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How to Train Your Puppy

 

Puppies are fast learners that require house training and proper socialization from the moment they can walk. Did you know that puppies as young as 7 to 8 weeks old can be taught simple commands? Although they don’t have the attention span to learn complicated instructions at that age, they can still understand one-word commands like “sit”, “down” and “stay.”

These sorts of commands are vital for the dog owner who wants to take their pup out on the town. Here are a few things you ought to know that will have you out enjoying life with your pooch in now time.

When Should You Train Your Puppy

The recommended age for starting a step-by-step training routine is around six months, but puppies can be taught good behavioral habits much sooner than that. Puppies are more adaptable earlier on because they quickly pick up on facial expressions and learn from experience by being exposed to different types of stimuli. It’s also the best time to correct problem behaviors before they become set in stone.

Remain Positive

At 7 to 8 weeks old, you can try some methods based on positive reinforcement and food lure training. To keep a puppy focused on commands such as “stand” or “go”, make sure you place a treat near its nose, only feeding it after you get the desired response. Also, compliment your puppy whenever it listens to the command to create a secondary positive association with food.

 

Leash and Crate Training for Your Puppy

There are many reasons why crate training can help you with your puppy: it makes potty training easier, allows you to transport your puppy, and helps teach them to look and listen to you. The key to crate training is to utilize your puppy’s curious nature and not make a big deal out of it.

Let your puppy explore the crate by placing its favorite toy inside – and don’t shut the door behind them. The goal is to make it a favorite location for your puppy so always associate it with a good experience for your dog. Crate training is a great first step for both the puppy and the dog owner in learning to communicate with each other.

As for leash training, you want to start in an enclosed area before you walk your puppy to a nearby dog park. To familiarize them with the leash, you can let the dog drag it around while you hold on at a clipped length. Many puppies are eager to explore and will pull on their leash. You can eliminate this behavior by making sure that you walk in front of your puppy; it emphasizes to them that you’re in charge and to defer to you.

How to Properly Socialize Your Puppy

You might want to consider a training program which gives your puppy the chance to interact with other dogs, possibly make new friends. Puppies 8-16 weeks old will benefit from socializing as it prevents them from picking up bad habits like excessive barking at facing something new. As a result, they can become less anxious about being handled and stay calm despite loud noises. The BarkHappy app is a fantastic way to meet up with other dogs and dog owners in a more relaxed setting as well.

You should start training your puppy as soon as possible if your goal is to have fun exploring the world with your furry friend. Puppies are just like children in many ways. They need to explore and discover new things to develop a healthy disposition. As long as you remain in control and positively reinforce their learning, your puppy will be ready to hit the town in no time.

 

Alex Briggs is a contributing author for VIP Pet Services.

Unusual Places that Welcome Dogs

Sharing adventures with your dog doesn’t have to mean the same old hiking trails, car rides or dog parks. The BarkHappy app gives you access to the dog-friendly world and makes it easy to plan a unique getaway. For those interested in mixing it up with some new experiences, here are some unusual places that welcome you and your four-legged companion.


Baseball Parks: Take your dog out to the ballgame and watch a major league baseball game. Many stadiums host a pet-night event for dogs. The PNC Park, located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, PA, is home to the famous Pittsburgh Pirates. It features Pup Nights, a popular local event where once or twice monthly, you and your dog can sit in the deck section and enjoy the game. Dog Package tickets are $35 and include one dog and one human. A portion of the proceeds goes to help local animal shelters. At the Safeco Field in Seattle, there are Bark in the Park nights where for $50, you can purchase a Dog Pack Ticket. It includes entry for you and your dog, a Mariners dog tag and a stroll around the bases. At the Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston, TX, pet owners can attend the annual Dog Day and watch the Astros play the Seattle Mariners.

