can cause allergic reactions. Every dog is different, so use talk to your vet prior to any herbal treatment.

Visit back next week when we talk about Supplements For Your Dog and be sure to read our simply Home Remedies For Dogs! 

Dog Care 101: Tip #176: Protein & Grains to Share With Your Dog

Are you a meat and potatoes kind of person? Maybe your dog is a meat and potatoes kind of dog! Best Bully Sticks isn’t saying you should give your dog steak and potatoes, but that there are a good many protein sources and grains that your dog can benefit from. A good meal is a balanced meal, so take our Fruits To Share & Veggies To Share and now our Proteins & Grains To Share and create a great supplement for your dog. These boosts to your dog’s regular food diet can fine-tune your dog’s health and well-being. Talk with your vet about any major food changes or questions you have about supplementing your dog’s diet.

Protein Sources
Your dog does need protein to maintain a healthy diet. Learn about ways you can supplement your dog’s diet with protein sources, sometimes from unexpected sources. 

Peanut Butter
If you haven’t figured it out by now, dogs love peanut butter. This creamy treat is high in protein, and it’s always fun to watch your dog lick it out of the inside of a toy, off the end of his nose, or right out of an empty jar! We suggest feeding natural peanut butter and in moderation.

Lean Meat
Chicken, beef and pork without visible fat, sauces, or seasonings are great for your dog’s diet. Used as a training treat or food supplements, lean meats are full of B Vitamins, which provide the energy for metabolism and amino acids, which help keep your dog’s muscles healthy.

Salmon/Tuna
Fish are tasty treats for your dog that also have a lot of great health benefits. Fatty fish like Salmon and Tuna are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are amazing for your dog’s skin, coat and even brain functions! It’s even been suggested these fish can help with arthritis, allergies and other chronic dog ailments. When feeding fish, make sure it’s cooked. You can even pick canned tuna or salmon; just make the fish is packed in water without salt added. You can add this directly to your dogs food, or if your grilling tuna or salmon, make a piece for your pup! read more…

April is Heartworm Awareness Month

April is Heartworm Awareness Month & Best Bully Sticks wants to make sure you’re protecting your pup from these nasty pests! Here are a few quick tips on how to address heartworm prevention and make sure your furry family member is getting the protection they need. But first, let’s look at what heartworms are and how your dog can contract them.

What Are Heartworms?

Mosquitoes are the carriers of heartworm larvae, called microfilariae. The mosquitoes pick up the larvae when they feed on an infected animal who already has the microfilariae in it’s bloodstream and then pass the larvae off on the next feeding host, which in some cases can be dogs. If your dog isn’t on a consistent dosage of heartworm meds, then the larvae mature into heartworms and will work their way to the heart and lungs. This process can take up to 6 months with no detectable signs and heartworms can reach up to 12 inches in length live up to 7 years in your dog’s organs.

Prevention

1. Prevention Starts at the Vet’s Office: Make sure you talk to your vet about which heartworm medication will be right for your dog. There are a few different forms of heartworm medication that are available, such as oral, topical and injectable preventatives. They will all have their pro’s and con’s, so talking to your vet is always the first step.

read more…

Dog Care 101 – Tip #159: How To Choose A Good Dog Groomer

When the air turns warm, we humans shed our winter coats and don filp-flops, tank tops and shorts with the intention being comfortable outdoors. However, humans aren’t the only ones shedding winter coats. Our pups are getting rid of that winter fur too and want to be outside as much as we do!

Best Bully Sticks knows that warm weather and thick fur don’t mix and so it’s up to you, the loving owner, to help your pup shed their winter coat. Many owners groom their pups themselves, but not all owners have the know-how, tools, experience or even physical ability to groom their dogs properly. That’s where a groomer comes in. But how do you know how to pick a good and trustworthy groomer? Best Bully Sticks will help the tips and tricks of choosing a good groomer!

Grooming can consist of brushing, combing, bathing, clipping nails, cutting out matted hair, cleaning ears and medicated baths or treatments. So, don’t just think of grooming as a hair cut. It can meet a lot of different needs.

Finding a groomer should start with asking your trusted friends, your vet, boarding kennel, dog trainer or local animal shelter who they might recommend. All of these people might have a good “go-to” groomer they trust. Checking online for “Pet Groomer” or the National Dog Groomers Association of America’s website is a good option, too. Calling the Better Business Bureau for any registered complaints is also a safe step to take. read more…

Loving On Your Dog Means Caring For His Teeth

Best Bully Sticks wishes you and your pup a HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!  For this day of love we chose to talk about doggie dental care.  It may not seem to have any connection, but we know that truly loving your dog means really caring for them as well.  February 14th is the day of love, but the month of February recognizes National Pet Dental Health.

National Pet Dental Health Month is dedicated to educating pet owners about good dental hygiene for their furry friends. If you didn’t know, poor oral hygiene in dogs and cats can lead to serious health complications such as periodontal disease so upkeep of your pet’s teeth and gums is very important.

