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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…

Dog Care 101: Tip #173 – 6 Common Dog Training Mistakes

You just got a new dog. Congratulations! He’s so cuddly, cute and he’s got that funny but strangely wonderful puppy breath. You just can’t get enough of him. It’s Puppy Love.

Best Bully Sticks knows that this beautiful beginning is full of “Aww, how cute!” moments. However, the unspoken danger is that cuteness can also lead to oversights in development. Those, “Aww, how cute! He’s trying to put my shoe in his mouth!” moments soon become, “Aww! Why does he always chew up my shoes?”  New dog owners can’t forget that the first years of a dog’s life are developmentally important to train and teach your dog. Many dog owners overlook important training opportunities, or train incorrectly. Read about these common dog training mistakes below.

Procrastination & Inattention
Of course you don’t think of it as procrastination at the time, but as we said before, if you don’t introduce positive behaviors to your dog immediately, it could be too late. Walking on a leash, basic commands, house training and socialization all need to be a part of your pup’s life from day one.

It also needs to be said that behaviors you think are cute now, may not be so cute later. It’s important to always think ahead to when you dog is full grown. For instance, if you have a large dog, you don’t want to allow certain habits to form, such as sitting in your lap, or jumping up on people.

One Eye On The Puppy
When you have a new dog, it’s very important to keep an eye on him at all times. Young dogs are full of energy and curiosity and you have to remember, they don’t come preloaded with a sense of what items in your house are off limits. Zero boundaries are set, so you have to set them. Thus, the importance of having your eyes on him at all times.

The best way to correct a dog is while he is in the act, and not after. If a dog is chewing on a shoe and you only find it after the fact and scold him for it, that dog has no idea why he’s getting in trouble. You can only positively set boundaries if you correct mistakes as they happen. Your dog doesn’t “grow out” of chewing and jumping. They’re bad behaviors, not a life stage. read more…

Dog Care 101: Tip #168 – Gardening With Your Dog Pt. 2

Last week Best Bully Sticks talked about reconciling the relationship between your dog and your garden. If you love both, but your dog seems to not care for your garden patch or flower beds, read Gardening With Your Dog Pt. 1 from last Monday. After you’ve worked hard to create a beautiful and blooming garden and instill respect in your dog for that same garden, don’t let it go to waste by putting your dog in harms way. 

An overly curious dog or an accident in with garden equipment can be hazardous! Here are some quick tips on keeping your pup safe in the garden. And remember; if you’re not a green thumb, still pay attention to these tricks and tips. You never know when Fido will be around a friend’s garden or what he could possibly pick up in the outdoors.

 

Poisonous Plants
Obviously, plant choice is a big decision in your garden, however some plants are very toxic to your dog.  Sago Palm and other types of palm in the Cycad family as well as mushrooms can cause liver failure in dogs. Rhododendron, Azaleas, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Oleander and Rosebay all affected the heart. The ASPCA has a full list of names and photos of plants to avoid.

Chemical Fertilizer & Insecticides
Chemically laden fertilizers and pesticides are usually an easy and quick fix to feed, weed and kill bugs, but a there is no easy and quick fix for a dog who has serious intestinal or digestive issues or worse. All gardens need to be fed and treated, but whether a dog accidentally or intentionally gets into garden chemicals, it’s never a pretty picture.  The first step in avoiding this common mishap is simply reading the manufacturer’s instructions. These will let you know how long the chemicals are in the environment. It could be only a few days or even weeks, but either way your dog could be affected. Making these fertilizers and insecticides inaccessible to your dog is a good measure to take. If you do use these chemicals, leave your dog inside when applying them to your garden.

Compost
Compost is a wonderful, natural alternative to using chemical fertilizers. Composting natural kitchen waste (egg shells, coffee, fruit and veggie scraps) is a great way to give your garden vital nutrients while also creating less waste. However, make sure your dog doesn’t take your compost bin for a “second-helping” bin. Make sure your compost is where your dog cannot get to it, simply for the reason that certain people foods aren’t good for Fido. read more…

Dog Care 101: Tip #167 – Gardening With Your Dog Pt. 1

It’s the time of year when veggies and flowers are growing and blooming! Best Bully Sticks knows that this vegetation will not only provide healthy food during the summer months, but creates a colorful array of nature’s beauty. There are many who love their gardens and tend them carefully as if it were a child or masterfully as if it were a piece of art. Many of those same people are just as passionate about dogs; yet canine friends and gardens don’t always mesh well. That’s why this week Best Bully Sticks is going to dole out some fertilizer to the garden patch and pooch relationship with tips and tricks for gardening with your dog.

