In a perfect world, every puppy would be born with an innate ability to follow commands, listen to their pet parents, come when called, and never, ever misbehave.
But let’s be real—we don’t live in a perfect world. Your dog doesn’t automatically know what you want him to do the second you bring him home. The only way your pup will know how to behave is if you train him.
There are plenty of training tips that can help you train your own dog. But if you have a pup who’s a bit of a handful—or if you just want to get the most out of your dog’s training—the best thing you can do? Get your pup a trainer.
But it’s not like you have a trainer on speed dial. So you’re probably asking yourself the question “How do I find a trainer for my dog?”
And that’s a great question! Let’s dig into how to find a trainer that’s friendly, qualified, and will have no problem teaching your dog to sit, stay, and stay out of your shoe collection:
First Things First: Know What You’re Looking For
The first key to answering the question: “How do I find a trainer for my dog?” Know what you’re looking for.
Dog training is not a regulated industry. Technically, anyone can call themselves a dog trainer regardless of their experience, training, and ability to actually train your dog. That’s why it’s important to know what questions to ask and what criteria to look for when evaluating potential trainers.
Some of the information you’ll want to gather about potential trainers include:
- Training methods. There are a number of different training methods, but many believe the most effective and humane method is positive reinforcement training. Trainers who use positive reinforcement training reward your dog for positive behaviors. They also help replace inappropriate or problematic behaviors with better, more appropriate ones. And bonus for your pet—this method involves plenty of delicious treats!
- Education. There’s no nationally recognized credentials for dog trainers. But you definitely want to work with a trainer with plenty of professional training. Ask any potential trainers about their educational background and what trainings or certification programs they’ve gone through to qualify them for dog training. You also want to ask about their continuing education; dog training is an evolving industry, so you don’t want to work with a trainer who hasn’t learned anything new in the past 10 years.
- Areas of speciality. “Dog training” is a broad term. If there’s a specific issue you’re having with your dog, you want to make sure whatever trainer you work with is uniquely qualified to deal with that issue. So, for example, the right trainer to teach your new puppy basic commands isn’t necessarily going to be the right trainer to help your two-year-old dog deal with his separation anxiety. Ask your trainer what areas of dog training they specialize in. Then, make sure that area is aligned with you and your pup’s needs.
- Services. Again, every dog trainer is different. So, when you’re looking for a trainer, you want to make sure they offer the services you need. Ask any potential trainers what services they offer to make sure they’re the right person to train your pup.
- Price. You don’t want to cut corners when hiring a dog trainer. But if you have a limit on how much you can spend, you’ll definitely want to get an idea of each potential trainer’s prices.
- References. One of the most important things you can ask a potential dog trainer for is a list of references. Past clients will be able to give you a realistic idea of what to expect from a trainer. They can also let you know what level of success they experienced with their own dogs. If a trainer has a host of glowing references, chances are, they’ll be great with your dog. And if the trainer refuses to provide any references? There’s probably a reason—and it’s not someone you would want to work with, anyway.
Where To Look For A Dog Trainer
Alright, so now that you know what to look for in a trainer—and what questions to ask when you’re evaluating them. Now, let’s jump into where you can look to find them.
These days, you find just about everything online—so why not dog trainers?
The internet is a great resource for finding qualified dog trainers. You can either search review sites (like Yelp) for trainers in your area or tap into a resource like The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, which has a handy search tool that allows you to search for professional dog trainers within a specific mile radius (the tool also allows you to filter by “Certified Trainers Only”).
Visit Your Local Pet Store
Another great place to find top-notch trainers? Your local pet store.
Often times, pet stores will have at least a few trainers they know, work with, and would recommend. Some even have trainers on staff and offer training classes of their own! Stop by your local store and see if they have or know of any trainers they think would be a good fit for your pup.
Ask For Recommendations
Arguably the best way to find an amazing trainer? Tap into your personal network and ask for recommendations.
Think of anyone you know that might know or have worked with a dog trainer—like friends and family members, your vet, or other dog owners in your neighborhood—and ask if they have anyone they’d recommend. Getting in touch with a trainer through someone you trust is a great way to put your mind at ease and know the trainer you’re working with is high quality (otherwise, the person that recommended them would never hear the end of it!).
Don’t Commit To A Trainer Until They’ve Met Your Dog
Once you’ve found a dog trainer you think would be a good fit for your pup, there’s one more important step you need to take before you decide to work with them—and that’s introduce them to your dog.
