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Pet Bucket Blog

December 2012

How to Crate Train Your Puppy

 by amanda on 28 Dec 2012 |
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Crate training your puppy is a great way to develop a bond with your puppy, provide them with their own "space" and to keep your pet safe. It's just a coincidental  bonus that crate training also has a way of keeping your belongings safe from curious puppy teeth.   I suspect you already know all of that though, which is why you're here on PetBucket, getting to know the process, so you can have an easier time training your puppy to enjoy his or her new kennel.   The process itself, is really simple. Most of it is about persistence and patience.    You're puppy is still new to the world, and still learning all the rules of his or her new home. To them, the rules are numerous, confusing and sometimes really boring. So it's important that you keep a regular schedule when you through kennel training into the mix, and it's especially important that you stay patient throughout the process.   To get started, you first need to decide when your pup will be in their crate. Will it be only at night? Will there be some times during the day when they will need to be in their kennel? Or will the crate just be there for occasional use?   Once you decide on a schedule, it's simply a matter of sticking to it.   The rest of your training sessions will depend on the temperament of your puppy, and the types of challenges that temperament that might come up.   Most of the time, the greatest challenges are getting your puppy to willingly enter the kennel on their own, and getting them to stay quiet while they are in their crates.    If your puppy is pretty laid back and trusting, then crate training will be a breeze, with few needs for "training tips". On the other hand, if your pup is either very anxious or very headstrong, you will want to consider what sort of high value rewards you will use to help encourage your puppy to climb into their kennel without a big fuss.     I have found that meaty treats are the best to start out with if your puppy is only a little resistant to going into their new kennel. Alternatively, if you have a stubborn young friend, then you might try feeding them their meals inside the kennel. This will help them associate their kennel as a good place to be when you put them in there.   On the issue of keeping quiet in the kennel, the best trick I know of, is to make sure you have a thick blanket you can place over the kennel. Most puppies have a hard time staying quiet in a kennel at first, and often times even after they are used to being in a kennel. By placing a blanket over the crate, you are communicating your canine friend, that it is time to relax and be quite.   Outside of the above guidance, the only thing left to keep in mind over the next few weeks of crate training, is that you should never use your puppy's kennel as a disciplinary tool while you are training them. If they misbehave in someway or need to be corralled, place them in a bathroom, backyard or bedroom. You can use the crate for these things later on after they have made it through the training days, though you want to wait at least a good 4 or 5 months before you let yourself slip.   It's all too tempting to use the crate as an all purpose corralling and disciplining tool for your young puppy, but you can make them really despise going into the kennel if you use it the wrong way.  

How to Litter Box Train a Kitten in 5 Steps

 by amanda on 21 Dec 2012 |
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How to Litter Box Train a Kitten in 5 Steps     Step 1. Be Prepared   Most of the time, the worst chaos involved with litter box training, comes when we are not sure what to expect. Thankfully, there is not a lot of complication or complexity involved with the process of training your kitten to successful use their litter box.   You simply need to be prepared by having the right tools and the right attitude.     Step 2. Get The Right Gear   In order to effectively train you kitty to use their new potty, with few challenges, you'll want to make sure you obtain a shallow litter pan, some organic kitty litter, plenty of news paper, garbage bags and a litter scooper. If your young kitten happens to have a more headstrong personality, you might also consider investing in some treats that he or she really likes, to help you convince them that the littler box is a great place to go.     Step 3. Regular Introductions   In the beginning, the most difficult part about litter box training, is in getting your kitten to feel comfortable with being in the litter box with the litter and understanding that you want them to use the litter as a place to relieve themselves.   To overcome this challenge, I find that it is best to take your kitten and place them in the litter box regularly, even though it might not seem like they have to go. When they are in there, try and be as happy and positive as you can, as this will help your kitty understand that you want them to use the litter box.     Step 4. Remain Persistent and Patient As your training sessions go on, you should definitely see your kitten becoming more comfortable with the litter box. Though there will still be times when your little fur ball forgets that the litter box is just down the hall, or when they try to hold it in to long, and you will want to remain vigilant for those opportunities to remind them of where the bathroom is.   Stay patient and persistent and your training will be smooth and less messy.     Step 5. Keep It Clean   The last thing you want to do, is deter your kitten (or any other cats in the house) from using the litter box, and the best way to do that, is to make sure you keep the litter box as clean as you can. Cat has a particular fondness for clean litterbox's, and an extreme dislike of even a few lumps left in there, so the cleaner you can keep the box, the more often your kitten will use it.       Is your kitten old enough for Parasite and Pest treatments?    If so, make sure you check out the quality treatments available from Stronghold, which are made specifically to be safe for your  darling little kitty.  

