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BBS Training Tip #4: Dog Training Methods Part 2

Last week BestBullySticks tipped off our discussion on dog training with the first installment of our Training Methods blog series. In today’s followup post to Training Methods Part 1, we’re delving into specific training methods.

Origins of Modern Dog Training

Modern dog training developed dramatically during the 20th century. Most notably, advances in psychology furthered dog training and led to the creation of new training methods. BestBullySticks recently talked about this fascinating evolution in our post on The History of Dog Training.

In recent years, older training methods have been labeled overly aggressive or unnecessarily physical. In some instances this may be the case— BestBullySticks encourages all dog owners to use their discretion in the matter. Just be sure to avoid any training methods that are outright abusive. There are many factors to consider when training your dog — refer to our post on How Dogs Learn to gain some more insight into what your pup has on his mind!

Corrective Training

A training system that would fall into this category is the Koehler Method. The cornerstone of the Koehler Method is to let dogs make their own mistakes. In doing so, it gives the owner the opportunity to provide consequences for both desirable and undesirable behaviors. The punishments of the Koehler Method are generally more physical, sometimes advocating “alpha rolling,” where a dog is pinned on his back to assert dominance.

It should be noted, this “alpha rolling” technique, while still used today —and even by big name trainers— the “natural” action it is supposed to mimic is an action where submission is actually given, not forced.

Dominance-based training methods like the Koehler Method rely on the theory that dogs are in fact wolves and there are hierarchies in their pack with an alpha-figure at the top. However, the Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) has argued against this idea of aggressive-submissive positions. Additionally, attempting to physically exert dominance could cause your pet to lash out. read more…

Dog Care 101 Tip #202: Playing Tug-of-War the Right & Safe Way

Recently there has been a lot of question about the nature of playing the classic dog game tug-of-war. Some say it brings out aggressive tendencies in dogs; however, BestBullySticks.com believes if you have a well-behaved dog that listens, tug-of-war is a great way to not only bond with your dog but also get your dog’s mind and body working. Here are a few ways to make sure tug is always a positive experience for you and your dog.

1. Teach your Dog to Listen
Before you play tug with your dog, make sure your dog can listen to commands. In particular, the “drop it” or “release” command is good for tug. This will help you stop the game easily if needed.

2. The Right Toy
Making sure your dog has the toughest tug toy out there is a must. Flexible yet durable enough for tugging, most good chew toys are made of rubber. A comfy handle is important, too. Check out our Rope-Tug Toys for sturdy, long lasting dog tug toys.

3. Where To Play
The best places to play tug are open areas free of clutter. Playing outside is a great idea, too.

4. Signs for Aggressive Behavior
Most likely your dog will get excited while playing tug. And why shouldn’t they?! They’re having fun! You might notice your dog growling, too. This is perfectly normal as tug is the resemblance of a predatory behavior. As long as your dog’s tail is still wagging, and the growl isn’t threatening, then play can continue. read more…

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 #188: Dog Photography Tips

We know your dog has tons of personality. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes sweet and others just plain human-like. But how do you capture these moments? BestBullySticks.com can help you get photo-ready for your dog’s next picture-perfect moment.

Things You’ll Need
Camera: Most any camera will do. A small digital camera or even your phone is just fine! Remember to always have it close by so you don’t miss a moment!

Treats: Any treats will do! Small beef treats like our Beef Bon Bons are perfect for gaining attention and rewarding good poses!

Patience: Getting the absolute best shot of your dog is going to take time. Make sure you set aside a good amount of time to dedicate to photographing your dog.

Natural Light: Using natural light from a window or from outside is always better than the flash function on your camera. By using natural light you avoid alien-like “red eye,” and washed out or distorted colors.

Tips & Tricks
1. Perspective: Too many dog photos are taken from the perspective of simply standing up looking down to the dog.  Make your photos more interesting by changing your point of view. By standing on a chair, getting down on your pet’s level or just by kneeling instead of standing, you are changing your perspective and creating a more engaging photo. 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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