You want to make sure that whatever trainer you hire is not only qualified, but is someone your dog feels comfortable with. Sometimes, the dog/trainer chemistry just isn’t there—and if it’s not there, it’s much better to know before you start working with them.
If the meet and greet goes well—and your dog seems to take to your trainer—congratulations! You have officially figured out how to find a trainer for your dog. And before you know it, your dog will be able to sit, stay, and follow commands with the best of them.
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There’s nothing wrong with a puppy kiss or two (or a hundred) now and then. But if your dog likes to lick, the excessive licking—especially if the licking is on your feet—can get to be a little much (especially if you’re ticklish!).
So what’s with all the licking? Why does your dog feel the need to constantly lick your feet (or your face, or their own paws, or the rug…seriously, so much licking!)?
Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet?
If you’ve ever wondered “why does my dog lick me feet?” there are a few things that could be going on.
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell—and they use that sense of smell to gather information about their surroundings. Dogs also have an extra sensory organ on the roof of their mouth (called the Jacobson’s organ) that allows them to smell and taste at the same time—and get even more information about what they’re smelling/tasting
It might seem gross to you, but for your dog, those stinky, smelly feet are full of everything they could want to know about you—and licking your feet is just a way for them to gather information about their favorite person.
If your feet are extra sweaty, your dog might also get a whiff of the salt in your sweat—and want to get a taste to go along with it.
Why Do Dogs Lick My Face?
If your dog licks your face, chances are, it’s because he’s trying to show you a little love!
Dogs are affectionate animals, and licking is one of the ways they communicate that affection. So, if your dog comes up and starts licking your face, think of it like a puppy kiss—and soak up all the adoration.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?
Sometimes, dogs lick their paws as a way to clean them. But if you notice your dog is excessively licking their paws, you’ll want to take a look to see if there’s anything else going on.
Your dog may be dealing with skin irritation or infection or trying to dislodge something that’s stuck in their paw (like a rock or debris).
Why Do Dogs Lick Things (Like Toys Or Rugs)?
It’s not always you, the human, that’s the target of your dog’s licks. If you notice your dog licking other objects—like the couch, the rug, or a Plush Toy—there are a few things that could be going on.
If your dog licks their Plush Toy, chances are, they’re showing it affection—just like they do for you! Dogs can get attached to their plushies—and if they do, they may lick it as a way of expressing their love.
If your dog is licking other objects—like the couch or rug—it’s probably because it they picked up on a smell. Fabric can pick up scents, and if your dog smells something interesting (or tasty!), they may lick the area as a way to gather more information (or to try to pick up on any food you may have dropped!)
Other Reasons Dogs Might Like…
There are a few other reasons dogs might lick excessively, including anxiety (some dogs lick when they’re stressed out), as a way to get your attention, or simply as a way to pass the time (dogs get bored too, you know!).
When To Intervene
For the most part, licking is harmless. But if you notice your dog is licking excessively and/or compulsively, if it starts to become a problem (for example, if your dog wants to lick your ticklish feet for hours at a time), or they’re licking themselves so much that it causes skin issues, it’s time to address the issue.
If you think your dog is licking because of a skin issue (or if they develop skin irritation as a result of licking), talk to your vet to provide the proper treatment. Otherwise, with a little bit of training and positive reinforcement (and patience!), you’ll be able to curb your dog’s habit lickety-split—pun intended.
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You want your dog to have as many toys as they want. But unless you’re rolling in cash, you don’t have an unlimited toy budget—so you need to find toys at a great price.
But what, exactly, is a great price? What should you be paying to keep your dog entertained? How much does it cost for a dog toy?
So How Much Does A Dog Toy Cost?
Let’s start by answering this question: “How much does it cost for a dog toy?” Well, the answer is—it depends.
Not all dog toys are created equal. You can definitely find some toys in the dollar bin at your local pet store, but there are also toys with price tags that may make you cringe a bit.
So, how much should you pay? You don’t want to spend a fortune on your dog’s toys, but you also don’t want to get him the cheapest one in the store. Typically, toys that are remarkably inexpensive have a low price tag for a reason—either they’re poorly made, are made from subpar (or even dangerous) materials, or they’re not fun or safe for your pup.
Super expensive toys , on the other hand, don’t necessarily justify their higher price tag. The key is to find a happy medium. You want to find dog toys that are well-made; are manufactured from durable, safe materials; and will keep your dog happy and entertained for hours at a time—all with at a reasonable price.
How Much Should You Pay For Different Dog Toys?
