Blog

Nov 29

Your Dog’s Holiday Wish List

Posted by Bark to Basics

Your pup’s favorite things are a gift for them (and you!). Remember a tired, content dog is a well-behaved one!

  • Appropriate chews like bully sticks, Himalayan chews, antlers, beef trachea and duck necks
  • Daily exercise! This one is free, and good for you both! Shoot for a minimum of 30 minutes per day for more mellow pups, and an hour+ for young or active breeds.
  • Boredom busters – Kongs filled with frozen peanut butter, dog puzzles, or toys you can put small treats inside
  • Regular training. Even if your pup is a master of the basics, training is important mental stimulation and builds confidence. Incorporate tricks and other games into your routine to make things fun and interesting.
  • Quality time and new experiences – spend some down time giving your dog the love and attention he craves, or take her to new places to explore (parks, shopping centers, doggy daycare).
  • Structure! Believe it or not, dogs love clear cut rules and knowing they can depend on you as their leader. If being consistent isn’t your thing this one to add to your New Year’s resolution list!
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Aug 24

Bark to Basics Fall Newsletter – Teaching Name and Stay, Ask the Trainer and More!

Posted by Bark to Basics

Check out the Fall newsletter now! 

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Jul 28

Socialization Is The Key To A Well-Adjusted Dog

Posted by Bark to Basics

The Importance of Socialization 

‘Tis the season of new puppies coming home! Over the past 13 years I have been lucky enough to work with many pups as they are welcomed into their new homes. Lots of clients call asking for help with potty training, play biting and the basics. While these are all very important in having a well-behaved companion later in life, an even more important training area is often overlooked – socialization.

I’ve not only seen the cute, wiggly, happy puppies over the years, but also the serious problems that occur later in life with dogs who are not properly socialized while they are developing. Between the aggression, reactivity and fears I’ve worked with in my client’s dogs, and rescuing two of my own who were severely undersocialized early in life, I know just how important socialization is for pups.

When you bring your puppy home (yes, even before all their shots!) it is imperative to get them socialized with new things (think bikes, cars, kids, other pets, and humans of all shapes, sizes and ages). Your vet will guide you on when it is safe to bring your puppy out in the world, but in the meantime you can bring the world to him in the form of visits from friends and family and their healthy, vaccinated dogs. Have newcomers greet your puppy with a favorite treat or toy, and if you encounter something she finds “scary” stop and give her time to check it out (tossing treats near the object helps too)!

Socialization

  • Socialization is imperative to having a happy, well behaved and well-adjusted adult dog.
  • Without proper socialization young pups can grow up to be dogs with fear and territorial aggression and anxiety.
  • The key window for socialization is between 4-14 weeks of age. Talk to your vet about your puppy’s vaccine schedule and what is safe at each stage.
  • You have a great opportunity to socialize your puppy now to help him to become the best puppy he can be!

Puppy Developmental Stages

  • From four to twelve weeks, your puppy’s interaction with people becomes more important. They learn to play with littermates, develop social skills and bite inhibition and begin to understand social boundaries and hierarchy.
  • At eight to ten weeks, your puppy can experience real fear involving everyday objects and experiences. Positive reinforcement with new experiences is important during this stage.
  • At nine to twelve weeks your puppy’s social skills with others advance, and he will begin to investigate his surroundings more. This is a great time to start training.
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Jun 28

Firework Tips!

Posted by Bark to Basics

Fireworks & Fearful Fido 

Many dogs, young and old, are terrified of the fireworks the 4th of July holiday brings and with a little planning your dog can be ready for the grand finale.

  • Desensitize and counter condition your dog. Buy a fireworks CD and begin playing it each day. Start with the volume low and play during meal and play times. You can also give your dog a treat each time a firework explodes on the CD. During the grand finale be sure to have many small treats ready so you can reward your dog rapidly. Each day turn the volume up a little more. It is important to use high value treats, not the usual kibble or dry biscuits, during this training. Try pea size pieces of chicken or cheese.
  • If your dog is crate trained and happiest in his den use the crate while playing the CD in preparation for the real thing (you can also use a small room). On the 4th leave your dog in her safe space with a peanut butter stuffed and frozen Kong or another tasty and long-lasting treat. Close windows and leave the radio or TV on to help drown out the sound. Try an herbal anti-anxiety blend such as CBD OilAnimal Essentials Tranquility or Dog Appeasing Pheromone spray or plug-in to help her relax.
  • If you don’t feel your dog can stay home alone during the show ask a friend or relative to watch your dog or take him to his favorite doggy daycare for playtime. If your dog absolutely panics each year when the fireworks start another option is to plan a trip to a quiet area for the day to avoid the noise. No matter where you spend the 4th make sure she has ID tags on and is in a secure area before the start of the fireworks. A large number of dogs run away on this holiday when they become afraid.
  • Some dogs are incredibly afraid of fireworks and have an extreme reaction such as trying to break through doors and windows or destroying the house. Counter-conditioning can be a slow process with these guys and it may be best to see your veterinarian for medication to get him through the day.
  • Remember it is easiest to teach a puppy not to fear loud noises instead of waiting for a fear to develop. Acclimate him to loud noises, starting where he is calm and can hear (but you aren’t too close to the sound!) and reward each time the sound occurs. Use high value treats.

A little prevention now will go a long way to ensure your dog is celebrating alongside you for years to come.

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May 11

Check Out the Spring/Summer Newsletter!

Posted by Bark to Basics

Tackle Excessive Barking, Crate Training and More! Check It Out Now!

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