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Do Dogs Really Feel Guilty in those Photos?

Guilty Dog or Not?

by Ballparx-cc4
Guilty Dog by Ballparx-cc4

There’s always a guilty dog photo appearing on my timeline somewhere and I started wondering if dogs do actually feel guilty or are we imposing human emotions where they simply don’t exist.

Have a little look at Psychology Today’s take on it and how a dog called Marla helped explain what is really going on. It’s worth reading right to the end.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/canine-corner/201407/do-dogs-really-feel-shame-and-guilt

If you are up for a little extra info another Psychology Today article also discusses which emotions dogs do feel. There’s a great image in the article that summarises nicely.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/canine-corner/201303/which-emotions-do-dogs-actually-experience

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Human treats: are they suitable for dogs?

Everyone likes a treat and dogs are no exception! Unlike cats, who are usually able to naturally curb their appetite, dogs are well-known to be quite happy to enjoy a snack wherever they can find one. Obviously a key consideration for owners is whether their pet’s snacking is harming their health. Here we take a look at the various foods out there which are commonly used as dog snacks and assess whether they are a suitable addition to a healthy, balanced diet. In addition, we also consider snacks which might not only be unhealthy but may even make your pet ill! Some of the foodstuffs which are toxic to dogs may well surprise you!

Raw meat

Quite a few owners are eager to feed their pet dogs raw meat, largely on the basis that it’s a natural form of food and very close to what canine ancestors would have eaten in the wild. Although dogs are able to digest raw meat, it’s not necessarily good for them. Raw meat can contain high levels of bacteria, including listeria and salmonella. Low-grade meat may also contain parasites that could make your pet ill. For these reasons, raw meat should normally be avoided.

Leftovers

Some leftovers can be a nutritious treat for your dog, particularly if it’s simply well-cooked, plain meat that’s fresh. Unfortunately, most of the time leftovers contain ingredients which are dangerous for dogs to ingest. The following ingredients are all toxic to canines:

– Chocolate
– Alcohol
– Onions, chives, other members of the allium family
– Caffeine
– Milk
– Blue cheese
– Xylitol
– Corn-on-the-cob

From intestinal blockages through to liver damage and diarrhoea, ingesting any of the above can cause a whole host of problems. Not only should these foods not be given directly, any food given to pets must be checked to ensure they don’t contain any of the above substances.

Wheat-based products

Most dogs can tolerate wheat well, so eating wheat occasionally will usually not do your dog any harm. That said, it’s important to remember that wheat is relatively low in protein and contains few nutrients in comparison with other foodstuffs. What’s more, it’s also a calorie-dense food. Dogs that are fed with a wheat-rich diet may end up getting more calories than they need, without the protein required to boost satiety. Given that dogs can be quite greedy anyway, wheat-based snacks may lead to obesity and all the problems which that can bring. If you’re going to give your dog a snack, it’s important to choose one which provides nutrition as well as a pleasant taste.

Vegetables

Vegetables are a great option for a dog snack: packed full of vitamins and also a source of fibre, a Brussel sprout or carrot can be an ideal choice. The problem for many dog owners is to try and get their dogs to enjoy the taste. Just like humans, dogs can be reluctant to eat a vegetable on its own: most of the time they prefer a snack that combines vegetables with meat in order to create a flavoursome morsel. If you want your dog to enjoy the nutritional benefits of vegetables at the same time as enjoying the taste and protein which meat can bring, some of our snacks could be the perfect solution.

Just meat, vegetables and gravy

A banquet for dogs in snack form, our wheat-free treats bring together ingredients which are genuinely good for your dog, at the same time as packing in the flavour to ensure the snack you offer really is a treat. Freshly prepared without artificial flavourings or colourings, each snack provides a powerful shot of exciting taste, at the same time as containing optimal nutrition and absolutely none of the items on the “toxic” list. Low in calories, these treats are a great snack for a dog that’s trying to lose weight, or for dogs of a healthy weight who want to stay that way!