Ride NY’s Fire Island Ferry and spend the day at the Sunken Forest: It’s a short hop on the Long Island ferry from the town of Sayville to Sailor’s Haven and the Sunken Forest. Seagoing dogs can enjoy the ocean views from the ferry’s top deck. There is a one-way child’s fare charge of $5.00 and dogs must be leashed. The Sunken Forest is part of Fire Island’s National Seashore that includes a 50-acre track of dunes, beaches and trails through an ancient holly forest, with trees as old as 300 years. Dogs can enjoy the 1 ½ mile hike along the boardwalk. There is also a visitor center, snack bar and picnic tables. While the Sunken Forest trails eventually lead to the ocean, between the months of March through Labor Day, dogs are not permitted on the beach at Sailor’s Haven. But for those who crave an ocean experience, grab a sea taxi to neighboring Cherry Grove, where dogs are welcome to romp on the beach all year round.

Get back to nature and take your dog whale-watching: Cape Cod, MA is known for its beautiful beaches and towering sand dunes. But it also offers whale-watching trips, some that welcome dogs. On the Dolphin Fleet in Provincetown, leashed dogs can enjoy the three to four-hour trip that exposes travelers to the beauty of the Outer Cape while viewing humpback, baleen, right whales and other marine life. Dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. Be sure to call ahead for available seating and bring along a water bowl.
Toast your best buddy on a trip to a winery: Dogs love the outdoors and open air, making California’s vineyards the perfect retreat. There are many that are pet-friendly. At the Alexander Valley Vineyards in Healdsburg, CA, visitors can attend the “AVV Going to the Dogs” event that benefits Sonoma County’s Animal Care and Control. Taste the wines while sharing a scenic walk with your dog through the vineyard. At Mutt Lynch Winery in Sonoma, a portion of every sale goes to help rescue groups. The vineyard hosts pet birthday parties and features a yappy hour. Starmont Vineyards features classic Napa wines while catering to their four-legged visitors with Frisbees, doggie biscuits and tennis balls.


Celebrate fall and take your dog apple picking: Sharing fall traditions with your fur baby is a good way to bond. A dog’s world is ruled by smell, and a walk through an apple orchard can produce an intoxicating blend of scents. NY’s Hudson Valley has many that are pet-friendly. Wright’s Apple Farm in Gardiner, NY sits on 500 acres where visitors can pick their own apples, pumpkins and cherries. Scenic Fishkill Farms at Hopewell Junction, NY is just 1 ½ hours north of New York City. There are nature trails, hay rides and pick-your-own fruits. One caveat: dogs must be leashed and well-behaved.

Spend a leisurely afternoon at an art gallery: Believe it or not, some, such as the William Second Gallery in NYC, will allow you to browse with a four-legged friend. This gallery specializes in original paintings of dogs from the 18th and 19th century as well as dog collectibles. For a starting fee of $7,000, you can even commission a painting of your own dog that will immortalize him forever. The A.T. Hun Gallery in Savannah, GA, welcomes four-legged patrons with water and a treat. This gallery features many pet-themed works of art. Check with your local art galleries for information on their pet policies.

When planning your day, be sure to use the BarkHappy app to connect to the dog-friendly world around you. It includes restaurants, bars, events, lodging, weekly meet-ups and more. Share your own finds with others through personal posts and photos on BarkHappy’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

5 Facts About Dogs You Didn’t Know

Raising a dog can be filled with discovery. Day-to-day interactions with our canine family members brings us joy and teaches about unconditional love. But there still may be a few mysteries – some facts about dogs you may not know.


Dogs like music depending on its type. Just as music influences our moods, it has similar effects on dogs. In a study done in Psychology Today, researchers found that heavy metal music incited more barking in shelter dogs. Classical music had a relaxing effect. An SPCA paper published in Scotland, found that many dogs seem to prefer soft rock or Reggae. Wind instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone or flute, tend to provoke howling. Check out Spotify’s Songs for Dog Therapy playlist. It is geared toward what dogs like and includes selections such as Fur Elise, Canon for Dogs and Dog Spa music.


A dog’s sweat glands are located in its paws. The sweat produced in the paws has a salty smell that has been compared to the scent of corn chips. On a very hot day, keeping a dog’s feet wet helps to cool them down. Because sweating through the paws has limited cooling capacity, dogs pant as a more efficient way of cooling off. Panting enables body heat to escape through the membranes of the throat, mouth and tongue.


