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Treating Your Dog

Everybody loves to treat their dog, and we all know dogs love treats. With all the options out there, how does one figure out the best way to treat his or her pooch?

Vet
If your dog has any health issues, including illnesses or obesity, talk to your vet about what treats would be best. Different treats are better-suited to different dogs and different health concerns.

Dog Treats are for Dogs
It is best to avoid people-food all together when it comes to giving your dog treats. There are many human foods that can make your dog very sick. The easiest way to avoid someone giving your pooch a dangerous food is to have a strict “no people food” rule. This is also a big help when it comes to maintaining your dog’s trim waistline. Lean more about Which Foods are Dangerous to Dogs.

Mind Meal Times

Don’t go heavy on the treats close to meal times. Letting your dog fill up on treats can spoil his appetite. This not only means that he misses out on important nutrients, but it also skips a chance to reiterate discipline and maintain routine.

Multi-Purpose Treats
It is great to take advantage of treat-giving by providing treats that are also beneficial to your dog. Dental treats, like Greenies, are fantastic because they clean your dog’s teeth and freshen his breath. Any biscuit-like, crunchy treats will help to scrape plaque from the teeth for better dental health and fresher breath too.

Fruits & Veggies

Fruits and veggies make great, healthy treats for your pooch. Try sweet potatoes, celery, broccoli, spinach, alfalfa, carrots, zucchini, apples, pears, oranges, and grapefruit.

Count Calories

Remember that treats count toward your dog’s daily calorie count. If you give your dog treats every day, you should subtract from the amount of food he gets each day as well. This is not to say Fido has to skip dinner if you give him a biscuit, but dog owners must remember that treats are a part of his daily food intake, so they should make it count with healthy treats and not too many.

Training Treats
Using treats is a great way to keep your dog interested in training-time. However, as mentioned above, these treats do count towards daily calorie totals.  So, if you are conducting daily training sessions, consider dividing your dog’s food into small portions and using those portions in your training.

If your dog doesn’t get very excited about his usual kibble, training treats are the best option. Good training treats have a strong scent to entice your dog. They are also small and soft. Small soft treats are easy to eat quickly so your dog’s mind doesn’t have a chance to wander away from the task at hand while he’s busy chewing.

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Tracking Collar Systems

Many hunters invest in tracking collar systems as a way to protect their valuable hunting dogs. In order to be able to enjoy the hunt, a tracking collar puts the hunter’s mind at easy by knowing where their dog is at all times. Hunting involves a lot of risk for hunting dogs and hunters alike. In order to guarantee the safety of their dog, hunters rely on a these collars.

Every tracking collar system consists of two components – the transmitter and the receiver. The dog wears the transmitter which is attached to the collar. The transmitter is lightweight and has no effect on your dog. An antenna is usually attached to the transmitter in order for it to send signals to the receiver. The receiver is generally a handheld remote which receives the signal from the transmitter in order to find the location of your dog.

There are two types of tracking collars – radio frequency nd GPS. A radio frequency collar sends signals to the receiver through radio frequencies. The receiver will usually need to be adjusted since it can tune into multiple channels and receive other signals. The downside to a radio frequency collar is that they can become weaker when obstacles, such as trees, buildings and other areas, get in the way of the signal. A radio frequency collar will usually have lights on the receiver that will let you know when you are close to your dog and which way to go to find it. A GPS tracking collar, on the other hand, sends signals via satellite transmissions. A GPS collar tells exactly how far away your dog is. Many owners find the exact distance listed by GPS tracking collars very convenient.

The range, or amount of distance the collar can be detected over, is usually stated on the tracking collar system box. The distance the range refers to is only over a flat, unobstructed terrain. Manufacturers only quote the range under ideal circumstances with a transmitter that has been fully charged. One should always test the range of their tracking collar instead of relying on what the box might say.

When choosing tracking collar systems, it is always a good idea to make sure the receiver does not make any noises. Noises can easily scare away your prey or confuse your dog. It is also recommended to try out the tracking system before you take your dog hunting. Hunters should be familiar with all aspects of the system in order to ensure they are able to find their dog and kill on the day of the hunt. Hunters are suggested to try out the transmitter by placing it in a location that can easily be tracked while finding said location with the receiver before ever using the system with your dog.

A dog is as important to a hunter as a rifle and ammo which is why they go to great lengths in order to ensure their dog

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Biting: Causes, Prevention, and Control

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency which monitors and controls human diseases, estimates over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States every year. One in five of those bitten requires medical attention.