As a general rule, we recommend giving your dog what may well be the best healthy dog treats on the market. They have been specifically formulated to provide an optimal taste and nutritional experience, at the same time as offering a healthy alternative. Using the right treats, it’s possible to show you care at the same time as helping to conserve your dog’s health and vitality.

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Overweight dog? What to do?

big boy

Overweight dog? What to do?

With studies suggesting that around one-third of UK dogs are overweight, it’s clear that greater attention to canine diet is vital. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from all sorts of health problems due to excess pounds. Sore joints, fatigue, Type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, skin disease and liver problems in dogs can all be caused or made worse by being overweight. No pet owner would want their dogs to end up with one or more of these unpleasant diseases: sadly, with the dog population getting fatter, a rise in these ailments is almost inevitable.

Life is no fun for an overweight dog

As well as the increased risk of disease, dogs also experience a reduced quality of life when they are obese. Walks become less fun; dogs may find it difficult to find a comfortable position in which to rest, due to an unwanted spare tyre and too much of the wrong sort of food can also cause digestive problems. Stomach aches, wind, flatulence, constipation or diarrhoea are also common and skin can become itchy or dry, which is uncomfortable and can lead to excessive scratching. The scratching, in turn, can lead to further skin issues.

Why do dogs become overweight?

Again, the answer to this question is very much the same as the reasons that humans become overweight: not only do they get given too much food to eat, they also get given the wrong sort of food to eat. Like humans, dogs are drawn to calorie-dense foods and will happily eat as much as you give them! Giving dogs human food, sharing snacks or providing high-calorie rewards for good behaviour can all mean that your dog ends up with far more calories than they actually need. Paradoxically, many overweight dogs are also malnourished, as their nutrition quality is poor, consisting of too many empty calories rather than good, solid nutrition.

What can I do if my dog is overweight?

Clearly, if your dog is overweight, the first thing to do is to establish why. Although in most cases canine obesity is simply down to diet, it’s worth getting your pet checked over by a vet to make sure there aren’t any underlying issues. If it’s clear that the main reason for the excess weight is too much food, placing your dog on a nutritious, low-calorie diet is the next step. Choosing a good grain-free food with healthy ingredients (always check out the ingredients before buying!) may the best way to help your dog lose weight. Alternatively, simply reducing the amount your dog is given to eat may be enough to encourage weight loss.

Treats for dogs on a diet

Although dogs absolutely do not need treats in order to be happy and healthy, many owners can’t resist treating their pet now and then. Treats can also be helpful in reinforcing good behaviour. A healthy choice for dogs on a diet is a wheat-free treat. Made from high-quality ingredients which haven’t been “bulked out” with wheat, wheat-free treats contain just a few premium ingredients such as meat, gravy and potatoes. These foods contain valuable nutrients, ensuring your dog ends up with a treat that actually does them good, rather than simply being empty calories. Highly palatable, wheat-free treats are also gentle on the stomach – a real advantage for older or less well dogs. The treats are also small ones! This means that one or two a day won’t add significantly to daily calorie intake, helping your dog to win the inch-loss war! If you want a tasty, nutrient dense snack that adds value to a dog’s diet, wheat-free treats can work really well.

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Why play is good for your dog

Why play is good for your dog

Playing with your dog has many benefits when it comes to teaching them social skills, improving their behaviour and building the bond between the two of you. It can keep their mind occupied, which prevents boredom and gives them an outlet to release their natural instincts. Many behavioural experts advocate the use of play in helping to manage unwanted behaviours in dogs, such as lunging, chewing or barking. Fitting in a short play session every day can really make a positive impact on the behaviour of your dog.

Learning through Play

We know that children learn through play, but have you ever considered how your dog is learning through its playtime? Play can be an important tool for dogs to learn how to interact with us and for us to enforce our rules. When they engage in play it is safe for dogs to push the boundaries a little, they might, for instance, play a little more roughly than usual. By doing this they can take cues from us as to what behaviour is acceptable and how we can resolve conflict should it arise. During play, your dog is in a more heightened state of arousal, this means that any corrective techniques you use will have more impact. By allowing your dog to push those boundaries you can quickly correct the behaviour and show them how you expect them to behave in a way that will stick with your dog.