Dogs can bond deeply with one person. A dog may see his favorite human as a pack leader, caregiver or best friend. Dogs can be drawn to someone’s demeanor, tone of voice, or way of moving. They can sense when they are loved and when they are being ignored. The bonds dogs form are based on trust and mutual respect and take time and attention to grow. Spending quality time with your dog in activities that are fun, helps to create a special closeness and emotional chemistry that can deepen the bond between you. The BarkHappy app gives you access to special places and events that you and your dog can share and enjoy together to help you form a closer bond.
A dog’s nose print is unique. While humans can be identified through their fingerprints, for dogs, a nose print is uniquely individual. A dog’s nose consists of small ridges and bumps that form distinct pattern groups and lines. In the past, paw prints were used for identification, but a nose ID is now considered to be more reliable.
Tail wagging doesn’t always mean happiness. While most of us associate tail wagging with a content dog, it can also be a signal that a dog is agitated, fearful or insecure. According to Psychology Today, dogs wag their tails as a social communication with the tail’s position and movement being the key to understanding its meaning. A tail held at middle height is a sign of relaxation. When the tail is held vertically, it’s a dominant signal. Lower positions are a sign of submissiveness, with the extreme being a tail tucked under the body. Dogs will move their tails rapidly at the sight of someone they know, and more slowing with strangers. If they are moving their tails strongly to the right, it indicates a positive interest and an excited state. A tail moving to the left is a sign of more negative emotions such as anxiety or aggression.

A dog’s nose print is unique. While humans can be identified through their fingerprints, for dogs, a nose print is uniquely individual. A dog’s nose consists of small ridges and bumps that form distinct pattern groups and lines. A nose ID is considered more reliable than a paw print.

Your dog ate WHAT? True stories of crazy things dogs have eaten

Whether they are motivated by curiosity, hunger or an insatiable need to chew, some dogs manage to swallow some bizarre and unusual things. In a recent poll, thousands of BarkHappy app users were asked to submit the strangest things their dogs have eaten. These canines have taken the art of eating to a whole new level.

Cement: “One of my past dogs ate a bag of wet cement! We rushed her to the vet and she got her stomach pumped, but thankfully she was okay. Jordan and Koda, Bellevue, WA

A floor tile: “Bo, being a Lab, eats a lot of random stuff he finds. The worst thing he has eaten was tile from the kitchen floor. He literally ripped it up and ate it. He pooped it out a day later and cried every time some came out. Guess that taught him to never eat tile again.” Caitlin, Philadelphia, PA

A poisonous spider: “Moony once ate a poisonous spider and went into anaphylactic shock. She was so sick she almost died. Thankfully she is just fine now, but she is one we have to watch carefully or she will not be long for this world. (She’s not the brightest.)” Sara, Seattle, WA

The couch: “My name is Diana. Our dogs are Bentley, Annabelle, and Joey. Annabelle is the couch eater.”Diana, Tulare, CA

Toilet paper: “He “accidentally” eats rolls of toilet paper and paper towels all the time.  He’s not sure how it happens.  One moment the toilet paper roll is sitting there, minding its business, perfectly intact, and the next minute, it’s blown to smithereens all over the room.  Dangerous stuff.” Jackie and Rango, Philadelphia, PA

Hot sauce: “My dog got into some of our hot sauce and would not stop hiccupping for a couple of hours. He stays away from any red sauce now (sometimes).” Gabi and Riker, Las Vegas NV

Books: “Oswin loves to eat books. I think it was something about the binding glue that he found particularly enticing. He’s definitely stopped doing it as much, but as a puppy he was quite the connoisseur of book spines.” Kara, Albuquerque, NM

A ceramic snowman: “When my dog was a puppy, about 5 months old, she got a hold of a ceramic snowman. My grandmother made a lot of ceramics when she was still alive and I was lucky enough to inherit a lot of her ceramic works. I had this snowman out on a side table as a Christmas decoration. I woke up to find a trail of ceramic pieces from my room to the living room and Frosty’s still intact face under the table he once stood on. I was really upset when it happened, but I look back and am able to laugh about it now.” Lindsey, Milwaukee, WI