In addition to physical injuries, people, especially children, can be emotionally scarred as well. It is sad, indeed, when a person who has suffered a dog bite can no longer feel comfortable around animals, and may in fact, be terrified of them. Such people lose a wonderful aspect of their lives and a chance to have a meaningful human-animal bond.

Reduce the risk of your dog biting

There is no way to guarantee that your dog will never bite someone. But you can significantly reduce the risk if you:

  • Spay or neuter your dog. This may reduce your dog’s desire to roam and fight with other dogs. Neutered dogs are 2.5 times less likely to bite than intact dogs.
  • Socialize your dog. Introduce your dog to many different types of people and situations so that he or she is not nervous or frightened under normal social circumstances.
  • Train your dog. Participating in puppy socialization and dog training classes is an excellent way to help you and your dog learn good obedience skills. Training your dog is a family matter, and every member of your household should be involved and use the same training techniques.
  • Teach your dog appropriate behavior. Avoid playing aggressive games with your dog such as wrestling, tug-of-war, or ‘siccing’ your dog on another person. Do not allow your puppy to bite or chew on your hands. Set appropriate limits for your dog’s behavior. Do not wait for an unacceptable behavior to become a bad habit, or believe your dog will ‘grow out of it.’ If your dog exhibits dangerous behavior toward any person, particularly toward children, seek professional help from your veterinarian, an animal behaviorist, or a qualified dog trainer. Your community animal care and control agency may also offer helpful services. Dangerous behavior toward other animals may eventually lead to dangerous behavior toward people, and is also a reason to seek professional help.
  • Be a responsible dog owner. Obtain a license for your dog as required by law, and provide regular veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations. For everyone’s safety, do not allow your dog to roam. Make your dog a member of your family. Dogs who spend a great deal of time alone in the backyard or tied out on a chain are more likely to become dangerous. Dogs who are well-socialized and supervised rarely bite.
  • Err on the safe side. If you do not know how your dog will react to a new situation, be cautious. If your dog may panic in crowds, leave him at home. If your dog overreacts to visitors or delivery or service personnel, keep him in another room. Work with professionals to help your dog become accustomed to these and other situations. Until you are confident of his behavior, however, avoid stressful settings

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Teaching Your Dog to Play Frisbee

Teaching your dog to play Frisbee is fun and rewarding. It is a great way to spend quality time with your dog and you both get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Some dogs take to Frisbee instantly, and others take some coaxing and time to get the hang of it; but almost any dog can learn to love it!

First, as with any change in your dog’s exercise routine, you should take your dog to the vet and make sure he’s in a healthy enough condition for Frisbee. If you have a puppy, discuss with your vet how old your puppy should be before he can start jumping for the Frisbee. If puppies take part in extreme jumping before their growth plates have closed, it can lead to lifelong problems. Generally around 14 months is a good age.

Once your vet has given you the go-ahead to start training, it is time to find a Frisbee and introduce it to your dog. Choose a Frisbee that is soft and flexible. You don’t want a Frisbee that is too hard because it would be more likely to hurt your dog when he catches it. One way to ensure positive associations with the Frisbee is using it as a food dish for a while. Chances are, once your dog has had a few meals out of the Frisbee, he will be completely comfortable around it.

Next, encourage your puppy to play with you with the Frisbee. Sit on the floor by your dog and tease him with it (not maliciously, of course). If your dog is interested in playing with it, let him and praise him enthusiastically. If he isn’t interested, use your super excited voice and play around with him until you get him in a playful mood. Once you’ve got your dog interested in the Frisbee, roll it on its side across the room. If he chases it, praise him enthusiastically. If he brings it back to you, cook him a steak, but the retrieve is not important at this point in training, so don’t worry if he doesn’t. Keep rolling the Frisbee for your dog as long as he stays interested.

The next step is taking your dog outside, tossing the Frisbee short distances and encouraging him like crazy when he goes after it. Never throw the Frisbee at your dog. In the beginning, stick to low, flat, short trajectories.

Once your dog is going after the Frisbee every time, start encouraging him to bring it back. You can help this along with a long (30 ft or so) training lead. As soon as he gets back to you with the Frisbee, trade him a treat and tons of praise for the Frisbee, then throw it again. You shouldn’t have any problem getting the Frisbee from your dog if you give him a treat, but if he’s being difficult, take it as a sign that you need to work on his “drop it” command. Read our Commands Every Dog Should Know article on more information on helpful commands to teach your dog.

Your dog will naturally begin to jump for the Frisbee, but it’s a good idea to take some time to teach him how to land properly. Your dog should land on all fours so the force of impact is spread across four legs. If your dog is landing on just his back two legs, you can teach him to jump through a hula hoop. This will help him get his hind end up in the air when he jumps so he will land properly.