Great for Anxiety or Boredom

Play can also be beneficial for dogs that show signs of anxiety or boredom. Playing can help to stimulate the brain, indeed, studies have shown that it can trigger reward centres in the brain that make us feel happy. Play can give dogs a physical and mental outlet, which can help alleviate boredom as well as keep your dog’s weight under control. Remember that dogs do have natural survival instincts and that constantly suppressing these can make then unhappy or anxious. They need to practice their survival skills in order to feel safe. Skills such as chasing prey would be essential if your dog was living in the wild and so it can help them feel more secure in their ability to survive if you let them practice these techniques. This can help reduce anxiety and help your dog feel much happier.

Some Dogs Need to be Taught to Play

Despite the benefits, many owners feel that their dog is just not interested in play. They might head to the field ball in hand, excited at the prospect of a game of fetch with their loyal pal only to end up having to fetch the ball themselves while their dog looks on. At that point, they might assume that their dog just isn’t playful and just give up. Most dogs do want to play, however, they just need to be taught.

Teaching a dog to play can be a challenge, especially if they are an older dog who hasn’t experienced any form of play in their youth, but it is well worth the effort. The first step is to experiment with some toys to see if any interest your dog. The ultimate aim should be for them to want the toy so much that they will engage in a tug of war style play with you. One way to really get them interested is to have a toy that can hold some food, such as grain free dog treats, this usually gets their attention, although you will need to exercise caution if your dog is food aggressive in any way. You can pick up toys that can be stuffed with treats or you could just use an old sock and place the treats inside. If you do manage to get them to engage with you and the toy remember to verbally praise them during and after the play session. They should get the message quickly enough that play is a positive thing.

Remember when offering treats to your dog, you should always try and make them healthy. You can find grain free dog treats UK dog owners can rely on at Bounce and Bella.

Photo: I'm Ready by the-specious licensed under Creative commons 4
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Start training your puppy at an early age if you want a well-behaved pet

Start training your puppy at an early age if you want a well-behaved pet

Dogs can make the most fantastic pets for families, couples and singletons. However, your wriggling, bundle of fun puppy soon grows into adulthood and training your pet is an important aspect of dog ownership that should not really be neglected. Teaching your puppy ground rules in the home and letting him recognise that good behaviour is an expectation at home and outside will help you achieve far more enjoyment from owning a dog and ensures trust is built up between you.

Reasons to train your dog

Dogs can be disruptive and boisterous in the home and outside if they’re not disciplined from an early age. They need to understand their place in the household as they are pack animals and can begin to think of themselves as “pack” leader of the entire family. This can cause problems, particularly if you have younger children or vulnerable people in the home.

Teaching your dog not to jump up or steal or beg for food are important training tasks that you can start from the day your new pup enters the home. Barking, mounting, jumping on furniture, destroying toys, pawing and mouthing are also undesirable behaviours for dogs, so kicking off your puppy training by establishing rules in the home is a good way to ensure your pup develops manners and discipline.

Socialisation skills

Socialisation is important for pups. Whether with other dogs and pets or with humans. And, enrolling your puppy in a reputable training school is one way to ensure good behaviour. You won’t be able to take your dog to classes until he’s had all his vaccinations, but you can get in touch with the instructor beforehand and pick up some useful training tips to follow in the meantime.

Puppy socialisation is recommended by the Kennel Club, and should be carried out by both breeders and new owners. It can help puppies settle better in their new home and should be carried out until your dog is at least 16 weeks old. You can source a socialisation plan direct on the Kennel Club website if you want to learn more.

Socialisation planning helps ensure your pup receives important learning at the most critical development phases in his life. It includes common household noises and going out to meet other dogs and new people. Socialising your pup from this early age helps ensure he interacts well with other dogs and people, both in the home and when you’re out and about.

Dog training classes

You can start training your pup from a very young age, but won’t be able to take him to regular dog training classes until he’s had all his vaccinations. You should display continual patience with your pup, although he’s eager to learn and wants to please you, he won’t pick up all the essential skills straight away.