An entire pizza:  “We once left a pizza box on the counter pushed all the way against the wall. It was at least a foot away from the edge. She was a 4-month-old Lab. When we came back from sports practice, we found the box empty on the kitchen floor.” Melissa and Midknight, San Diego, CA

Butter: “Kiba stole the plastic butter container off the counter and opened it, leaving two barely-there teeth marks in it and ate all the butter. He doesn’t even steal steak off the counter, but if we leave butter up there he thinks it’s fair game.” Erica and Kiba

Figurines: “My dog is a 13-month chocolate Lab, so anything is pretty much game for her to eat… but the worst was a couple of porcelain figurines I had on a side table. Actually I think (or hope) she just exploded them and left pieces for me to pick up. “Shirley and Sky

ChapStick:  “For whatever reason, my dog loves ChapStick. I give him the best treats and food but if he finds ChapStick he’ll eat it.” Ashley, Watertown, PA

Tin foil: “We mistakenly left a sheet of tin foil with salmon skin on it on the stove top when we left to get dessert, and when we came back it was reduced to tiny scraps. Her poop shined for a whole week.” Lauren and Coda, Denver, CO

Crawfish: “My dog ate three whole cooked crawfish. Luckily they passed and she was fine, but I bet those pinchers didn’t feel too good coming out.” Rebecca and Korra, Houston, TX

Legos: “Legos, either dog it doesn’t matter. They like plastic. The grandkid’s left them out and the dogs were bored.”Julie, Oliver and Brutus, Orangevale, CA

Glitter: “Years ago I had a beagle named Humphrey.  He was always very interested in arts and crafts and liked to “help”. One day he stole a container of glitter and ate most of it. He had sparkling poop for a week.”Christine, O’Fallon, MO

A set of false teeth: “We jokingly call my dog “the goat”. If given the chance, he will anything. My parents visited for a weekend, and my dad has false teeth. At night, he took his teeth out and put them on the side table. My dog knocked them off the table and proceeded to eat them. The only thing left behind was a few pearly whites on the floor.  Luckily we were able to get his false teeth replaced fairly quick.”Christina and Gremlin, aka The Goat

A container of hot chocolate mix: “My first reaction was to worry, but after some ingredient reading and internet research, hot chocolate mix won’t kill your dog….Cleaning up the poop for the next 3 days on the other hand might have a negative impact on you. “Will and Napa

Tinsel: “My dog ate a small box of Christmas tinsel. The next day it looked like he had a “Christmas ornament” hanging from his backside!”Melissa and Maynard, Pflugerville, TX

Leather car seats: “Our dog Roger has not eaten as many crazy things as our dog Pema, but he has still eaten some weird things. One weird thing he has eaten is the leather seats of our car. Almost every time we have left him in the car alone he often takes a couple bites. We once left him in the car with Pema for about 10 minutes and we came back but the seats were torn apart. Naughty Roger!!!!” Haven and Roger, Boulder, CO

Money: “$23 in cash.” Charlotte and Piper, Santee, CA

Furniture cushions: “Once when he was mad that we had left, he unzipped a couch cushion and ate a few big bites of the foam.  There was a huge mess but I didn’t know he had actually swallowed anything until the next morning when a huge chunk of perfectly intact foam came out in his poop!”Katie and Puzzles, Austin, TX

A bee: “Pal tried to eat a bee…yes, a bumblebee! He seemed fine after the initial pain of the sting, but a little while later he began howling in pain and we soon found out that the stinger was still stuck in his tongue!” Allie and Pal

 

Has your dog eaten something strange or unusual? Post a comment on BarkHappy’s Facebook page to let us know what it was or share a revealing picture of your guilty dog caught in the act on Instagram with #barkhappy. Be sure to follow @BarkHappy to celebrate life with dogs.

The 7 Best Dog Friendly Restaurants in Austin for Brunch

What do you and your dog have in common? You both love food! And Austin has some of the most dog-friendly restaurant options of any city.

