Author Archives: Bark Busters Home Dog Training

A Safe Fourth of July For You and Your Dogs

Independence Day celebrations are great fun for people, but the loud noises and bright lights can be traumatic for dogs. The explosions, excited voices and visual stimulation can create confusion and fear.

Animal shelters report that the July 4th holiday brings record numbers of runaway dogs to their doors. These dogs have been frightened and made frantic by fireworks. But by being aware and thinking ahead, we can keep our dogs as safe and comfortable as possible during the revelry.

Bark Busters wants you to keep your canine companion safe with the following tips:

  •  If you are going to a fireworks display, leave your dog at home where he will be the most safe and comfortable.
  • If you go to a holiday event, never leave your dog in the car. A partially opened window does not supply sufficient fresh air, and it creates an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
  • Always keep proper identification securely fastened to your dog’s collar in case he gets out.  Talk to your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip in your pet, and make sure that your veterinary clinic and animal shelter have your correct contact information in their database.
  • Don’t leave your dog outside. If you cannot bring him inside, cover his dog house with a blanket to protect him from the bursts of bright lights and loud bangs.  A  dog’s sense of hearing is acute-over 10 times more sensitive than humans’.
  • Create a special den-like area in your home where your dog feels safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming refuge for him.
  • Some dogs become destructive when frightened. If you don’t use a crate, remove any items in the room which your dog could destroy or which could hurt him if he chewed them.
  • Keep your dog away from the front and back doors. Your dog may be under significant stress, which could result in unnecessary injury to others or cause him to dart out the door and become lost.
  • Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes.
  • Turn on a TV or radio at  normal volume to distract your dog from loud noises and help him to relax.
  • If possible, stay with your pet during the majority of the fireworks. A dog often reacts more intensely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with him.
  • Consider hiring a pet sitter to stay with your dog while you are away from home.

July 4 is a time for fun and celebration. By taking these precautions, you and your pets can have a safe and happy holiday experience.

Preventing Dog Bites

Every year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs with 800,000 requiring medical care. Unfortunately, most of the victims are innocent children or senior citizens. As summertime rolls around and more children and dogs are outside, it’s important to protect yourself and your family from aggressive or ill-trained dogs.

Even the cutest, most cuddly dog can bite if it is threatened, scared, startled or hungry. Dogs can bite regardless of size or breed.

Just as we warn our children about “stranger danger”, it’s important to warn them about how or if to approach unfamiliar dogs. Many dog bites are preventable and are caused by dogs the child knows – his or her own pet, a friend’s or a neighbors. Here are some tips from Bark Busters Home Dog Training to minimize your chances of being bitten by a dog.

  • Always ask the dog owner if it’s okay to pet the dog.
  • Don’t turn, scream and run – dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.
  • Stand still. More than likely the dog will determine you are not a threat and go away.
  • Avoid eye contact with the dog.
  • Once the dog loses interest in you, back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
  • Never  leave young children alone with a dog.
  • Don’t  allow kids to play aggressive games (like wrestling) with dogs and don’t let them pull on the dog’s tail or ears.
  • Don’t let kids discipline dogs.
  • “Let sleeping dogs lie” is a good rule to follow. That goes for a dog that is eating or drinking as well.
  • Mother dogs can be overly protective of their puppies. Be extremely cautious.
  • A dog may be possessive of his space. Do not try and pet a dog through a fence as he may regard this as his personal property and fight to protect it.

On the flip side, if your dog is prone to biting, this can be a serious behavioral issue. Let Bark Busters help you to prevent your dog from biting through our proven behavioral modification techniques.

Ah, it’s summertime, a chance for dog owners to enjoy the great outdoors with their dogs. Although I have always enjoyed going to dog parks with my dogs, I’ve recently read some cautionary tales I thought I would share with you.

According to Dr. Susan Nelson, a clinical associate professor at KansasStateUniversity’s VeterinaryHealthCenter, you need to be aware that dog parks can be a breeding ground for germs, bacteria and parasites found not only in the soil but the air as well. She suggests making sure your dog is properly vaccinated before venturing to a dog park. Additionally, if there is a large number of dogs socializing, kennel cough can be another hazard.

Dog parks can indeed be a cesspool of disease if dog owners bring dogs with fleas, ticks or dogs that are not vaccinated.