Going to recognised training classes can help your dog even more with socialisation and he can also learn from the other dogs. Some of the behaviour learnt at classes includes walking on the lead and to heel, responding to his name and coming back when called, sitting on command and learning to stay in one place when told to do so.

Good quality dog treats can be ideal positive reinforcements to help your dog learn and are used to treat good behaviour and learning of commands. You do need to ensure the treats offered are suitable for your pup, however, as some treats are not recommended until adult teeth are in place.

Continuing to reinforce lessons and training commands in the home and while out and about is much easier when you utilise positive reinforcement techniques. And, you’ll be amazed by the speed your young dog learns, when he knows a tasty treat reward could be the likely outcome!

A well-behaved dog will give you hours of enjoyment and fun, so establishing good behaviour and putting the ground rules in place while your puppy is young is important. Check out more useful positive reinforcement dog training tips on the Bounce and Bella blog. We supply a variety of tasty dog treats, including grain-free treats and treats with added vitamins or Omega supplements. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to find out more about the reasons our healthy treats are the ideal training solution for your dog.

Photo: Yellow dog by molajen licensed under Creative commons 4
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Is clicker training the best way to train your dog?

Is clicker training the best way to train your dog?

Dog training is an important part of pet ownership. It’s what you need to do to make sure your dog is well behaved and doesn’t get involved in unsafe mischief.

It’s also a great way to bond with your pet – and ensure that they always respond to your call.

But with so many different ways of training about – how do you know which is the best, and safest way to train your dog?

For some of you, clicker training could be the solution you’ve been searching for. To find out if it’s right for you, we’ve created this guide of what it is, the pros and cons and how to get the best from your training.

So, what does a dog clicker do?

A dog clicker does what it sounds like. It clicks.

But that’s not what dog clicker training is about. The clicker itself doesn’t affect the dog – it’s just used as a signal.

The whole training concept is a lot simpler than it appears.

First, your dog does something good. Second, you click the clicker. Third, you give your dog a treat.

What this does is get your dog to understand their own behaviour. They’ll start to learn that certain actions that they do mean they get rewarded. And, because they want more rewards, they’ll keep searching and trying to do the same action over and over again.

The clicker signals to your dog that they’re about to receive a treat – and is a quick affirmation that their last action was a good one. It helps drive home these lessons and forms a cognitive link that the treat they’re getting is because of something they did right.

Does it need to be a clicker sound?

Clicker training works on the fundamental method that good behaviour is recognised and rewarded.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the clicker needs to be the signal you use on your dogs.

The signal can be any number of things instead. It could even be your voice, telling them simple praises like “yes”, “good boy” or “good girl”.

But, when it comes to training your dog – consistency is key. If you choose to use something else, you need to use it all the time in your training. This way, your dog can quickly and easily recognise their good behaviour – making their training as easy as possible.

If you use voice commands or other signals, this can easily get confusing and will be difficult if your partner or family member needs to reward your dog as well.

So, a clicker makes things easier and consistent. It can also be used by anyone and isn’t a sound that is replicated easily, so your dog won’t get cues from the wrong sources.

Choosing the best treats as rewards

You want to reward the right behaviours for your dog. That doesn’t mean you want to be giving them bad, unhealthy treats that will damage their well being.

You want the best for your dog. That means that you need the best treats available when training – giving them something they’ll love and will help take care of them.

Looking for the best dog treats for dogs?

We understand what you’re looking for. That’s why we’ve specially developed our own brand of dog training treats.

Incredibly high quality, our treats are made from freshly prepared chicken, pure duck and turkey meat, potatoes and gravy. All, delicious and nutritionally selected ingredients that your dog won’t be able to get enough of. All, for a price that won’t break the bank.

They’re also packed full of nutrients and vitamins that your furry friend needs. This includes vitamin e and omega 3 6 9 for dogs, which helps their muscles and circulatory system perform at their best. It also helps your dogs heal from any injuries and keep their coats shiny, healthy and free from any harmful conditions.

We have safe puppy treats for training as well as treats for dogs who are on diets. What’s more, they’re completely grain free dog treats. This is incredibly important as dogs can’t fully ingest grain, keeping your dog happier and healthier.

