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10 Tips for Raising Happy, Healthy Dogs so They Live Longer

Happy dogs live longer

What do food, friends, family, and your physician have in common? Together they are partly responsible for helping you stay happy and healthy. Surrounding yourself with loved ones, practicing proper nutrition, and minding your physical health add to your overall well-being. 

Dogs, too, need the love and support of those around them to live their best life. And of course, regular visits to the vet help your dog stay well. Here are a few tips to ensure your dog stays as happy and healthy as possible. 

1. Socialize Your Dogs and Puppies

That’s right, just like when you need to get out to enjoy time with your friends, so does your dog. Socializing with fellow pups offers a host of benefits, including easing anxiety, encouraging good behaviors, promoting fitness, and fostering friendships.

Socializing puppies: It’s best to introduce your dog to people and other dogs when he’s around three to four months old. 

Socialize a nervous dog: However, if your dog is older and hasn’t had exposure to others, socializing him is essential to his health. Use caution as you introduce him to others one at a time, never leave your dog alone with children, and reward good behavior with treats and plenty of praise. 

2. Keep Calm and Avoid Yelling at Your Dog

Honestly, it’s hard to prevent a freakout when your dog shreds your favorite slippers or tears through a bag of garbage, but yelling at your dog could make things worse. Before you raise your voice, know that your dog can read facial expressions and negative commands, so learn to use these to your advantage. 

A recent study in BioRxiv demonstrates, dogs subjected to scary behavior and negative commands were likely to suffer from long-term stress and lower overall cognitive abilities. If your dog is displaying a behavior you don’t like, it’s time to reassess what you could’ve done to help prevent the situation.

Maybe trade your slippers in for a chew toy your dog can enjoy or keep your garbage can closed and locked and take the trash out before your dog can get into it. Remember, before your next blow up, do yourself and your dog a favor, keep calm and carry on.

3. Learn the Language of Dogs

While it’s believed dogs have the mental capacity of a two-and-a-half-year-old, dogs can learn language through repetition. Keep it simple. You know the words: ball, walk, sit, treat, or stay. 

  • It’s playtime — repeat the words you want to associate with it, such as “toy” or “play.” 
  • Exercise time — repeat the word “walk” so your dog recognizes the word when it’s time to go for walks.
  • Sit and stay — when your dog is sitting or staying, say things like “Good sit” or “Good stay” and reward with treats. 

Canines recognize human emotion from your tone and body language, so when you get the chance, be present, and hold a relaxed conversation with your dog. 

4. Feed Your Dog Healthy Treats

Feeding your dog a high-quality diet reinforces his overall health and well-being. So is occasionally giving in to his puppy eyes, and sliding him some table scraps or treats (as long as they make up less than 10% of his diet). 

5. Never Stop Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

Training your dog is a lot more than just teaching him how to follow commands. Learning something new is good for his concentration, flexibility, stamina, and balance; plus, it’s a great way to strengthen the bond between the two of you. Even as he gets older, training can go a long way to keeping your dog active, agile, and alert.

RELATED: Are smaller dogs harder to train?

6. Tame Your Dog’s Jealousy

Yep, just like humans, man’s best friend can appear jealous when their owners pay more attention to another person or pet. While your devoted companion may not go full-tilt green monster, he can display any number of unhealthy jealous-like behaviors such as growling, hissing, or worse getting into a fight with another pet.  

There are a few things you can do to address jealousy and help your dog maintain his coolness and mental wellness. For pet parents with more than one dog, avoid giving too much attention to one pet over another, and separate toys and mealtimes if needed. Be sure to give recognition and praise when your dog behaves well. 

7. Keep Your Dog Happy When Home Alone

Leaving your dog home alone while you’re at work — especially when they may be used to having you around for long periods of time — can stress your dog. Yet, you have no choice, right? You have to work! 

Dogs have a sense of time and can suffer from separation anxiety when their owners leave. While you may think your dog is calm and collected in his crate or on the couch while you’re at work, he may, in fact, be stressing out and feeling lonely. 

To help prevent health-related issues from this daily dose of solitude, try to return home consistently at the same time (or as close as possible). If you aren’t able to get back around the same time, ask someone to check in on your dog and spend a few minutes with him.

You might enlist the help of a neighbor you trust, or look into one of the many dog-walking services. Make sure you choose a service that does full background checks on their walkers.

8. Your Scent May Calm Your Dog

One trick that might help your dog’s anxiety while you’re gone or during other stressful events like thunderstorms or fireworks, involves leaving a piece of your clothing or something that smells like you with your dog. Your scent alone can help ease your dog’s fears. 

9. Take Your Dog for Scent Walks 

Keep your dog happy AND fit by taking them on regular “scent walks.”

Dog sniffing is normal behavior. They rely on their sense of smell to understand their environment. Whether it’s to sniff out a new walking trail or fellow canine, a dog’s nose knows. With hundreds of millions of scent receptors in their noses, a dog is wired for smell; it’s their way of gathering relevant information about their surroundings. Be sure to let your dog sniff for mental stimulation and so he can stay on top of what’s going on in his world.

