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How Agility Builds Confidence in Your Dog

Building Confidence in your Dog with Agility Training

Is your dog timid around people or other dogs?  Is your dog sensitive to sounds?  Agility training can provide the environment and structure to build confidence in your dog.  Agility classes are a great place for people to learn about the sport and learn how to train, but the timid dog may take a long time before he is ready to venture from under your chair or off your lap.

A timid or shy dog can only learn inside their comfort zone.  So, training must begin where they feel safe and behaviors must be taught in very small increments. Home will probably be the best place to train and have learning take place for your dog.

How to Train at Home

So, how do you train at home?  You will need guidelines and equipment. There is a multitude of websites that can give you information on agility training.  There are also books and videos that will give details and visual aids and lesson plans for beginners thru expert levels.

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There is a variety of equipment that is useful and helpful to have at home.  Equipment recommendations are based on your available space and location of training.  Do you have a large yard that will hold 10 obstacles? Do you have a small yard where you will need setup equipment and then tear down before you can setup again?  Will you be training in your garage or basement, or as some agility addicts, in your living room.

Timid or Skittish Dogs

For the timid dogs make sure your equipment is safe and sturdy.  The pause table is a good place to begin your agility training.   A 12” high pause table, with adjustable legs for later use, is a good starting place for all size dogs. Remember with your shy dog, setup your table in an area that is very familiar to your dog.  If your dog barks at anything new, just leave your pause table in your house or yard for several days, let your dog inspect and smell it on his own or with a little coaxing, but don’t push to fast, remember baby steps with the insecure dog.  With treats in a dish or his favorite toy placed on the table encourage your dog to get up on the table.  This may take more than one lesson, be patient.  If your timid dog looses interest in food or toys when you attempt something new, trying holding him and you sit on the table.  If your dog is too big to hold, have him on leash and you sit on the table.  If he backs away coax him, only treat or reward him when he comes to you, never when he’s pulling back away from you or the table.

Eventually, you want your dog to be able to jump on the table with your cue word, “Table”, “Box”, “Kennel”, whatever word you use, Stay on the table as you back away and then Come when you call. Build your distance slowly so that your dog is not pushed to soon.

From Pause Table to Contact Trainer is a nice transition for shy dog.  A Contact Trainer comes in different designs.  We recommend a 3-Piece Contact Trainer that has one mini A-frame side, a Pause Table, and then a mini Dog-walk side.  Your dog can Sit on the table and then be coaxed down the A-frame side or the Dog-walk side.  Just remember with the shy dog, training is done in increments, slowly and comfortably, with a little push to stretch him, but not enough to overwhelm him to cause a shutdown.

You can follow the above techniques introducing new obstacles as your dog is able to succeed.  As your dog succeeds on each new piece of equipment you will see his confidence grow.

How Dog Supplements Can Help

You may wonder how a natural dog supplement may be able to help your timid or skittish dog build confidence. BuffK-9’s True Champion Dog 2.0 formula contains adaptogen herbs to help your dog adapt to different stresses. Whether your dog has any mental or physical stress, True Champ has the solution to your problems. Also see Buff-Hemp Oil for Dogs, as this supplement has many benefits for dogs under stress and anxiety.

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Handling Dog Aggression When Another Dog Invades Space

Dear Adam,

Hi, I have a 3 year-old Australian Cattle Dog. She is a wonderfully obedient dog, canine good citizen certified and everything. She is very obedient and good natured to people, however she is very dominant and shows dog aggression when it comes to other dogs. Recently I have been having problems with her snapping at other dogs if they come up to her while she is on a leash. This is not a problem if I tell her to sit and the other dog stays a normal distance away. She doesn’t like dogs invading her space and standing over her (she is only 35 pounds, so most dogs tower over her). I call it her “Napoleon Complex”.

I tried to work on the problem by putting a muzzle on her and setting up situations so I can correct her, but she realizes that she is in no position to show the other dog who is boss while muzzled and refrains. We have recently started therapy dog training classes, which she is doing very well in.

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Like I said she is a perfect angel around people. In a therapy situation she is unlikely to encourage other dogs on or off leash who will be allowed to be in a position close enough to upset her, however, if some instance did occur, I would feel uncomfortable with her snapping at another dog.