Ready to start your clicker training with nutritional, healthy treats your dog will love? Buy our dog training treats today.

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4 Reasons Your Dog NEEDS toys

Why Your Dog Needs Their Toys…

Exercise

Wolves and early dogs tracked prey for many miles.
But today our pets lie around for much of the day.
Dogs need toys that help raise their heartbeat and get them out of breath.
Balls to chase or battling over tug toys can really get your dog panting.

Dental Health

Poor dental health can lead to needless pain later in a dog’s life.
Chewing helps prevent tartar buildup and gum disease.
Rope toys are especially good for rubbing gums and preventing disease.
Dental chew toys are ideal for getting between teeth.

Part of the Pack

The pack is everything to your dog and knowing their place is essential.
For good mental health they need to know they are a valued member of your group.
Playing with them regularly helps them know their place and feel part of the pack.
Initiate play with tug toys or rope balls.

Prevent Boredom Chewing

Boredom chewing has led to the ruin of many a good shoe.
Treat dispensers filled with treats are a perfect distraction.
Make some treats trickier to reach so your dog plays longer.
Be sure to buy healthy treats, don’t fill your dog with junk!

For toys your dog will love visit Bounce and Bella Toys

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The healthy use of treats to train your dog

We all want to help our dogs to be the best furry friend they can be, which usually means undergoing a period of training at some stage during their life. Training with treats is one of the most commonly accepted methods of teaching a dog, whether it be a puppy or an older dog. The positive reinforcement created by using treats allows a dog to associate the desired behaviour with a reward, creating a Pavlovian response that manifests in a learned behaviour. Treats also help to develop a great bond between dog and trainer, especially when the trainer is also the owner!

However, what often gets overlooked is the importance of using treats healthily in the training process. Good nutrition is crucial to general canine wellbeing and the longevity of a dog’s life. Check out the tips below to see what you can do to ensure your dog is getting the best training with treats possible:

Tips and advice for healthy treat training

1. Use a proportional reward. A dog learning a new behaviour for the first time deserves a bigger reward than a dog sitting on command for the 20th time. Smaller treats are perfect, as they can be more easily tailored for this purpose. At Bounce & Bella, our treats are practically sized to help prevent over-feeding.

2. Make them earn it. Rewarding a dog when their behaviour isn’t quite right is not only unhelpful for training, it creates an expectation for treats that can lead to overeating. Whilst the pups may be quite happy with this arrangement in the short-term, long-term it is not good for the dog or the trainer.

3. Quality is key. Many dog treats do not contain a good nutritional balance. This is acceptable occasionally, but when treats are given out on the scale that training can require, the consequences can get serious when the ingredients aren’t right. Bounce & Bella treats are made with a blend of 80% freshly produced poultry and 20% potatoes and chicken gravy – that’s it!

4. Use grain-free treats. Grain-free treats aren’t unnecessarily bulked up – your dog is only getting the best nutrients without any of the unhealthy clutter! Dogs are unable to fully digest grain, leading to a number of undesirable health effects including weight gain. Grain-free treats keep your dog fuller for longer, preventing over-eating. Other benefits can include a healthier coat, reduced stool size and less shedding – switching to grain-free is a no-brainer!

4. Try to be consistent with the type of treats you give your dog. Sometimes we can’t resist those big eyes, and a scrap of leftovers or a spare ingredient makes its way to our furry friends. Whilst this is fine on occasion, it’s important to remember not to allow this to become a habit during the training process. Keep the nutrition balanced and both dog and trainer will win.

5. Had a busy day? Have a lighter dinner! If your dog has been working hard all day learning new behaviours, chances are they’ve had a lot of well-deserved treats in the process. Balance that out by reducing the portion size of their next meal, to ensure a healthy weight is maintained.

6. Keep hydrated. As with humans, keeping the fluids coming is really important for dogs. Water not only hydrates a dog but aids with the digestion of all those treats. The water should always be clean, so make sure it is changed daily and give that bowl a rinse out every now and then.

