February 14th is a special date to express our love for our sweethearts. While humans may like to celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolate, flowers and dinner at a fine restaurant, your dog would likely prefer a day of doggy fun. So what would your canine pal value most on the day for expressing love?
Your dog depends on you to supply the four key ingredients every dog needs for a happy life: food, shelter, safety and entertainment. When you supply these life basics, grounded on a foundation of respect, bond and trust and demonstrated by your continual, consistent leadership, your dog will know he is safe and loved, and thus will be more relaxed and content.
Following are some other canine-friendly tips for showing your special affection for your dog.
- Indulge your pooch with a “pet spa day.” An aromatherapy spa treatment will relax your dog’s cares away. Start with a warm bath and blow dry, and finish with a well-deserved massage. Your dog will return home rejuvenated.
- Try a night away for two. Getting out of town with your dog is a fun way to bond outside of the home. Whether you go down the road or somewhere exotic, there are many dog-friendly hotels that are more then happy to accommodate you and your pup.
- Get some exercise. A spirited walk and a picnic in your local dog park is a great way to burn energy and spend some quality time together. Who knows–maybe your canine will find a valentine, too.
- If outdoor therapy isn’t for your dog, maybe a little retail therapy is! Spend time together on a shopping spree at your favorite pet retailer or boutique. Clothing and accessories aren’t the only things that will spoil your dog. How about a luxury pet bed that will send your dog to an ultra comfortable dream world? You both will sleep easy knowing this purchase was meant to pamper.
- Remember this special day forever by having a one-of-a-kind pet portrait made of your dog. You will appreciate the elegance and joy that this artwork will bring for years to come.
- Give your furry friend a new toy. Nothing says “Be My Valentine” like a pink or red heart-shaped chew toy. Be sure it is dog-safe and your four-legged friend will get hours of enjoyment out of a new plaything. Plus, those cute little toys scattered throughout the house are just little reminders of how much you love your pup. Our dogs will be getting the bright red GameChanger!
- Dinner and a movie are a fun way to spend Valentine’s Day with your beloved pooch. Pick your favorite animal-related movie, and curl up with your pup and your favorite snacks. What’s better than a good movie, fun food, a blanket and a best friend?
- Cross off your annual vet check-up from your list. An annual vet visit for a thorough check means extra peace of mind on this special day.
- Bake some homemade dog biscuits for your pooch. If baking isn’t your forte, pick up gourmet treats at a local pet boutique. Even our furry friends deserve to have their tummies pampered on Valentine’s Day.
Whether on Valentine’s Day or any day of the year, simple or extravagant, the best thing you can do with your dog to show your love is to simply spend lots of time with him and have fun together like we do at Barkbusters. Make it a safe and enjoyable holiday for both you and your furry best friend…he’ll return your love tenfold.
At Bark Busters, we have trained virtually every breed of dog with a variety of problems. On one end of the spectrum, we see dogs who misbehave because of negative experiences…they were abused or neglected. On the other end, we see puppies who are spoiled, whose owners have a hard time disciplining them and whose bad habits are tolerated or go unaddressed. We have trained mutts, pure bred and mixed breed dogs that have come from pet stores or breeders, were rescued or adopted, have ‘papers’, or were found on the street.
One thing that ALL dogs have in common is that they need to be trained, because good behavior typically doesn’t just happen…it is learned. Just like babies, dogs need to be taught what is appropriate and what is not.
We find that there is a stigma toward rescuing or adopting a shelter dog. People feel that they may have too much baggage…that they must have ended up at the shelter because of some impossible problematic behavior issue. However, dogs end up in shelters for a variety of reasons, oftentimes completely unrelated to behavior. And, every dog, even puppies, come with baggage. Puppies are born with a certain temperament and certain genetics that cause them to act in a certain way. This is true for pure bred dogs as well. Just because a dog is a pure bred does not mean he will be a good dog. And just because a dog was abandoned or ended up in a shelter doesn’t mean the dog is broken or that you’re taking on someone else’s discarded ‘baggage’. When dog owners don’t make a commitment to understand and educate their dogs, and when their dogs misbehave as a result, those potentially good dogs end up discarded.
Because October is National Adopt A Pet Month and National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, we thought we would reiterate the advantages of adopting a dog:
- You will be saving a life. Every year in the U.S., 6 to 8 million lost, abandoned, or unwanted dogs and cats enter animal shelters…some lucky enough to be adopted…those not so lucky are destroyed. By adopting a dog, you will be helping that animal to find a forever home. More often than not, we hear from rescuers of shelter dogs that they believe their dogs show more unconditional love and appreciation toward them as a result of being saved. The number of animals killed in shelters every year could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted dogs.
- Shelter pets can be just as lovable. Through no fault of their own, many dogs end up in shelters as a result of divorce, a move, or a change to a living situation that does not allow pets. Shelter pets are just as eager to be happy and loved as puppies in pet stores or from breeders.
- Shelter dogs will cost you less. Most shelters pay to have dogs spayed/neutered, vaccinated and sometimes even microchipped, saving you money. An adoption fee is much lower than the cost of buying a dog from a pet store or breeder.
- Shelter dogs will give you a lifetime of unconditional love. Dogs have proven to be psychologically, emotionally, and physically beneficial to their dog owners. What better way to start your day than with a smile of unconditional love? Dogs can reduce feelings of loneliness, isolation or depression.
- Shelter dogs often come already trained. In particular when adopting a more mature dog, you are more likely to avoid housebreaking issues, difficult puppy behavior, and some basic obedience may already have been learned.