In most instances, I can prevent a situation where she would be tempted to snap from occurring, however, there are some instances that can’t be avoided. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this dog aggression? I’m debating whether I should discontinue her therapy dog classes.

Thank You,
Katie

Dear Katie,

This is really more of a handler issue. It’s your responsibility to NOT LET other dogs invade her space. Now, you can correct her for the aggression towards other dogs, but at the same time you must show her that she can trust you and that you will not let strange dogs from another pack wander up and get in her face. This is the job of the pack leader – to protect the pack. And you’re not doing your job by letting strangers off the street walk up and get too close. I would recommend a walking stick. 

As for the therapy dog training – I would recommend that you continue, but without seeing the dog in person, this will ultimately be a judgement call which you must make for yourself and your dog.

That’s all for now, folks!
Adam

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Advice To Using Positive Reinforcement And Rewards To Train Your Dog

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Training dogs using positive reinforcement and reward training has long been recognized as both highly effective for the owner and a positive experience for the dog.  Positive reinforcement training is so important that it is the only method used to train dangerous animals like lions and tigers for work in circuses and in the movie and television industry.

Proponents of positive reinforcement swear by the effectiveness of their techniques, and it is true that the vast majority of dogs respond well to these training methods.

Reasons

One reason that positive reinforcement training is so effective is that is uses rewards to teach the dog what is expected of it.  When the dog performs the desired behavior, he is provided with a reward, most often in the form of a food treat, but it could be a scratch behind the ears, a rub under the chin or a pat on the head as well.  The important thing is that the dog is rewarded consistently for doing the right thing.

Reward training has become increasingly popular in recent years, but chances are some sort of reward training between humans and dogs has been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Understanding

When understanding what makes reward training so effective, some knowledge of the history of humans and dogs is very helpful.  The earliest dogs were probably wolf pups that were tamed and used by early humans for protection from predators, as alarm systems and later for guarding and herding livestock.

It is possible that the wolf pups that made the best companions were the most easily trained, or it is possible that these early dogs were orphaned or abandoned wolf pups.  Whatever their origin, there is little doubt today that the vast variety of dogs we see today have their origin in the humble wolf.

Wolf packs, like packs of wild dogs, operate on a strict pack hierarchy. Since wolf and dog packs hunt as a group, this type of hierarchy, and the cooperation it brings, is essential to the survival of the species.  Every dog in the pack knows his or her place in the pack, and except in the event of death or injury, the hierarchy, once established, rarely changes.

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Every dog, therefore, is hard wired by nature to look to the pack leader for guidance.  The basis of all good dog training, including reward based training, is for the handler to set him or herself up as the pack leader.  The pack leader is more than just the dominant dog, or the one who tells all the subordinates what to do.  More importantly, the pack leader provides leadership and protection, and his or her leadership is vital to the success and survival of the pack.

It is important for the dog to see itself as part of a pack, to recognize the human as the leader of that pack, and to respect his or her authority.  Some dogs are much easier to dominate than others.  If you watch a group of puppies playing for a little while, you will quickly recognize the dominant and submissive personalities.

Submissive or Dominant Dogs

A dog with a more submissive personality will generally be easier to train using positive reinforcement, since he or she will not want to challenge the handler for leadership.  Even dominant dogs, however, respond very well to positive reinforcement.  There are, in fact, few dogs that do not respond well to positive reinforcement, also known as reward training.

Positive reinforcement is also the best way to retrain a dog that has behavior problems, especially one that has been abused in the past. Getting the respect and trust of an abused dog can be very difficult, and positive reinforcement is better than any other training method at creating this important bond.

No matter what type of dog you are working with, chances are it can be helped with positive reinforcement training methods. Based training methods on respect and trust, rather than on intimidation and fear, is the best way to get the most from any dog.

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Should I Adopt A Pitbull?