Don’t leave the Frisbee out when you’re not playing with your dog. It will be much more enticing to him if he only sees it when you’re playing. Also, never let your dog chew on the Frisbee. Nicks and breaks will cause it to fly improperly, and could hurt your dog when he catches it.

Don’t be discouraged if your dog doesn’t start making breathtaking, spectacular catches right away. Some dogs are instantly amazing at Frisbee, others take months and months to really get it right. Just be patient and keep it fun for both of you.

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Diet And Exercise Is Important For Any Dog

When you own a dog it is your responsibility to look out for the care and health of your dog. An important part of your dog’s health is his exercise and diet. If these are not monitored very closely and he is not given a proper nutritionally balanced diet and exercise, your dog can become hyper and destructive (which can lead to giving up ownership because the dog is no longer manageable) or it can become lazy and obese which is very dangerous to any dog because weight issues compound much faster on a dog than it does for a human. Obesity in dogs can greatly reduce the dogs lifespan and shorten the time you have to spend with your best friend.

 

It is our job to control the amount and what he/she eats to be sure that it is a healthy amount of a good, well balanced diet. Some dogs know no limit to the amount to eat and will make themselves extremely sick and obese if we don’t do our part to keep them healthy. Every food is different varying greatly as far as the recommended amount to feed and not all food bag suggestions are accurate for every dog. Your vet would be the best person to consult for more assistance in diet recommendations. Giving your dog table scraps can not only create an ill behaved beggar but can contribute to obesity and other health problems.

 

A dog should be kept lean and trim, he should not be all ribs and bony, neither should he be roly poly. When a dog is much heavier than he should be, or obese, he should be given more exercise and less fat intake and fillers and more protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. He should not be allowed to freely graze but rather given a set amount of time to eat what he needs and then the food should be removed until the next meal time. All table scraps should be discontinued as they lack any nutritional value and contribute to weight gain. Your dog should be sent away and kept away from your table when you are eating so that he is discouraged from begging.

 

You can help him get used to this change by feeding him first in another room. Not all dog foods are healthy. It is necessary to research the food before giving it to him to be sure that it contains a balance of the necessary proteins, grains, vitamins, vegetables fiber and minerals and a strict amount of food should be supplied for him at a set time. Some fats are necessary in a dogs diet, the objective is to pay close attention to which ones you are providing him or her with and the amount you giving him. Human foods and sugary foods can convert to fat in a dog’s digestive system leading to additional weight gain. A senior dog should be kept on a low calorie, high fiber diet. An older dog that refuses to eat or is disinterested in food, may be encouraged to eat by first moistening his food, then if that hasn’t worked, try an all natural gravy supplement or as I’ve found to be tried and true, (only if you are sure that your dog is not lactose intolerant) very small amounts of cheese, scrambled eggs (minus the butter) or peanut butter.

 

When a dog is too skinny, he may be given extra food that is nutritionally balanced and by supplementing with an all natural gravy diet supplement, you can help him reach his recommended target weight. Once he reaches this goal, you can return to regular recommended feedings. Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog is a series of constant slight adjustments through his lifetime. When he is too skinny or underweight, feed him a little more and when he is overweight, cut back. By paying close attention to this and making these adjustments you will keep your dog healthy and have your best friend around a whole lot longer.

 

Walking or jogging with your dog or playing with him and throwing balls or Frisbees to make him run and chase them are great ways to help your dog burn calories and aid in weight loss. Letting your dog play with other well behaved, vaccinated canine playmates is another great activity that will help him as well.

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The Right Collar for Your Dog

Every dog should wear a collar with an ID tag. But with the hundreds of collars available today, what collar is right for your dog?

Collar Size

First, your dog’s collar should be size appropriate. It may seem cute to put a great big studded collar on your little Yorkie, but it is generally unhealthy to require a small pooch to carry around a heavy, cumbersome collar all day. This can lead to back and neck problems, and a very unhappy pup.

When sizing your pooch for a collar, measure while your dog is standing. Measure the circumference of the dog’s neck where a collar would naturally lie. Insert 2 fingers between the dog’s neck and the measuring tape. This is the length of collar your pup needs. Remember that most collars are adjustable, so when in doubt, go a size up. Puppies grow faster than seems imaginable. Check your puppy’s collar every day to make sure it has not grown too tight.

Nylon Collars

Nylon collars are washable and durable. They are available in tons of colors and styles. They usually feature a D ring and a quick release buckle. Nylon collars are perfect for dogs who like to get dirty, or dogs who spend a lot of time in the water. They are also one of the most affordable collar options, which is helpful if you cant seem to keep your dog from eating his collar.