The good news? You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg (or an arm and a paw!) to get a high-quality dog toys. It’s totally possible to find great, high-quality toys for your pup—all at a fair, modest price.
Let’s take a look at what a reasonable price tag looks like for different categories of dog toys:
Toys should help your dog work off excess energy—and there’s no better toy for that than Fetch Toys.
Prices for fetch toys can range anywhere from $5 for a set of basic tennis balls (like the “Best Balls Ever“) to $18 for a bundle that includes various fetch toys and a carrying pouch (like the “Dalmatian Ball Pouch“)—perfect for keeping things organized on your next trip to the park!
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, Spiky Core Ball Toys are a fantastic option. Spiky core ball toys are like two toys all wrapped up in one. First, there’s a plush toy. Then, once your pup rips apart that plush toy, they’ll be happy to find a whole new toy hiding in the center—a spiky ball that’s perfect for chewing!
How much you’ll pay for a spiky core ball toy (like Stop, Guac, and Mole or Benji The Bouncing Tiger) will vary based on factors like size, but anywhere between $10 and $15 is pretty standard.
If your dog likes to chew, constantly replenishing their stock of chew toys can get expensive. Which is why you need Super Chewer Toys.
Super chewer toys (like “Buns of Steel” or “Sven the Sweater Hedgie“) are slightly more expensive than other chew toys, but they’re manufactured to be super durable—which means they’ll last a lot longer than typical toys. Expect to pay about $15 for these super-powered chewers.
Tug of war can keep your dog occupied for hours—and that’s why every pup needs a Tug Toy in their collection.
The best tug toys are extra durable (your dog is going to be tugging on them after all!), so they’re slightly more expensive than your typical plush or rope toy. But they can also withstand a lot more wear and tear! Tug toys (like “Devious Devin” or “Rebellious Ruben“) typically run anywhere between $10 and $20.
The best toys are the ones that occupy your dog’s attention and their mind. And that’s where Thinker Toys come in.
Thinker toys are like puzzles for pup—and because they engage your dog’s problem-solving skills (and reward them with a yummy treat!), they can keep your pup occupied far longer than other toy options. Thinker toys (like “Treat Lock Treats” or “Dog Casino Puzzle“) will typically cost somewhere between $10 and $20.
If your dog likes to snuggle, Plush Toys are always a hit. It’s like their plushie becomes their new best friend, security blanket, and comfy pillow—all rolled into one!
Not only are Plush Toys (like “Fluffy Sue” or “Plush Taxi“) a hit with pups, they’re also great for your wallet—you can easily find a high-quality Plush Toy for $10 or less.
If you want to keep your dog’s toy collection stocked—and at a fantastic price—you’re going to want to check out BarkBox. With BarkBox, you’ll get a carefully curated selection of toys, treats, and chews delivered to your door each month. And with a more-than-reasonable price tag – as little as $22 – you won’t break the bank to get it!
**Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription!
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The post How Much Does A Dog Toy Cost? appeared first on BarkPost.
photo taken October 2014
It’s snowing in the Pacific Northwest right now, so I’ve got all things cozy and cuddly on the brain, including these neck warmers from Labbvenn! Available in two styles, INKO (single layer) and SIMO (double layer), these colorful accessories are the perfect solution for keeping your dog extra warm on chilly days. INKO and SIMO are each available in four colors and three sizes to accommodate most pups (and maybe even yourself — hey, why not)! Snag one at labbvenn.com.
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photo taken January 2019
Like humans, dogs’ personalities likely change over time, according to new research.
When dog owners spend extra time scratching their dogs’ bellies, take their dogs out for long walks and games of fetch, or even when they feel constant frustration over their dogs’ naughty chewing habits, they are gradually shaping their pets’ personalities. Dogs, like people, have moods and personality traits that shape how they react in certain situations.
“When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change. We found that this also happens with dogs—and to a surprisingly large degree,” says lead author William Chopik, professor of psychology at Michigan State University and lead author of the study, which appears in the Journal of Research in Personality.
***Looking for a gift to blow your pup’s mind? Spoil them with a BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <-- This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :) And if your dog is a Super Chewer, you can ALSO get a free extra toy added to every single one of your boxes!
It would be awesome if dogs could talk, right? They could tell us exactly what they’re thinking, how they’re feeling and maybe even clue us in on the secrets of life.
The dilemma is that dogs express themselves through behavior. These behaviors are often subtle, which has two possible outcomes.