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A Readers Advice on Adopting a Pitbull

Dear Adam:

I purchased your book about 5 months ago, and I was hoping that might would “entitle” me to some advice about adopting a pitbull. First, let me say that I’m very satisfied with my purchase. Not only does it give advice on specific techniques, but, more importantly, it explains the foundation of all training–timing, motivation, consistency–allowing the dog owner to better understand the training process. Also, it does a very good job of explaining that dogs are pack animals–and will test the alpha’s leadership at various times (in my case, all the time)–and how that factors into training. Finally, I like your common sense approach, e.g., “stay” is a double command, if the dog’s not supposed to break a sit or down without the release command, why do we need to tell it to stay.

The Question

My question is not about dog training, however, but about breeds of dogs. Specifically, APBTs [American Pit Bull Terriers] and AmStaffs [American Staffordshire Terriers]. The AKC does not recognize the APBT as a breed, however, many dog fanciers recognize the two as separate breeds even though they share a common origin and look very similar. Or, if not separate breeds, two “strains” of the same breed, the AmStaff being bred for “show” and the APBT being bred for “performance” – meaning the gameness of the original dogs has largely been bred out of AmStaffs, but still remains in APBTs. I’d like to hear your take on this subject since you own and have owned APBTs or mixes thereof.

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The reason I ask is that I’m considering getting an AmStaff or a Staff Bull Terrier or adopting a pitbull. My wife and I currently own a Dalmatian, however, so I’m a bit concerned about the two getting along, especially when I’m not around. Should I stay away from these breeds? I’ve had one breeder tell me they should be fine if the Staff is introduced as a puppy, while another told me never to leave them together alone. What would be your recommendation (I realize all dogs are individuals and may possess different traits than others of the same breed)?

Thanks,
Ryan Fehlig

The Answer

Dear Ryan:

Thanks for the kind words. You’ve asked an excellent question!

I love the bull breeds, personally. Looking for advice on adopting a pitbull. And while everything you’ve stated is pretty much “right on the money,” … I would suggest that if you decide to adopt one of these breeds you make sure that:

1. The dog you’re adopting is the opposite sex of the dog you already own.

2. If the new dog is a male, then neuter him before he hits sexual maturity. (Before 1 year of age.)

3. If the other dog is a male, then definitely neuter him. (Although this will not be a “cure-all” it may help somewhat.)

It’s true… many of the dogs in this breed seem to have a genetic basis for dog aggression. I don’t think that they come out of the womb being dog aggressive, but rather that they have temperament characteristics that tend to make them more dog aggressive. (i.e., dominance and a strong defensive nature).

ABPT or Pit Bull

As for the difference between the APBT and the AmStaff, the difference is largely one of registration. (AKC vs. UKC). And yes, the AKC version has been bred with more of an emphasis on conformation (like all AKC breeds).

If I were to adopt another bull breed, it would likely be the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (the smallest of the “pit bull” breeds). I like the idea of having a big dog in a small package. But to be honest, I’m really tired of the media stigma that this breed has received. And in real life terms, this means having a dog that you can never really take off leash at a park – not because the dog is dangerous or untrained – but rather because people are so darn afraid of what the media has led them to believe about this breed, that they snatch up their children and run screaming from the park.

On the upside, this stigma can work in your favor, too. Most criminals know that a “pit bull” is the type of dog that you don’t want living in the house that you’re about to rob.

Responsibility

On a personal note, there was a character who let his Rottweiler run off leash at the park I used to train at. This dog had a bad attitude and was a very dominant-aggressive dog. The owner was under the impression that his dog was trained. He’d give multiple commands, such as, ‘Ranger come, come, come, come,’… but all Ranger would do is engage my clients’ dogs and try to initiate a dog fight.

Well, after I adopted Forbes (an APBT-mix that looks like one big muscle and is about as wide as a Mack truck) and started keeping him in a down-stay while I worked with my clients’ dogs… Ranger’s owner suddenly started keeping their dog on a much shorter leash. If he didn’t attach his dog to a leash as soon as he saw me enter the park, then he’d definitely run to grab his dog THE VERY INSTANT that he saw that Ranger wasn’t going to immediately turn and come when called.

I guess that’s what you call motivation, eh?

Yes… it’s probably a macho thing. But IF there is a stigma, then you might as well use it to your advantage to encourage reckless dog owners with untrained dogs to keep their mutts on-leash.

That’s all for now, folks!
Adam

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Adopting A Protection Dog

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Should I Adopt a Protection Dog?