Leather Collars

Leather collars are probably the most durable and classic style of collar. They are very strong and great for big, strong dogs. If you have an especially big, especially strong dog, try a braided leather collar; they are one of the strongest varieties of collar available.

Rolled leather collars are made especially for long-haired breeds. This kind of collar settles into long hair and prevents the matting that can result from a flat collar. Rolled collars are not preferable for short-haired, or flat coated breeds, as they usually leave a line on your dog’s neck.

Choke Collars

Choke collars are for training purposes only. They should not be your dog’s everyday collar, he should never be left unattended in a choke collar, and he should never be put on a tie-out in a choke collar. This kind of collar can be hugely beneficial to stop pulling when you walk and for other corrective measures, but they should be used with care. To size your dog for a choke collar, measure his neck as described above, and add two and a half to three inches.

When you put a choke collar on your dog, it should form a P when you look at it head on. If it looks like a 9 instead, it is on backwards and will not release properly. This can lead to choking and tracheal damage.

Another form of temporary training collar is the pronged collar. These collars have blunt metal prongs that face in towards the dog’s neck. These are used to prevent pulling in large, strong dogs. Pronged collars should be used carefully. If you are considering purchasing a pronged collar for your dog, talk to a dog trainer or your vet about the proper way to use it so you do not hurt your dog.

Harnesses

Harnesses are perfect for dogs who pull, small dogs, puppies, and dogs with delicate necks. Instead of pulling back on the dog’s neck, the pull is distributed across the dog’s chest, which is much safer. Many vets recommend that puppy owners use only harnesses until their munchkins get older.

Head Collars

Halter-style head collars like the Gentle Leader and the Halti are engineered to place your dog’s attention on you. Rather than pulling back on the neck of the dog like most collars, which causes them to instinctively pull back, these collars pull the dog’s entire head in your direction with even the slightest correction. Instead of a power struggle, your dog’s attention is placed on you.

Although this style of harness goes across your dog’s nose, head collars are not muzzles, and do not serve the purpose of muzzles in any way. In a head collar, your dog will still be able to eat, drink, pant, bark, and bite.

Don’t be disturbed if your dog looks miserable in a head collar. Many dogs will struggle dramatically to remove it, but in time they get used to it and begin to recognize the head collar as an indication that it is time for a fun walk.

Reflective and Light-up Collars

If you often walk your dog in the dark, or like to take your dog camping, reflective collars and light up collars are extremely helpful. Some collars have strips of reflective tape sewn on, and others have LED lights installed. This is a fantastic safety feature, which will also help protect you when you are walking at night with your dog.

Basically, as long as your dog has a durable, safe, and properly sized collar, he has what he needs. The rest is a matter of style, taste, and preference.

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Remote Training Collars

Remote training collars are an option when you are trying to teach your dogs how to behave properly. They can also help to eliminate unwanted actions that your dog may perform, such as barking excessively or chewing on furniture. With this device, you are able to redirect their actions from a distance. There are many different training products out there, but remote collars have been known to be successful at getting the right types of behavior from your pet.

These collars work by delivering a small shock to your pet when they are misbehaving or not following your commands. This jolt does nothing to harm the puppy, unlike other shock collars. There are three components of the training collar system. First is the remote that you will use to deliver the shock when your dog has behaved incorrectly. Next is a collar that is worn around the animal’s neck like any other collar. The last aspect of remote training collars are the probes located around the collar which send the shock to the dog when activated. It is important that the collar fit snugly in order for it to work correctly when you activate it using the remote.

Remote collars are a safe and humane way to train your pet even when you are not standing beside him. This can be helpful because you are still able to redirect your dog’s behavior even when you are not around. Punishing a dog minutes after he has done something wrong is not effective, because they cannot make the correlation between their behavior and the punishment after it’s already happened. The shock they receive will merely distract them from what they are doing without causing harm. If they tend to become annoyed and distracted by the shock often, the idea is that they will eventually stop doing the unwanted behavior.

There are safety features provided with most remote dog collars. One such aspect is an automatic shut off feature. This will stop the shock over six to ten seconds, even if the dog has not stopped barking. This is beneficial if there is a legitimate reason for the barking or other action the dog is exhibiting. They may be simply ignoring the stimulation because of the situation. The remote can provide continuous or momentary shocks, depending on what is needed to get your dog to understand.

As you can see, remote training collars can help you correct your dog’s behaviors, and get them to understand what actions you would like to see from them. They can help if other methods of training have failed. They are not dangerous to the animals, as the shock they deliver is light, similar to the static shock you would receive if you touched something metal.

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