Here’s some tips from Bark Busters top keep your dog healthier:

  • Always bring your own source of water – never let your dog drink out of a communal water bowl where bacteria could be present that contributes to giardia.
  • Never let your dog out of your sight. Don’t think of a dog park as a canine babysitter. You never know when the pack mentality can kick in, causing your dog to end up on the receiving end of a dog fight.  Small dogs can be at a distinct disadvantage of there are too many big dogs around. Dog owners still need to watch and understand their dog and his body language so that they can head off any altercations that may be brewing.
  • Always pick up after your dog. Bring extra plastic bags for the waste.
  • Follow the dog park rules. Some parks have segregated places for small versus large dogs. Other parks may only allow spayed or neutered dogs.
  • Go to the dog park off-hours when there is not so many dogs around.

Although dog parks can be great fun for your dog, there can be risks involved. Any time you have a group of dogs together there is a risk of injury. By keeping a close watch on your dog, you can interrupt anything you don’t like before it becomes a problem. The main thing is you want your dog to have a safe experience.

Additionally, not all dogs are dog park dogs. No worries, there are plenty of other outdoor activities you and your dog can do together.

Are You A Step Mom To A Dog?

Being a step mom to children can be challenging. Blending families is never easy, especially when you have lived as two separate families for so many years. There’s always jealousy, fighting and the occasional screeching “you’re not my Mother!”

When I married my second husband, I expected to have issues with the kids as we moved into his house. What I didn’t anticipate was there would be problems with the dogs! I have a maltese (Prince) and he has two large Labradors (Buddy and Oscar). I like little dogs and my husband  likes big dogs. So Prince had to adjust not only to a new environment, but to having step dog siblings as well. He was used to being an only child, so you can imagine the behavioral issues that arose.

Believe me, it was chaos and somewhere along the way, we lost control of the situation.

Suddenly, Buddy became very aggressive and would just growl at Prince.. This led Prince to cower and then poop in the house. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Oscar took to chewing our brand new leather sofa. The Brady Bunch we definitely weren’t.

Bedtime was even worse. My husband and I decided that even though the dogs slept with us when we were single, three dogs in a bed was three too many. So we strategically set up their beds in different room and closed our bedroom door … then the howling began!

If my kids were having adjustment issues, I would take them to a counselor, so I figured hiring a doggie therapist was the best thing to do.

And I was right.

The Bark Busters behavioral therapist came to our house where most of the issues were occurring. They worked with our whole family on our vocal commands (how we talked to the dogs) and our body language. We found out that our constant attempts to just scream “no” was ineffective! They gave us a plan of action and we followed it daily. It was relatively easy and more importantly it worked! Prince stopped pooping in the house, Oscar stopped his incessant chewing and Buddy stopped barking at Prince.

Peace was restored in our household.

My advice is this: don’t wait too long and suffer before calling in a dog behavioral therapist. We were in way over our heads, and unfortunately most of our solutions were wrong. We could have saved a ton of headaches and stress if we had called in a dog trainer right from the start … it would have made the adjustment easier for everyone.

Now if only I could get my children to respond to my vocal commands as well as my dogs!

Want To Know Your Dog’s DNA?

Many times dog owners rescue dogs from animal shelters or rescue organizations, and they have no idea what breed the dog is. You may think your dog is part lab, part golden retriever, but you don’t really know. Or you may even wonder if your dog is a purebred or why he doesn’t like to swim.

The guessing game is over. Now there is a 3-in-1 do-it-yourself DNA test on the market which can identify your dog’s breed.

The Wisdom Panel® 2.0 from Mars Veterinary™ is highly accurate in identifying over 200 breeds of dogs and 100% accurate in identifying American Kennel Club registered breeds.  All you have to do is swab your dog’s cheek, and you’ll have an explanation for why your dog looks the way he does or displays certain behaviors.

If you think your dog is purebred, you can identify if the dog’s ancestry consists of a single breed over three generations. If you are interested in the background of your designer dog, this dog DNA test will show you whether the dog’s profile matches a first generation cross between two purebred dogs from different breeds, which by definition is a true designer dog.

Knowing your dog’s background can be helpful in explaining certain behaviors (herding) or if he is prone to certain diseases.  Just like people who want to trace their roots, this dog DNA test can tell you the origins of your beloved pet!

How The Dog DNA Test Works
This dog DNA test costs $79.99 and can be purchased at You will receive   “do-it-yourself” cheek swabs, allowing you to administer the test at home and mail back the sample in a pre-paid package. Within three weeks of receipt of the swab sample, dog owners will be emailed an official Ancestry Report revealing their dog’s genetic background.