Mackie writes:

My good friend who is a dog trainer offered me to adopting a protection dog, his 5 year old Belgian Malinois for adoption. He is trained as a protection dog so he can guard his master, bite on command, release the bite on command, stay until released and others. He has a trophy as third placer in Level 1 protection in a protection dog competition. I have two dogs at present: A one year-old and a nine month-old Labrador… both are females, obedience trained and not neutered.

The Question

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I would like to adopt this protection dog from him and I know I can take care of him. Will he accept me after being my friend’s favorite dog for 5 years? My friend assured me that he can transfer the loyalty of the dog to me. He is a fierce dog when in competition but a very quiet dog when outside the training ring. In fact my friend brings the dog with him all the time and I know of several occasions that the dog is off leash. He is giving him up because he wants to replace him with a younger dog.

Should I take him up on his offer?

The Answer

Dear Mackie:

Yes… the dog will transfer his loyalty to you.

Here are two major issues you should consider before adopting this dog:

1. The Belgian Malinois (especially one that is bred and trained for bite work and protection dog sports) will require a lot of work ON YOUR PART to learn how to handle this dog. You’re going to need a lot of training… one-on-one style… to successfully integrate this dog into your life. It’s like driving a Ferrari or a race car. The car already runs great, but if you don’t learn the right way to drive it, you’ll end up killing yourself. And just because you already know how to drive a Subaru doesn’t cut it… we’re talking Ferrari, here. And the Belgian Malinois is a Ferrari with the tricked out Turbo engine.

2. The breed is an extremely HIGH DRIVE breed. This dog needs TONS of exercise and mental stimulation. TONS. Please take the time to recognize that adopting a protection dog will be a major responsibility.

If you decide to do it, and you are successful, you’ll have an amazing companion. The breed is quite healthy and you can be content in knowing that you own a KING OF KINGS as far as working dogs are concerned.

Part of me has always wanted what you’re thinking about getting. But my lifestyle and dedication to the exercise and training requirements are something I do not have at this current point in my life.

P.S. Make sure that the dog isn’t dog aggressive before you decide to take ownership.

That’s all for now, folks!
Adam

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Pro Tips on Adopting A Dog

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Summary:
Explains how to go about adopting a new dog and what to do when you get your new dog home.

If you have been thinking of getting a new dog, have you considered all the options available to you? The obvious choice people make, when considering a new dog is to go to a specialized dog breeder. A good dog breeder will be able to sell you a puppy that has been checked for genetic problems, diseases etc and will very often provide you with a high quality pedigree dog that should be free from problems that plague a lot of dogs.

This is ideal for a lot of people but of course will come at a price. There is an alternative – adopting a puppy or adult dog.

Choices to Adopt a Dog

There are lots of dogs that are without homes at animal shelters or humane societies. These animals are often a victim of circumstance. Either an owner has died, or an elderly person cannot cope any more. Sadly through no fault of their own, they have ended up homeless. Adopting a dog, may be a great way to offer a loving home to one of these dogs.

A lot of people are concerned that they may end up with an unhealthy dog, or a dog that may be aggressive by getting one from a shelter. Most animal shelters will check a dog for good health and good temperament, so if there are any problems you will be told about them. Also, a lot of shelters offer in-house training to increase the chances of a dog finding a new home. Which is great for everybody!

Checking the Shelter

The best way to go about adopting a dog is to pay a visit to your nearest animal shelter. Explain to the staff there, what kind of dog would suit you and your family. Bear in mind that if you have very small children, getting a large dog may not be a good idea. Similarly if you have an apartment, maybe think about getting a small dog that doesn’t require vast amounts of exercise. A bit of forethought before you arrive will make finding the perfect dog for you that much easier.

Bring your New Dog Home

When you bring your new dog home, try and imagine things from her perspective. Your new dog has probably been through a lot in the past so bringing her to yet another new home may well be overwhelming. The best thing to do is keep her on a leash at first, and gradually introduce her to your home letting her sniff each room until she has got a feel for her new surroundings. Also take her to relieve her bladder outside if she has been on a long car journey with you.

