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Dog Care 101 Tip #200: Indoor Winter Play Ideas for Your Dog

Cold. Wet. Rainy. Snowy. Being outside in winter weather can tend to be miserable and staying cooped up indoors isn’t always so much fun either. The same is true for your dog; outdoor playtime might decrease dramatically or indoors your pup may not be stimulated enough. However, BestBullySticks.com thinks winter months can force us to be creative with our day-to-day routine. We’ve come up indoor playtime activities for the winter months because, after all, your dog still needs exercise. 

Hide & Seek
Throw a treat to your dog and while they’re gobbling it up, run and hide in a different part of the house. Your dog will want to come find you if you have more treats and will tire your pooch out in the process. Use small, low calorie treats like Fruitables or Purebites.

Scavenging & Dinner Games
Remember your dog is a scavenger by nature and enabling these characteristics can stimulate both mind and body. Use a puzzle food bowl or a hollow dog toy like a Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snoop with frozen food to challenge your dog while he eats. You can also hide treats around the house and have your dog track down their location.

Indoor Agility Course & Training
A homemade agility course can test your dog’s navigation skills and stimulate brain and body. Use chairs as weave poles, using a broomstick over a couple buckets or holding a hula-hoop in your hands as a jump can make for a fun and rousing playtime. Winter can also be a great time to have dedicated training time with your dog. Want to teach your dog to high-five, shake or roll over? Use your regular outdoor playtime and substitute it for training. Your dog will emerge into Spring as a well trained pooch! read more…

Dog Care 101 Tip #199: High-Five Trick Dog Training

Yes, your dog is cute. But how cool would it be to give your dog a high-five?! “Good Boy, Fido!” followed by a head pat can quickly become “Good Boy, Fido! High-Five” followed by interspecies coolness. What’s more awesome than that?

BestBullySticks.com knows once your dog has mastered standard training commands and a few tricks, your dog will not only be the cutest and best behaved at the dog park, but the most talented as well! 

Teaching the High-Five Trick

Need: Training Treats, Training Treat Pouch & a Clicker

If you’re not familiar with clicker dog training, read up on it here. Also, your dog must have the “sit” command mastered before teaching this trick.

Step 1
Have your dog sit in front of you. Place a desirable treat in your hand and make a fist. Let your dog sniff your hand to let them know the treat is there. Move the hand with the hidden treat above your dog’s head, just out of reach. Have the clicker ready in your other hand. read more…

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 #197: Leash Training Your Dog

It’s a sunny day and you want to get outside. Why not take Fido? BestBullySticks.com knows a walk with your dog not only clears your head but is great exercise for both of you! However, if your dog isn’t leash trained, walking your dog can be a pain more than a pleasure. Best Bully Sticks can help! January is not only National Train Your Dog Month, but also National Walk Your Pet Month!

Before You Walk
Before venturing out in your neighborhood, to the dog park or on an outdoors adventure, make sure your dog is:

Comfortable with the Equipment
Your dog’s collar and leash are obviously very important, but you must make sure your dog isn’t nervous or scared around them. If your dog seems skittish around these objects begin by simply placing them in the same room and letting your dog become comfortable with the objects themselves. Once your dog seems relaxed and can approach the collar, lead or harness without fear, move on to putting them on your dog. Let your dog wear the collar, harness and leash around the house with a loose leash. As your dog becomes more comfortable, start picking up the lead while your dog is eating or playing. Then take short walks around your house, but never pull or restrain. The point is to get your dog to understand the feel of the equipment.

Relaxed
When you’re ready to walk, your dog might be really excited! That’s great! However, make sure your dog is relaxed and still when you “suit up” for your adventure. When Fido realizes a walk is coming, train him to have all four paws on the ground before you attach his harness and lead. This sets a precedence of you being in charge before the walk even begins. 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 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…

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!

 

Does Your Canine Display Signs Of Phobias?

Does Your Canine Display Signs Of Phobias?

A lot of dogs display fears without seeming to have a reason. Similar to the way in which some people react when they observe a spider, many canines react suddenly to a host of stimuli. The reasons vary and can range from a negative episode experienced early in life to a lack of proper training and socialization. Whatever the cause, canines can – and do – suffer from phobias that influence their behaviors.

For owners, these phobias can become deeply frustrating since they may prevent them from enjoying their canines’ company. In severe cases, many owners give up, abandoning their pets to shelters. This article will briefly describe several phobias that affect millions of dogs.

Fear Of Being Separated From You

Separation anxiety is a heartbreaking disorder to observe in canines. When left alone, they become distraught, barking, whining, drooling, and pacing the ground, waiting for their owners to return. Sometimes, the fear motivates them to escape in an attempt to rejoin their owners.

This is one of the most difficult fears to address. It involves desensitizing the dog to his owner’s absence, a process that requires substantial time and patience.

Anxiety Over Thunder

A lot of dogs are easily frightened by sudden, loud noises, such as gun shots and car backfires. Distress over thunder is slightly different. Experts believe that canines can sense a change in atmospheric pressure, causing them to be more on edge than normal. When claps of thunder occur, the animals become frightened. In response, they might hide or display destructive behavior.

Distress About Car Rides

Many pets become anxious when riding in vehicles. Some will refuse to even enter a car, backing away from it or barking when their owners attempt to force them in. This might stem from an early experience during which the animal was taken to a place he disliked. Or, the rumble of the engine and sensation beneath his paws while on the road may have seemed unpleasant to him.

Apprehension Around Kids

Young kids can scare dogs, creating a phobia in them that lasts for years. This can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, a child may pull on a dog’s tail or ears, causing him pain. Or, a child may not realize that approaching a canine suddenly may be misinterpreted by the animal as an act of aggression. Or, the pet may have had little to no exposure to young people early in his life, and is thus unfamiliar with them.

It is important to always supervise the interaction between a dog and child. Otherwise, the animal’s fear could prompt a reaction that results in the child’s injury.

shutterstock_53488045Anxiety About Visiting The Vet

For dogs, a veterinary clinic is rarely a pleasant place to visit for the first time. Not only is everything unfamiliar, but the animals are usually subjected to poking, prodding, and on occasion, vaccination shots. It’s common for canines to develop an aversion, often to the point of recognizing the roads taken to the vet’s office. With time, however, this phobia tends to dissipate as dogs become more familiar with their veterinarians.

Fear Of Unfamiliar People

A lot of canines become tense whenever strangers are nearby. Sometimes, their stress is mild, causing them to remain alert. Other times, the stress is severe, prompting the animal to bark and growl at the person.

This problem often develops in dogs that receive little to no exposure to new people. It may also develop as the result of mistreatment by strangers in the past.

Most canine phobias can be treated successfully with desensitization training. Although the process is long and sometimes exasperating, owners are rewarded with less anxious companions.

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