- There is a great selection. Many shelters have many different breeds of dogs – including many pure bred dogs and puppies – meaning you can choose one right for your family.
- You can “paw it forward”. When your friends ask where you got your dog, you can tell them “at the shelter.” Your adoption may encourage others to follow suit.
As the ASPCA says: “make no mistake—a “second-hand” dog is in no way second-rate. Most shelter dogs available for adoption are healthy, affectionate animals.” Any dog, whether he is young or old, purebred or a mu
Few things are more heartbreaking than the death of a dog. As with the passing on of any beloved family member, when they die we are left with a big hole in our heart…an emotional experience that is sometimes hard to overcome, even more so than when we lose a human member of the family.
Every year on the second Sunday in September, people join together in celebrating National Pet Memorial Day. On this day, pet owners stop to honor their pets, both past and present and think about the important roles that dogs play in our lives.
Grief over a beloved pet takes time and can be a process. Here are some tips from BarkBusters to deal with the loss of a pet:
- Create a memorial. Some dog owners have planted a tree or a flower bed in their backyard or at a park with a small bench that is dedicated to their pet. Or create a photo montage in a digital picture frame so when you pass by it every day, you will remember the good times. As hard as it is, remember to celebrate the life of your pet versus his death.
- Have a funeral. Gather a group of family and friends who understand what your pet meant to you. Maybe he/she had a favorite song you can play or write a poem that expresses your feelings.
- Create a tribute online presence. You might want to eulogize your pet by creating a website or Facebook page. As memories about him strike you, you can add them to the page with some special photos.
- Make a donation in your pet’s name. Animal shelters are always looking for donations. This way you could be making a positive impression on other’s dog’s lives in your dog’s name.
- Keep his ID tags on your keychain. Many dogs love to go for rides. Keep your dog’s ID tag as a special memento by attaching it to your keychain.
- Volunteer. Volunteer at an animal shelter to help pets who are waiting for their “forever home”.
Looking for some out-of-the-ordinary ideas? Click here.
Understand there is no one way – or right way – to honor your pet’s memory. Some people like their dogs to be buried with a special inscription on their tombstone, whereas others prefer to have a special urn with their ashes. Many people are designing a river stone to create a monument to withstand the test of time.
Never let anyone minimize your pain. People who are not pet lovers who callously say “get over it” should be ignored. There is no time limit on the grief process.
Your dog wouldn’t want you to be sad forever. Instead, he would probably wish you found an unloved pet, one whose life was dismal, to take his spot in your heart.
As BarkBusters dog trainers, we will occasionally see a dog wearing a muzzle. Dogs wear muzzles if they are rehabilitating from injury or medical procedure (so they can’t lick their wounds), or if they are prone to biting or aggression in stressful situations. In fact, your Bark Busters trainer may recommend teaching your dog to tolerate wearing a muzzle to limit your liability and to manage your dog in the unfortunate case where he/she has the potential to bite.
However, all dog muzzles are not equal. Certain muzzles can be dangerous or even deadly for your dog. Recent stories in the news about dog deaths sadly highlights our concern.
As a practice, Bark Busters has always warned against the type of muzzle pictured to the left. Dogs eat grass and spit up bile all the time. Not being able to regurgitate, pant or drink is a serious flaw in certain muzzles. Dogs need to pant to cool themselves and in extreme weather conditions, being restricted from doing so could cause a dog serious stress .
If your dog needs a muzzle, our recommendation is to use a “basket” muzzle. A basket muzzle allows for panting and cooling of the body, and will allow a dog to expel vomit if need be. For our clients’ dogs that require them, specifically for the safety of dogs and those around them, Bark Busters only recommends a basket muzzle.
However, remember that a muzzle should only be used for a short period of time and should not be used in lieu of training or socialization. Also, choose a muzzle that is made of leather or vinyl versus metal. The muzzle should be properly fitted and should not chafe the dog.
If you have any questions or concerns about the fitting, training and proper use of muzzles please consult your local Bark Busters dog trainer.
Did you know that approximately 1,000 dogs are killed each year in fires started by the dogs themselves? National Pet Fire Safety Month was started to bring awareness to dog owners on how to prevent dogs from starting fires or being victimized by a fire.
Tips to Prevent Your Pet from Starting a Home Fire
- Check your smoke alarm batteries twice a year. Make sure you have working fire extinguishers in multiple areas of your home.
- Do not leave candles or a fire in your fireplace burning if your dog is unsupervised. Electric candles have become quite popular as a safe alternative and come in a variety of colors and even scents.
- Do not let your dog or cat chew electrical cords. Be careful of crock pots that can be tipped over while you are away from home and your pet is alone.
- Believe it or not, many dogs and cats have managed to turn on a stove or range with their tails or ignite burners when jumping up to look for food left over on top of the stove! Consider stove top covers like the kind used to baby proof your home.
Keep Your Pets Safe in Case of a Fire
- Write down the number of pets in your home on a pet alert sticker so that emergency personnel know of their existence in case of a fire.
- Get together an emergency kit for your pet and leave it near an exit. The kit should include a leash or carrier, food, and any necessary medications. Also, include a current copy of your dog’s veterinary records.
- In the chaos of a fire, your pet can get lost or run away. Make sure you have a pet identifier such as the WaggTagg.
Interestingly, according to Trupanian Pet Insurance, more pets get saved when owners don’t stay in the house trying to save them all themselves. Many times pets get out even before you do and you could be jeopardizing your own life, plus that of a fire fighter, if you run back inside.