Once she has settled down, allow her to walk freely off the leash inside your home (not outside off the leash yet). This will give her a chance to find ‘her’ spot. By this I mean her favorite place. We all have a favorite spot where we like to go, dogs are no different. If you have bought a new dog bed or blanket for your new arrival, this may be the place to put it. She will naturally go to that spot so having a comfy new bed there will help her settle in.

Your new dog may be very quiet for the first few days but don’t worry, this is part of the settling in process. After a short while your dog will be a fully settled in new member of the family.

Adopting from an animal shelter is a great way to get a new companion and a great way to make a new and happy future for your dog.

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Why you Should Add Essential Fatty Acids To Your Dogs Diet

What are Essential Fatty Acids?

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are a requirement in everyone’s diet, for both human and animal. However, the body cannot produce EFAs on its own, so it must be added to the diet each day. The two most commonly known fatty acids are omega 3 (linoleic acid) and omega 6 (alpha-linoleic acid). The diets of our pets, like people, tend to include more omega 6 fatty acids rather than omega 3. This is an imbalance that needs to be improved upon.

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential as they help with the proper formation of cell membranes, cardiovascular functions, nourish the lining of the digestive tract, and work to keep your pet’s skin and coat smooth, soft and shiny. Another essential function of omega 3 fatty acids is that they work to reduce inflammatory problems in the body. If you find your pet’s coat is dull and brittle or if he/she tends to have dry skin and scratch a lot, it may be due to a lack of this particular fatty acid.

Hemp Oil for Dogs

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There are different types of essential fatty acid supplements that are available, however which kind you choose to supplement your dog or cat’s diet can be a bit of a dilemma.

Pure plant oils such as hemp oil, evening primrose oil, safflower oil or a blend of plant oils is a good alternative to fish omega-3 fats. These should be “cold-pressed” oils, as opposed to oils that are typically extracted with chemical solvents.

Fish Oil?

Fish oils, such as salmon oil, halibut liver oil, or cod liver oil are easily converted and used by an animal’s body. The downside is that fish oils often contain deadly toxins, including high levels of dangerous PCBs, dioxins and detectable levels of mercury. Farmed salmon is the worst for contamination and contains less omega 3 acids than wild salmon. At present nearly 30% of all fish are farmed, with salmon being in the 90% farmed range. As well, farmed salmon are often carriers of disease and parasites. When supplementing your pet’s diet with fish oils, choose oils that come from wild sources, not farmed.

EFA Blends

There are also blended fish and plant oil supplements available. These often include a mixture of salmon or cod liver oil and flax, safflower or other such oils that provide a mixture of 3 to 4 parts omega 3 oils to 1 part omega 6 oils. Giving your animal a combination fish/plant supplement may be a good alternative to consider, as they should contain fewer toxins since they are not strictly fish oils, yet still should be better assimilated by the animal’s body than straight plant oils.

The Best Choice

We feel the best option is the Buff-Hemp Hemp Oil product. It is a full-spectrum hemp oil for your dogs or cats. It provided omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids naturally occurring. Besides having the typical benefits of an essential fatty acid formulation, it may also help reduce pain and anxiety in pets. Learn more by clicking below.

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Achieving Dog Training Success With The 18 Dont’s Rules

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What Not to Do While Training Your Dog

A well-trained dog usually leads a happier and healthier life and its owner also can enjoy a trouble-free life long companion. Dog training – basic obedience, house and potty training are therefore essential and important to a dog’s education

Methods

The conventional method of dog training tips and guide would be to list a series of things that you should “Do” and you might even know the A-Z of dog training! But sometimes what should be done can be said best by telling what should not be done. Hope you agree with me!

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Exercise is a good training warm up

The List of Don’ts

This article seeks to list 18 “Don’t” when you train your dog. The reasons for the don’ts will become evident as the lessons continue and each one is based upon the distinctive psychology of the dog’s mind.

1. DON’T punish your dog while you are angry or lack control of yourself.

2. DON’T punish your dog with the lead or any instrument of training or anything he should associate with duty or pleasure.