While walks for exercise are important, so are scent walks, which exercise their sense of smell and allows their brains to analyze their findings. Dogs are data analysts!  

10. Take a Trip

While keeping up with all vet appointments is crucial to your dog’s health, a trip to the vet makes just about any dog shake and shiver, and may even stress out their owners. To help reduce your dog’s fear of visiting the vet, take him on plenty of car rides that don’t end up with him getting poked and prodded. As always, treats and toys also help. 

These are just a few tips about how to keep your dog healthy and live longer. For more advice on raising happy and health dogs, explore our blog.

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Are Small Dogs Harder to Train?

Woman on a park bench with a big dog and a small dog

If you’re a small or toy dog person, you know the littlest canines are downright adorable. They cost less to care for, and they fit in your favorite designer bag. Everything about them is cute and cuddly. Even when they try to protect and defend, all you can do is smile. 

While small dogs earn lovable points in just about every category, training them to follow your directions or stop barking isn’t one of them. Small dogs are indeed harder to train than large dogs, but it’s not their fault; it’s most likely due to genetics … and you (their owners). 

Let’s take a look at how to get control of your small dog barking. 

Why Small Dogs Bark (Hint: Size Does Matter)

Imagine being so small that you fit comfortably into a purse or teacup. Now envision looking out at other animals and humans, everything and everyone is huge! 

As a human, if you stand as you speak down to your dog, she may view you as threatening, merely because you’re a giant to her. Instead, when you need to address your dog, kneel and keep your hand motions in front of her, not above her. 

Tiny Bodies, Tiny Tummies

Pet owners and pet professionals alike rely on treats-based training. They are easy to use and reinforce good behavior in dogs. The problem is, small or toy breeds have much smaller stomachs and may have more sensitivity to fatty foods than medium or large breeds. This can make them harder to train. 

What seems like a single kibble to a 20-pound bulldog may be more like a full day’s meal to a little canine. Plus, offering treats meant for larger breeds, or fatty foods like cheese might leave your little one with digestion issues. Instead, offer her low-fat crumbs or a lick of baby food off your finger. 

How to Train a Small Dog to Stop Barking

You might expect your small dog to perform new skills as smoothly as her larger counterparts. However, she might have more trouble learning moves that bigger dogs have no problem mastering. Break tricks into steps and reward as she accomplishes them. Another approach is to watch your dog throughout the day. If she performs a skill such as “sit” or “lay down” on her own, use a verbal command that she’ll associate with that behavior, and reward her.

Likewise, when she exhibits unwanted behavior, you can distract her with a tool like The BarxBuddy, which will get her attention so you can stop unwanted behavior and teach her better behaviors.

Anti-Bark Strategy for Tiny Dogs

Small dogs tend to be quite energetic and, in turn, bark, or in the case of most tiny dogs, yelp excessively without regard to your orders. If you yell or punish your dog for her barking habits, she might not understand that this is you telling her to stop; she may think you’re joining in on the fun!

Instead, learn why your dog barks. One way to reduce barking is to make sure she gets plenty of exercise during the day. A regular exercise routine might help calm her down enough to focus on your commands.

Be Consistent With Training Commands

Small dogs rely on you for a lot of things. Unlike larger dogs that can quickly get around, say to jump up on the couch, your little one needs you to lift, carry, and watch out for her. However, her size and cuteness are no excuse to give in to her bad behaviors like excessive barking. 

Remember, any attention you give, good or bad, to your dog’s unacceptable behavior, guarantees she’ll repeat it. Instead, ignore your pet when she is acting up and reward her good behavior. Train, treat, repeat.

About Ultrasonic Training Devices

If even after you practice these tips and find your dog is still struggling with barking issues, proper training might be the answer. The safe and effective BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool makes it easier to train a dog, even the tiniest ones. An alternative to bark collars, the BarxBuddy distracts your pet without any contact between it and your dog, allowing you to give a verbal command and reward her when she stops the unwanted behavior. 

As a small pet owner, you understand that your adorable and cuddly teacup breed requires some adaptation and patience in your training. Like training medium and large breeds, plenty of patience, persistence, and practice goes a long way when training your small dog — it may be easier than you think.KeywordsJun 30, 2020Query Phrase

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4 Humane Ways to Control Dog’s Barking

Woman using humane dog training techniques outside

Barking is one of the most annoying behaviors that dogs have, but you can’t fault them for it. That’s how they communicate when (they think) something is wrong, when (they think) they need something, and when they’re excited about something or someone (you’re home!). 

How can you humanely stop a dog from annoying barking, or train him to bark when you want him to? If there are two things we want you to take away from this message it’s this: (1) yelling doesn’t work and (2) you must be consistent with your dog training. 

Why can’t you yell at your dog when he barks? When you yell, you confuse them. They may think you’re joining their fracas, or they may think you’re scary. Training a dog not to bark requires three things: Get their attention, let them know what you want them to do, and reward their good behaviors. We call it our train, treat, repeat approach to dog training.

We’ll explore four ways to train dogs to stop barking, including the use of humane anti barking devices. First, let’s explain what we mean when we talk about “humane” ways to train dogs. 