7. Finally, don’t force it. If your dog has clearly had enough and is just looking for more treats rather than working on the training, it’s time to call it a day. Being stubborn can be normal for a dog in training, but it’s something a trainer themselves should avoid! If a dog is no longer motivated, they risk losing the positive reinforcement of training with treats.

Given the sheer volume of treats often required throughout the process, it’s clearly vital that a dog’s health is taken into account when choosing the type of treats to use. Thankfully, Bounce & Bella’s, small grain-free treats are perfect for dogs aged 16 weeks and over, once their adult teeth have developed.

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Signs that your dog is suffering from a food allergy

Signs that your dog is suffering from a food allergy

It’s horrible to see your pooch miserable. It’s even worse when an upset stomach is plaguing them for no apparent reason. Recurring symptoms of diarrhoea, scratching and ear infections no matter how common they are, is not normal and is a sure sign that something isn’t quite right.

If you’ve taken your beloved fur baby to the vets and have gotten the all-clear for any nasty parasites, you’ll want to start checking Fido for a food allergy.

That’s right – food allergies are just as rife in dogs as they are in humans with the most common allergies being beef, dairy and wheat – all though, this is not exclusive.

So, what should you look out for if you suspect your dog of having a food allergy?

1. Gastrointestinal problems

Vomiting and diarrhoea are a sure sign that body is rejecting something. Due to your dog’s inquisitive nature, it is not unlikely that he will get V&D at some point in their life from something they have eaten that they shouldn’t have! However, if the vomiting and diarrhoea is becoming an ongoing problem, it may be a sign that they are rejecting the over-invading protein.

2. Itching and scratching

Food allergies tend to affect your dog’s skin. If Fido continues to eat a diet where an allergic-response was caused, he will start to form a hyposensitivity to it which will most commonly manifest in their skin causing irritation. No matter how many doses or Benadryl or Claritin your fur baby is given, if an allergy is present, the symptoms will continue.

3. Recurrent ear infections

More than 2 or 3 ear infections a year can be another telltale sign that Fido is suffering from an allergy. Although yeast infections and “swimmers ear” tend to be common in dogs, causing similar symptoms, it is the frequency of ear infections that may suggest an underlying allergy. Be sure to look out for any build-up inside the ear, any smells excreting from the ear, or if poor Fido is shaking and scratching the ear on a regular basis.

4. A change in nail beds

It can be difficult to check, depending on what breed of dog and what colour coat they have, but a red or brown colour of Fido’s nail beds is another sign of an inflammatory response. Your dog’s nails should be white with a hint of pink, so if your dog’s nails are a bloody red colour, a bronzed colour, or they are appearing to lick the area often, and it is not caused by some sort of food trauma, then it’s time to start the elimination process.

5. Redness or browning around the lips

If your dog’s coat is white, then this will be a lot more obvious for you to see. A yeast colonisation, triggered by a food allergy, will cause pink or red inflamed lips and jowls. After you have ruled out any yeast infections, it’s time to seriously consider the possibility of an allergy.

What to do?

So, what next? Once you’ve ruled out other possibilities or infections for the ongoing symptoms with the help of your veterinarian, it’s time to start an elimination diet. This is the only sure-fire way to diagnose a food allergy accurately.

Contrary to popular belief, putting Fido on rice and cooked chicken to allow their stomachs to heal is not a good move. The chicken can be too rich for their bodies to process and you never know, chicken could be the culprit.

Try moving Fido on a grain free diet, using grain free treats to subsidise their meals, and putting him on food he’s never had before to give him some time to improve. To help speed up the recovery process, you may want to consider some probiotics for dogs and vitamin e and omega 3 6 9 for dogs. Once you’ve given your dog some time to recuperate and see the symptoms reduce, it’s important to start reintroducing the old suspicious foods one at a time. This does take some time, as a triggered reaction can take from a few days to a few weeks so be sure to be patient, and prepare for a slightly lengthy process.

Having a dog with a suspected food allergy can seem like the most frustrating thing, and it can be incredibly upsetting to see them unwell. But rest assured, that once the culprit of the food allergy is found, it is all plain sailing from there on out!

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