3. DON’T sneak up on your dog or grab him from the rear.

4. DON’T chase your dog to catch him; he must come to you or run after you.

5. DON’T coax your dog to you and then turn upon him with the whip. You will regret the deception.

6. DON’T trick or fool or taunt your dog. It is cruel and inconsistent to tease your dog to come to you when he can not.

7. DON’T punish a dog by stepping on his paws needlessly. They are exceedingly sensitive. Don’t twist his ears playfully or otherwise. Never strike him on the backbone, in the face or on the ears.

8. DON’T grab your dog or reach for him quickly. He should never fear his master, should not be made nervous by his master, and should feel that punishment given is deserved.

9. DON’T nag your dog; don’t be giving orders to him constantly; don’t pester him with your shoutings.

10. DON’T praise a dog for doing a certain act, then at a later time, scold him for doing the same act. If you permit him to bite your toes today and think it fun, do not strike him for doing it tomorrow, when you are not in good humor. Consistency is a chief virtue in dog training.

11. DON’T train your dog immediately or soon after he has eaten.

12. DON’T lose patience with a puppy younger than six months. Never throw or kick a puppy nor lift him by the head or leg or skin of the neck.

13. DON’T train him in feats requiring much strength or endurance until he is at least six months old.

14. DON’T work your dog without some short rest or play periods during training. A five-minute rest for every fifteen minutes of training is desirable.

15. DON’T permit everyone to give commands to your dog. While you are training him, he must be a one-man dog, depending on you alone to feed him and care for him.

16. DON’T consider tricks the chief end or the chief part of training. Usefulness is the object sought in all instruction of the dog. Acts that spring naturally from the dog’s instincts are to be fostered.

17. DON’T expect your dog to be a wonderful dog after a few weeks of training; four months to a year may be necessary in order to make the master proud of him, but the work is worth the effort. Training never ends.

18. DON’T jump to the conclusion that your dog is dumb. He may differ with you believing that the trainer should know more than the dog.

To end, try to remember these 18 Don’ts rules, enjoy training your dog and most importantly have lots of fun along the way!

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Accessories You Need Before Bringing Puppy Home

Pet accessories are an important part of taking care of your dog. Generally we use accessories to accentuate the beauty of things. When it comes to pet care accessories are used to protect your pet from harmful elements.  You can also gain a lot of satisfaction from buying accessories for you pet. There is a wide variety to choose from and you might wonder where to start, particularly if this is your first pet.

Here are some tips on what to look for when choosing accessories for your pet:

1. Food and water bowls:

The most important thing about choosing good bowls is that they are not easily tipped over. You will probably want to check that especially the water bowl is pretty sturdy. It’s vital that your dog has free access to water at all times and one of the ways people are doing this is by buying large water systems for their pets. Much like human watering systems these will keep your dog with fresh water for longer.

2. Dog Collar:

Whether you want a plain or fancy variety – collars are important and will be an item you use daily. This means the comfort and fit are important. Experts recommend a space between the dog’s neck and the collar to be at least 2 fingers wide. A collar should never be too loose or too tight. Make sure you get a good fit and take your dog along when you buying a collar.

3. Dog leash:

It’s not hard to choose a leash – you just want to keep in mind that it needs to be strong enough to hold your dog. Leashes are often sold clearly marked with the breeds the leash is suitable for.

4. Grooming accessories:

Depending on the kind of breed you have the amount of grooming accessories needed will vary.

If you have a dog that will need relatively little grooming, that is with a short coat, then you will need only a basic toolkit.

You will need
– dog shampoo
– dog clippers
– styptic powder
– dog toothbrush
– dog toothpaste
– dog brush or comb

These are the basics. There are many other products you can use to keep your dog clean and fragrant. If you have a more high maintenance dog you will need these plus a wider variety of brushes and combs to care for your pets coat and grooming needs.

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5. Dog houses:

If your dog will be sleeping outside then it’s important that they have their own place for shelter. A dog house will keep your dog out of the harsh sunlight or rain or even snow. When choosing a dog house try to choose the right size. The dog should fit snuggly inside with enough space to move around.

6. Dog beds:

If your dog will be spending time inside it’s also a good idea to buy a dog bed. This gives your dog a ‘retreat’ and they will value having their own comfy space where they can go when cold or sleepy. Again just try to choose the right size. Many dog beds are designed for specific breeds so you won’t have a problem finding a bed for your dog.