It’s Sunday morning. You take your dog for a long walk or a playdate at the park. Afterwards, you want what any Austinite wants late Sunday morning: some doggone brunch. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in Austin to enjoy a taco and some eggs with your dog in tow.

The Park on South Lamar

With made from scratch food The Park is not your average sports bar, plus it’s dog friendly! Featuring a full Covered dog friendly patio protected from rain you can watch your favorite football game every Sunday without leaving your best friend at home. 5/5 Bones from Bark Happy users for their food, water bowls and covered patio.

Red’s Porch
From 11-3 on South Lamar, head to Red’s Porch for an awesome brunch of chicken and waffles, Tex-Mex omelets, brisket hash and other Texas-style plates. Your dog can enjoy the huge dog friendly porch and Bark Happy water bowls are provided! 5/5 Bones by BarkHappy users.

Bouldin Creek
Alright, so they technically serve breakfast instead of brunch, but if you’re eating vegetarian, Bouldin Creek is your new favorite Sunday morning spot. The eggs are grass fed and free range. The tofu is organic and locally made. The breakfast is delicious and the space is ultra dog friendly. 5/5 Bones by BarkHappy users.

Bangers
With plenty of space out back and sausage treats for your dog, Bangers on Rainey St. is a great place to relax and indulge on a Sunday morning. You can’t go wrong with anything from the brunch menu (served every Sunday, 12-3), but whatever you do, make sure to add a Lolo’s Grapefruit Brulee: Half a grapefruit sprinkled w/ sugar & blasted with a blowtorch. 5/5 Bones by BarkHappy users.

Licha’s Cantina
If you’re in the downtown area, you can take Fido to Licha’s which offers covered seating and water bowls on the patio. We recommend the Salmon Ahumado (Gravlax, guacamole, goat cheese, cucumber salad, crispy capers, served with toasted bolillo) and the Licha’s Torta (Bolillo bread, cochinita pibil, ham, pickled red onions, ancho-dijon, queso asadero – pressed on the plancha). Sunday brunch is served 11-3. View their brunch drink menu here > http://lichascantina.com/#menu-item-3025. 5/5 Bones by BarkHappy users.

Chinatown
At the West Lake Hills location, Dim Sum Sunday brunch is from 11-2:30. We seriously suggest the coffee glazed baby back ribs. Your pup can relax with you on the porch. Water bowls provided! 4/5 bones by BarkHappy users.

Lambert’s Downtown BBQ
Every Texan knows the importance of barbeque. Why not have it for brunch? Especially when you can bring your dog! We recommend the Breakfast Frito Pie (Chopped Beef, Queso, Chèvre, Pico de Gallo, Poached Egg) or the Brioche French Toast (Strawberry Butter, Fresh Berries, Maplite Syrup). 4/5 bones by BarkHappy users.

Do you and your dog have a favorite restaurant spot? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook!

Make your dog a BarkHappy Ambassador for your city!

We are now taking applications for you and your dog to become BarkHappy Ambassadors for your city!  For those of you who love using the app, want to get more involved and get some great benefits see below! We will only pick a couple for each city to join the BarkHappy Ambassador Program.

Every Local Ambassador Gets:
– Ability to create public events in the app (no longer just private) to host public meetups anytime
FREE tickets/admission to any BarkHappy events nationwide
– BarkHappy Swag for you and your dog ( like Shirts, Bandanas etc)
– Featured on the BarkHappy Instagram
– First access to future versions and builds of BarkHappy before others

To Be Considered:
– have at least 25 Wags or more in the app
– have at least 10 Pack Friends or more
– use the app regularly and follow us on Instagram and Facebook
– have a sweet/friendly BarkHappy pup

TO APPLY: Email us at INFO@BARKHAPPY.COM  with your Name, City, and a screenshot of your dog’s BarkHappy Profile.
Please put “Ambassador Program” in the subject line.

APPLY NOW

NOTE: If you dont think you qualify yet, no worries! You can always get more activity in the app and apply again later. Remember the best way to get more wags is to send them- you’ll get to know other users to add them to your pack