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Lessons Learned: How to Have Happy Holidays with the Hound

shutterstock_113454991This week’s post is by our guest writer and dog trainer, Deborah Rosen of Good CitiZEN Dog Training, whose franchises span from coast in coast in WA State, Denver, and Florida.

 Every year Deborah shares her list of helpful tips for the holidays, also known as “how to stay out of the emergency Vet Clinic” with your favorite canine companion! Make sure your holidays stay positive and mishap free, this year and every year!

 Tip #1 – Stow presents until Christmas morn!
Young dogs have energy to burn and enjoy exploring novel things. So, DO NOT put holiday presents under the tree until it’s time to open them. We love to display presents, but keeping them hidden beats the disappointment of a present destroyed before it’s been opened. And it’s certainly better than making a trip to the emergency vet to surgically remove whatever was ingested. No harm, no foul!

shutterstock_154188704Tip #2 – It’s All About the Food, Bout the Food, No Begging!
We know feeding the dog from the table will encourage begging. And, there’s nothing worse than a dog begging at the holiday table. And an occasional bit of turkey or holiday fare should be no big deal. But, if you multiply that bit by the number of people likely to be present you’ve got a serious problem. Of course, no one will admit to slipping the dog just a little tidbit. The only one who knows is the poor puppy with her belly stuffed with rich foods she’s not accustomed to eating. End result? You’re up with a sick dog and your merry holiday is now a wretched one involving you cleaning the carpet in the middle of the night. Good times!

I suggest the following with just a tad bit of mocking. Hang a sign above the dining table that says, “Human Food is for Humans Only!” When queried about this tell your guests that if the dog gets sick in the night, each person at the table will receive an immediate phone call to come help with the cleanup. Problem solved – on with the merriment!

shutterstock_124417567Tip #3 – Exercise and a little training!
Whether it’s raining, snowing, cold, or sunny and warm, exercise the dogs before your guests arrive. A dog that has not been attended to will be much more difficult to handle when your guests arrive. Dogs that jump up on guests will jump more if not given any exercise.

Better yet, do some advanced training leading up to your holiday event. Have someone ring the doorbell and insist that the dog “sit” at the front door before opening it. If the dog does this fairly quickly, deliver a treat along with a verbal praise. If necessary, put a leash on the dog and step on that to prevent the dog from jumping. Practice this every day for a week leading up to your event and, along with a good long walk, you’ll have a better chance of guests arriving without incident.

Tip #4 – Keep the licks and kisses coming up roses!
Are you a household with a variety of pets – perhaps cats? If so, the holidays are a busy time and the pets are often neglected while cookies are baked and presents are wrapped. Remember, if you do not attend to the kitty litter, the dog will! Whether the dog is hungry or well fed, cat poop (known in the dog training world as “kitty rocha”) will attract many dogs and your guests may be the unfortunate recipients of a kiss delivered shortly after feasting on kitty rocha. Eck! Do everyone a favor and put “clean the litter box” on the “to do” list for the day the guests arrive.

Tip#5 – Tidy Fido will make guests happy!
Store a dog towel by the doors where the dogs go in and out. When your guests arrive in their holiday finery, nothing will make you feel worse than having muddy paw prints all over your guests’ new clothes. People are good-natured, but why put a damper on the holiday by “muddying” things up? Attend to your dog’s comings and goings and wipe their paws when they come inside, especially when you live in wet areas like in the Northwest.

shutterstock_107786723Tip #6 – More About the Food, Bout the Food, No Trouble!
By now everyone knows that certain foods will make dogs sick. Chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, and garlic are some of the common foods that most people know will make dogs unwell.

Here are some others that are more obscure, but very dangerous, if consumed by dogs. Macadamia nuts and nuts, in general, may be toxic. Raw bread dough is another food that can make dogs very sick. According to the ASPCA’s website, “the warm, moist environment of the stomach provides an ideal environment for the yeast to multiply, resulting in an expanding mass of dough in the stomach.” The stomach may become so distended it becomes difficult for the dog to breathe. Keep bread dough that is rising in a safe place where the dog cannot reach it.

Christmas labsWhile you are preparing your holiday foods, it’s best to give dogs something to do. A frozen marrowbone or a bully stick or a stuffed toy is something that will keep most dogs occupied and happy and not looking for things that might make them ill.

 

In general, the holidays are a time when family is home, people are happy and the family dog is enjoying attention from everyone. By taking a few precautions and making time for a bit of extra training, the holidays can stay happy and healthy for everyone!

Feliz Navi-Dog!

 

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.
 

Doggy Travel Preparation Tips

Picture this: You’re headed out on a trip, and you think, “Did I get everything?” If you have to question it, chances are, you just might have! Best Bully Sticks knows preparation is everything!

As a professional organizer Bonnie Dewkett knows this, too. Bonnie is a Certified Professional Organizer and dedicates her life to forming “calm from chaos” through organizational systems. It’s not different when she travels with her dog Roxy, which she does often. Here is how she preps for a road trip with her pooch!

“I take my dog everywhere.  Most people take their dog in the car with them once in a while.  My dog is with me most often than not.  She only gets left home when I work with clients in their homes or offices.  And, when it’s going to be a long day she goes to “Grandpa’s Doggie Day Care.”

It’s important to me that Roxy is always comfortable and safe so there are a few things I did to make sure we are safe travelers.

The first thing I did to make travel easily is I designated a bag just for Roxy’s gear.  I keep it ready to go at all times.  It has a travel doggie bowl (plastic collapsible kind), a travel food bag, first aid supplies, a first aid bandana (for instructions), an extra leash, treats and toys. read more…

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 Tip #193: Dog-Friendly Holiday Decorating Tips

BestBullySticks.com knows decking your halls should help make your season jolly! However, holiday decorating and keeping your dog out of it may not always be the easiest of tasks. This season, BBS can give you some simple and quick ways to have a beautiful home for the Holiday Season while keeping Fido safe.

Choose Decorations Carefully – It shouldn’t be a surprise that some decorations are less potentially harmful than others. Here are a few that could cause your dog harm.

Tree – If you choose a live tree, make sure you don’t allow your dog to chew on the branches. If your dog chews on them too much, it can lead to excess drooling or vomiting. Many trees are also treated with chemicals, which help preserve the tree. These chemicals can seep into the water at the base of your tree, making it toxic to dogs. Make sure you cover the base of your tree with a skirt, aluminum foil or plastic wrap to deter your dog’s curiousness.

Lights & Glass Ornaments – If your dog has a penchant for chewing, think about making the switch to plastic lights and ornaments. Non-breakable ornaments will help keep any rowdy dog from knocking over glass baubles, or cutting his mouth on broken glass.

Garlands – Strings of popcorn and cranberries, tinsel or flocking (a imitation snow decoration) are all great ways to make sure your tree dazzles. However, if your dog were to ingest any of these, it could be a major problem. Upset stomachs, intestinal blockages and more can be caused from these garlands.   read more…

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…

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