Garden Needs
Some life stages of your garden are more fragile than others, particularly the beginning stages when sprouts need to be coddled a bit. However, your pooch is 100% indifferent to protecting those plants. Here are a few tips to protect the needs of your garden.

Knowing your dog is the first step in knowing how to address the issues of garden protection. Some dogs may not have any interest in romping in a garden bed, while others may feel a bit more mischievous. Knowing your dog’s behavior and attitudes will give you the first clues in how to pooch-proof your garden.

Training your dog to keep out of the garden can be done by simply utilizing commands he already knows such as out, sit, no, and stay. However you’ll want to start with these commands as soon as you start preparing to plant. The sooner your dog knows that a particular patch of dirt is off-limits, the less likely he is to romp through it when veggies or flowers are growing. Repetition of commands, consistency with training and the sooner the better: all good words of wisdom in training your dog to keep out of the garden. read more…

Dog Care 101: Tip #161 – How To House Train An Older Dog

Teaching a puppy to “go potty” outside is a normal part of raising a dog. However, what happens when your full-grown, older dog goes back into puppy-mode and decides it’s okay to go in the house again? Best Bully Sticks is going to address some ways you can deal with the behavioral issues that could be causing this puppy relapse.

Potential Medical Issues
Before you address behavioral issues, you’ll want to rule out any potential medical causes. Some of these could include: gastrointestinal upset, change in diet, incontinence, medications, old age or cognitive dysfunction. If your vet rules out these, mostly likely the cause is a behavioral issue you can deal with first hand.

Steps To Take
1. Have A Regular Schedule: Keeping your dog on a regular schedule will help create a time table when certain things happen throughout the day. Food should be given at particular times and be picked up between meals. Taking your dog outside to eliminate should happen at strict times as well such as right when you wake up, when you get home from work and before you go to bed.

2. Keep Tabs on Your Dog: Knowing where your dog is 24/7 is important because you’ll want to be looking for warning signs of your dogs potential to eliminate. If you see your dog whining, circling or pacing, take your dog out immediately.

3. A Pat On The Back: Every time your dog eliminates outside successfully give him a treat and speak kind words to your dog.

4. When You’re Away: When you can’t be around to watch your dog, confine them in an area, like a crate or gated off area, that gives them just enough room to stand up comfortably, lie down and turn around. Dogs eliminate away from the place where they create their den, or home. If your dog is confined comfortably like this, he most likely won’t have any accidents.

5. When Accidents Happen: You have to expect accidents to happen in the house as this training process progresses. If you ever see your dog in the act, make a loud noise, like clapping your hands, to startle your dog, but not scare them. This should cause them to stop long enough to get them outside.

6. Clean Up: You’ll want to very thoroughly clean your home and everything in it to prevent this behavior. Also, steer clear of ammonia-based cleaners. Urine contains ammonia and will just further the behavior. An enzyme cleaner works best. 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.

How to Handle Aggression in Dogs

A barking or biting Fido is definitely a no-no and can seriously give you a headache if you don’t know what to do. Aggression is the most common and most serious behavior problem in dogs. It’s also the number-one reason why pet parents seek professional help from behaviorists, trainers and veterinarians.

So rather your dog is showing their teeth, snarling, snapping or lunging  – knowing how to curb this behavior is key.

First you must understand why your dog is being aggressive. Aggression in dogs can be defined many ways and be caused by many things.

Typically dogs display the following types of aggression.

  • Dominant Aggression
  • Territorial Aggression
  • Fear Aggression
  • Prey or Predatorial Aggression

It is important to identify the type of aggression your dog is showing and handle it quickly and smoothly as well as reassure your dog to set them at ease.

Two tips to help you handle aggressive dogs are to socialize them and have them attend a basic obedience class. (We recommend obedience first and then after training has taken hold slowly introduce your dog to other dogs slowly and one at a time before introducing to groups of dogs.)

Utilizing an obedience technique you should have your dog sit and wait when people or pets approach that way a soft welcome can be achieved.

If you don’t trust your dog around adults, children or other dogs spend some more one on one time and continue practicing obedience until you feel confident in your dog. The last thing you need is you pup taking a bite out of your neighbor.

*Know that some breeds can be more aggressive than others so please consider this and do your research. You need to be realistic about your lifestyle and how much time you can invest in your pup….because if you ignore your pet….well they may become aggressive to you. So be sure to invest a lot of time, love and treats of course.

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Comment below and share your aggressive dog stories

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