What Does ‘Humane’ Bark Control Mean?

Humane dog training techniques are methods that get your dog’s attention without hurting, scaring, scarring or harming them in any way. A humane approach to training dogs involves discipline without inflicting pain, force or fear. 

Which brings us to a common question dog owners ask about dog training collars … 

Are Anti-Bark Collars Humane?

We see these questions a lot: Are bark collars inhumane? Are bark collars mean to dogs? 

There are several types of dog training collars that shock, vibrate, spray or make sounds. If you are considering a training collar for your dog, make sure you understand the different types of bark collars, how they work, and what they’re like for your dog. 

  • Shock collars can be uncomfortable for dogs. You use a remote control to administer an electric shock through metal prongs. Some shock collars are auto-triggered by “invisible” fences prompts. 
  • Spray collars use a dog’s sense of smell to administer a citronella spray when they bark or do some other unwanted behavior.
  • Vibrating collars don’t use the same electrical jolts that shock collars do; instead, you use a remote control to send a vibrating alert to your dog through their collar. Some models allow you to control the speed and intensity of the vibrations. 
  • Combination collars include multiple methods to help train your dog — typically vibrations, shocks and sounds — which can be confusing to dogs if you don’t use them consistently or properly. 

The words “barking,” “humane” and “collars” seem to go together, which you’ll find as you search for information about the best bark collars and most humane ways to train dogs. Bark collars are widely used as bark deterrents, and like many dog training tools, they have advantages and disadvantages. 

Our first choice for correcting a dog’s behavior is ultrasonic training tools, which we’ll describe next followed by three other humane bark deterrents.

1 — Ultrasonic Training Devices

Ultrasonic dog training tools are effective, safe and humane dog barking solutions. When used properly, the handheld device never comes in direct contact with your pets, and the high-frequency sound won’t hurt. The ultrasonic training device distracts dogs from barking so that you can give a correction command and then reward their good behaviors with treats. 

Our BarxBuddy ultrasonic training product is incredibly easy to use. It is important to be consistent with the way you use any training tools and methods with your dog. They learn by simple, clear, consistent commands:

  1. Train: Every time your dog barks unnecessarily, press the ON button and then correct their behavior. 
  2. Treat: Reward the good behavior with a treat or a scratch behind the ear.
  3. Repeat: Be consistent. Do this every time; otherwise, your dog remains a confused pup.

It’s also helpful to have everyone in your household on board while you’re training your dog. Otherwise, they’ll quickly figure out who are the “top dogs” and who are the “softies” in your home! Some families order multiple devices, so each family member has his or her own, or so they can keep the training tools in the various parts of the home where their dogs dwell.

2 — Sound Aversion Dog Training

You may have had a friend advise you about something called “sound aversion dog training.” This methodology uses something like a homemade “coins in a can” dog noise maker, or by using a dog training noise app.

It works like this: Rinse and dry a soda can. Put a handful of coins in a can, seal the opening with duct tape and, when your dog starts the disruptive barking behavior, shake the can to startle them and get their attention. 

This method of sound aversion training is more humane than shock collars; however, it can be disruptive to everyone within earshot. Not only will you get your dog’s attention, but you’ll also get attention from everyone around you. 

Another important disadvantage of this type of training is that smart dogs will quickly associate the sound with the can, rather than the sound with the unwanted behavior. 

The BarxBuddy ultrasonic training device doesn’t bother you or people around you, and it doesn’t require a special app to operate it.

3 — Distraction Training to Stop Barking

Like many dog training methods, distraction training takes practice and patience. The theory behind this methodology is to give your dog something else to do that interferes with his barking. 

If he barks excessively when someone is at the door, toss a toy or a treat into his bed and say, “Go to your place.” If she barks at the neighbor kids when they’re playing outside, immediately bring her inside and give her something to do — a treat that she has to work for, retrieving a toy, or something else to keep her busy.   

4 — Treat-Reinforced Sit-Stay Training

This methodology reinforces good behaviors and builds on them as a distraction from barking triggers. It works like this: Take your dog for a walk or go outside to play. Keep treats on you at all times in a place where he can sniff them so he knows they’re there. Train your dog the sit/stay command and each time he does it, reward him with a treat. 

When someone passes by, practice the sit/stay command and praise and reward your dog when he’s done the right thing. Have a friend knock on your door and practice the sit/stay command. The theory is that your dog will watch you for commands when bark triggers arise. Eventually, you will need the treat rewards less often; he’ll learn your voice commands.    

Why is Your Dog Barking? Remove the Barking Trigger

No matter what method you use when training your dog to stop unwanted behaviors, first find out why she is barking. What is she trying to tell you? There are many reasons dogs bark: she’s alarmed, anxious or frustrated; she wants attention, food or help; or she’s in distress. 

Learn why your dog barks, so you can eliminate the things that trigger her and then teach her commands to let her know you’ve understood her message and that it’s time to be quiet. If she barks at passersby, cover the window or remove the trigger from her line of sight as soon as she starts barking, for example. 

Get her attention, reward her for good behaviors and be consistent. Train, treat, repeat. Here are four ways you can train your dog not to bark, using humane training techniques.