“Most people have no idea that dental health is so important to their pets, and that’s why Pet Dental Health Month is such a great idea,” explains Dr. Larry Corry, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). “In fact, veterinarians report that periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in dogs and cats.

Proper pet oral hygiene helps your dog & cat ward off bad breath, tarter build up, plague, sickness, periodontal gum and heart disease. If proper dental care is not taken seriously, dirty plaque can be the breeding ground for bacteria which can wreak havoc on your dog’s bodily systems and cause heart, liver and kidney problems. So, during your grooming & teeth brushing sessions check for pain, swelling, redness, abscesses, foul odors (halitosis), and loose or broken teeth in need of immediate vet attention. If your dog is having trouble chewing and swallowing then a dental checkup is in order.

Tips for Top-Notch Teeth!

Regular teeth cleanings are very important. You should clean your pets teeth 2-3 times per week. Purchase a special pet toothpaste & toothbrush. Never use human toothpaste since pets cannot spit or rinse. The key to successful teeth brushing is to start your pet off slowly so your pet can adapt. Teeth brushings aren’t normal for dogs, so be gentle and use positive reinforcement. To make teeth brushing easy for the both of you, it is important to acclimate your anxious & often fearful pet. Start by placing toothpaste on your fingers and gently rubbing them in your pet’s mouth. Not only will this get your pet accustomed to the taste of toothpaste and fingers, it will be a lot easier to introduce a toothbrush.

Also, plan a yearly physical which includes an oral checkup from your vet. Your vet will let you know of any oral hygiene issues you might have missed. Your vet might also suggests a professional cleaning if they deem it necessary. Consult with your vet further about any specific health risk for your pet prior to procedure since anesthesia will be used. Remember each pet’s circumstance is unique.

Another great and way to help your pup’s dental health is chewing bully sticks from BBS! Our bully sticks and most of our other treats act as natural flossers for dogs and help clean tarter and bacteria off of teeth and gums. We’ve pulled together a list of perfect dental dog chews for all shapes and sizes of pets at on our website to show how much oral health means to BBS.

 

101 Dog Care Tips: Tip 149 – Making Bath Time More Enjoyable For Your Dog

Here at Best Bully Sticks, we know that not all aspects of dog ownership will be enjoyable for you or your pet.  One of those could be bath time.  If your dog is anxious about getting a bath and is a pain to clean, chances are you aren’t enjoying the struggle involved either. If you’ve owned your dog from puppy-hood the process of making bath time stress-free may be a little easier, but no matter the age, your dog can still learn to like baths.  Here are a few ways to ease your dog into coping with bath time.

Creature Comforts: Creating A Comfortable Environment For Bath Time. If you think your dog is generally okay with baths, here’s a sure-fire test. If your dog doesn’t take food or a treat from you while in the bath, it means your pup isn’t comfortable.  There are a couple reasons why the physical environment of your bathroom isn’t calming to your dog.  One of the best ways to enhance a dog’s physical presence in the tub is a non-skid bath mat or even a towel.  If a dog doesn’t have traction, they won’t feel physically at ease in any situation. When bathing your dog, remember that hot water doesn’t always equal cleanliness.  A lukewarm temperature will be comfortable for your dog and won’t dry out their skin as hot water would.

Chaotic To Calm: Changing Your Dog’s Perceptions About Baths. After you make the dog physically comfortable in the bath, the next step is emotional comfort.  Anxiety about baths can change if a dog is eased into relating the bathroom to a place where good things happen.  Anytime you are in the bathroom, lead your dog in and give them a treat. Next, step into the tub and give your dog a treat. Even try feeding your dog in the bathroom and slowly move their food into the actual tub as they become more comfortable.  For dogs who get bathed in sinks, it’s the same idea. Work to slowly move toward the sink, putting your pup down and giving them a training treat each time you move a step closer.  Reiterate this practice until the dog is calm.

Water, Water, Everywhere: A Word On Water. When your dog gets comfortable with the idea of being in the bath, try turning on a small amount of water. If you begin squirting, spraying or dumping water on your dog, the fear of baths will return.  Pour just enough water to get your dog’s feet wet and see how they react. If it’s positive, very slowly add a little water to wet his legs more, then the body.  Again, go slowly with the head, ears and neck of your dog. During this first session, you might not even want to use shampoo.  The goal is just to keep your dog calm during this process.  If you did shampoo, it would mean rinsing and thus adding considerable time with water in the tub.

Slow & Steady Wins The Race: Being Patient With The Process. Conditioning your dog to thinking more positively about baths will take time.  Remember that this may not be an overnight change, but if you are persistent, you will reap the benefits of a stress-free doggie bath. Two of the biggest things to remember: go very slowly & reinforce with small dog treats (positive reinforcement.)  A clean dog just might truly become a happy dog.  Happy training!

 

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