7. Dog toys and treats:

Most dogs love playing, and just like children, love being spoilt. It is especially important if you are away for long periods of time that your dog has something to play with. It’s best to give them a variety of toys; this will keep them away from your slippers!

Again the most important thing is the size. Treats and toys should be size appropriate. If the toy is too big they won’t be able to play with it and it won’t be fun for anyone.

There is a wide variety of toys for you dog to chew, play and bite. Spend some time choosing some fun toys for your dog.

8. Dog Supplements

These may be considered mandatory for overall health and wellness. Not to mention if you’re a show dog owner, you need dog supplements to boost your dog’s status as a contender. See the supplements below for more information.

These are the most important accessories you will need for your dog. There are many more things you could buy your dog but by catering for the items on this list your dog should have everything he needs to be a healthy, happy dog.

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Four Types of Dog Foods: Finding The Best Chow For Your Hound

What to Look For in Dog Foods

We all love our dogs and want to give them the best life has to offer. But with so many variations of dog food in the market, it isn’t always easy to identify the best food for our dog. Who can possibly feel confident when so many brands trumpet buzzwords that hit the human aisles not long ago, such as “rich in antioxidants,” “highly digestible,” “Omega-3 fatty acids” and “Ultra Premium Formula”?

What we can do, though, is to conduct a simple dog food comparison to determine which foods best fit our dog’s requirements and our personal schedule. After all, some foods offer much greater convenience than the more natural, less processed types of food which may require freezing, thawing, cooking and preparation.

Convenience aside, the best food to give your dog depends not on the brand or the style, but rather on your dog’s age and any special requirements he might have. For example, older dogs require food containing a careful balance of protein, fat and fiber. Most commercial dog food companies address this need with offerings such as senior dog food, containing about 18 % protein, and food for dogs diagnosed with renal failure, containing about 14% protein.

Dry vs Wet

Dare to Compare Dry Dog Food

The vast majority of dog owners go for dry dog food. Between the supermarket and specialty pet stores, owners enjoy many brands to choose from. Dry dog food consists of kibble typically made from one primary ingredient such as chicken, beef or lamb. More specifically, the main ingredient is usually a meat byproduct that’s been processed, dried and sold in packs or bags for easy dispensing. Needless to say, meat byproducts are far cheaper than meat, so this type of dog food is not only easy to store, it’s much less expensive than other types.

Hard kibble comes with some advantages. For example, it gives your dog’s mouth some exercise, and kibble’s less likely to contribute to plaque than softer foods.

Comparing Brands

When comparing brands, it helps to remember that there are essentially two types of dry dog food on the market: premium dog food and economy dog food. A smart owner will avoid purchasing the economy food, which is made from lower grade ingredients (for example, economy dog food will often substitute cheap corn for the more expensive meat byproducts). The “end” result, as it were, is that your dog can’t absorb many nutrients but simply passes the food through his body. So in addition to enjoying less nutrition, your dog will produce larger stools — and you might find yourself with more frequent vet bills.

Other Popular Contenders: Canned, Semi-Moist and More

Other categories of dog food include the semi-moist type and canned food. Many owners like to mix in some canned food with dry food, to potentially cover more nutritional bases without taking too big a hit to the pocketbook.

Semi-moist food is attractively convenient to owners, and dogs love it. Unfortunately, it may cause dental problems in the mid-term and worse in the long term, because semi-moist food is loaded with corn syrup and other sugars, which dogs just aren’t designed to process.

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Premium Dog Food

Recently, more natural, “premium” dog food has been introduced to the market, in which higher quantities of quality, nutritious ingredients are used to manufacture the food — often human-grade, in fact. Since vegetables, fruits, real meat and quality grains are used as the primary protein source in the highest-quality dog foods, these foods are a fast route to healthy skin and beautiful fur. For the most part, they contain no artificial coloring and preservatives, but are chock-full of vitamins and minerals instead.

Although this food costs more, you can feed your dog less of it, because it’s more nutritionally dense. So in terms of both convenience and nutrition, a premium, natural dog food is one of the best choices available to your dog, whether off-the-shelf or purchased online.