1. We might miss important signs of illness.
2. We can quickly turn into a hyper-vigilant helicopter pup parent, ready to cart the dog off to the vet at the first sign of a watery eye.
The following information should help you decide whether or not you should chill out or get your best friend to the vet ASAP.
15 Warning Signs That Might Mean It’s Time To Visit The Vet
#1. Vomiting or diarrhea.
Just like us, dogs get upset tummies. Sometimes, it’s no big deal, but other times it can be a sign of something serious, such as poisoning. According to WebMD, if your pup is vomiting or poopin’ blood, it’s time to get to the vet right away.
#2. Decreased activity.
Sometimes it can be difficult to spot a decrease in activity because sleeping is one of most dogs’ favorite pastimes. However, a decreased disinterest in games and general shenanigans can be a sign of illness. By monitoring your dog’s activity level with products like Voyce, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s normal and what’s not.
#3. Excessive urination.
It might be time for a vet visit if your pup is frequently doing the pee-pee dance or having accidents in the house. Another cause for concern is frequent attempts to urinate. Amanda Landis-Hanna, DVM states “If your dog is straining to urinate, or has blood-tinged urine, she might have a bladder stone or a urinary tract infection.”
#4. Drinking too much water.
On average, your dog should drink about an ounce of water for each pound of body weight. The amount will likely increase during the warmer months when squirrel chasing is at an all-time high. This is where common sense comes in. If you’re constantly refilling the doggie bowl, it could be a sign of Cushing’s disease, cancer or many other illnesses.
#5. Constant head tilting or shaking.
Every pup does the adorable head tilt, especially when you say “treat.” However, if it’s constant, it might be a sign of an ear infection or vestibular disease.
#6. Strange odors.
This includes bad breath and body odor. Dog Notebook suggests sniffing your pooch occasionally to check for smelly changes! Don’t sniff their butt though, that would be weird.
#7. Irregular or labored breathing.
This may be a sign of a cold or a more serious respiratory issue. Voyce enables you to track resting respiration over time so that you can determine your pup’s typical resting respiration rate. This gives you the opportunity to identify when your pup is experiencing abnormal or elevated trends.
#8. High anxiety and irritability.
Everyone gets cranky when they don’t feel well and dogs are no exception. Aloofness (for dogs that are usually cuddly), increased barking, and general irritability should clue you in that all is not well. High anxiety is also an indicator of an increased heart rate. Monitoring your pup with Voyce will let you know that your dog might have more than just a case of the grumps. By understanding how their baseline vital signs are trending over time, you can monitor changes that can signal more serious health issues.
#9. Sudden aggression.
You may be inclined to rush your pup to a behaviorist if they suddenly become aggressive, but most dog parents don’t realize that this is often a sign of illness. It may be a neurological disorder or it may indicate that your pup is in pain and they’re trying to avoid being touched where it hurts.
#10. Less interest in food and water.
Food is a big motivator and it’s a key sign that things may be off if your pup isn’t interested in their favorite food. The same goes for not drinking water. If you are concerned that your pup isn’t eating or drinking, it might be time to chat with your vet.
#11. Dry skin, sores or lumps and bumps.
The best way to detect these is to regularly spend quality time giving your best friend massages and belly rubs. You’ll get to know what’s normal for their skin.
#12. Dry or watery, red, itchy or swollen eyes.
Dogs can get eye infections, so you want to check their peepers daily. You may be used to your pup’s eyes watering due to allergies, but excessive watering can be a sign of infection. Also, don’t ignore a swollen eyeball – that’s a sign you’ve got an emergency on your paws.
#13. Swollen belly.
No, we’re not talking about some extra chub after eating too much bacon or retaining a little extra water. For dogs, bloating can be deadly. If your pup’s belly is distended and feels hard, it’s an emergency.
#14. Difficulty walking, sitting and getting up.
Odds are your pup may be in pain if she has a hard time laying down for afternoon snoozes and isn’t bouncing up the stairs like normal. It may also be a sign of a neurological issue. Amanda Landis-Hanna, DVM states, “Many of my clients believe their dog is ‘just getting old.’ Often, however, there is a medical cause for changes in mobility or sleeping. By treating the underlying condition, we can give the dog a better quality of life for a longer period of time. The sooner we note these changes, the faster we can make her feel better.”
#15. Warmer than usual ears and nose.
The only sure way to tell if your dog has a fever is to stick a thermometer up their pooper, but you don’t want to do go there if you don’t have to! But, if you notice that their nose and ears are feeling hot, you should check their temperature just to be sure.
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