Peanut Butter Puppy Chow Recipe

 by amanda on 14 Dec 2012 |
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I've learned two powerful lessons in my lifetime that I've been told, are worth sharing. The first lesson, is that anytime you can cook and eat a meal at home for yourself, you add an extra year to your lifespan. The second lesson is that anything you can do to expand your own life, you should do twice as often for your pets.    These are the thoughts behind today's post, in which I want to share with you my dog Bear's favorite recipe for Peanut Butter Puppy Chow.   I was experimenting in the kitchen one day when Bear was still just a few months old, when I mixed together a couple of recipes for puppy chow and homemade dog treats. I honestly hadn't expected it to turn out well back then, as I was still pretty new to the world of pet-cookery.   Still it must've had been wonderful, because Bear still inhales the homemade kibble anytime I make it for him. He's definitely not a puppy anymore, but it never hurts to give him an extra boost of protein and home cooked love whenever I have the time.   For This Recipe, You Will Need:   4 Cups of Unprocessed Wheat Flour 2 Cups of Powdered Organic Milk 2 Cups of Organic Peanut Butter 1 Pound of Organic Ground Beef 1 Cup of Organic Sweet Peas 1 Cup of Lard or Shortening 2 Cups of Rolled Oats 3 Cups of Water     The Recipe itself, is pretty straight forward: Step 1. Mix all of your ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. It's best if you start with the liquid ingredients first, and then work in the solid ingredients.   *Optionally* You can cook the peas and beef, or you can add them raw   Step 2. Once you have your ingredients thoroughly mixed into a big goopy mess in the bowl, you need to set your oven heat to 200*F, pour a thin layer of the mix onto a shallow baking pan and then place it in the oven for about 45 minutes.   Step 3. When the time is up, pull the kibble out of the oven and let it cool. It won't be done until it is completely dry, but you'll want to cut it into small pieces with a thin knife before it dries completely. Once it's completely done drying, you can scoop it out with a spatula and right into your pups dish, or you can put it into a storage bin for later.   This recipe should make enough kibble for 2-3 meals for a large breed puppy, so you can adjust according to your puppy's age, breed, appetite and tastes. Feature Image via framedcooks.com

10 Great Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Dog

 by amanda on 14 Dec 2012 |
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If you're stumped for ideas of what to get your best friend for Christmas, we've got 10 gift ideas you might enjoy!     10. Home Made Peanut Butter Dog Treats - A home made meal definitely warms the heart, but nothing tingles those canine taste buds like home made peanut butter dog treats. Plus, they are a healthy way to include your pet when you're making treats for the rest of the family.     9. Repurposed Dog Toys and Beds - There reason your holiday gifts cannot be both amazing and practical, which means you are green lighted to get your puppy some repurposed dog toys, or maybe some new bedding to keep them warm during the cold winter nights.   8. A Doggy Car Seatbelt - This is a great gift to get for the dog who lives to ride in the car as often as they possibly can. A doggy seatbelt makes sure that they are safely buckled in like everyone else, which means they are less at risk to cause an accident by distracting their driver, and less at risk if an accident happens for any other reason.   7. Doggy Day Spa Trip - Not all dogs will enjoy this gift, but for the pampered pooch who loves to be babied, groomed and fawned over for a day, will love a trip to a doggy day spa.   6. Recycled Tire Toys - Kong is the most popular brand around here, though you might know other fantastic dog toy makers who create the funnest toys out of recycled tire rubber. Even if you haven't ever heard of them before, recycled tire toys are fantastic for dogs with a need to chew (and chew and chew..), which makes them a great gift to let your pup unwrap to keep them busy while you make the evening dinner.   5. A New Harness - Little or big, a harness is the gift to get for any dog who is still using a simple collar for walks. Harnesses are way more comfortable than collars, and they offer the leash-holder a much greater amount of control over the outcome of each daily walk.   4. A New Home - There is no gift better than love, and this holiday season, one of the most effective ways to bring more love into your life, is with a new puppy. And what better Christmas present is there for a new little pup, than a home with you?   3. A Larger Kennel - If your pup has nearly outgrown his or her kennel, or their kennel is badly in need of an update, you might consider doing some shopping for a new crate or kennel that fits your pups needs and compliments your household style.   2. Homemade Kibble - If you haven't yet checked out our homemade peanut butter kibble recipe, now would be a good time to do so. Especially since food always makes a fantastic snack for any canine companion.    1. Doggy Snow Shoes - If winter's where you are, are cold and snowy, then you pup will love you for getting them a pair of comfy snow shoes. They are designed to keep their feet protected from the harsher elements of winter, and many of them come in optional colors, for those dogs who like to accessorize.      Nothing says Christmas Cheer like a Pest-Free Home for the Holidays              Nothing says Pest-Free like Advocate for Dogs. Feature Image via epiphanyglass.com

Separation Anxiety Solutions Part 2

 by zack on 01 Dec 2012 |
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Cats are of a much more independent nature than dogs, and are therefore far less prone to separation anxiety. However, their fickle nature makes this problem an ever present threat that can be triggered with very little warning. To make matters worse, cats rarely exhibit the symptoms as obviously as dogs will. When a cat is upset it will do any number of things to relieve stress. To keep kitty from suffering, here are some of the top symptoms and solutions for separation anxiety in cats. Separation Anxiety Symptoms: Excessive leg rubbing or clawing- While most cats are affectionate, there is usually a limit. If your cat insistently passes its daily allotment of rubbing every time you walk in the door, or likes to greet you with a scratch, you might have a problem. Shadowing and Blockading- If your cat is following you from room to room, or trying to stand between you and the front door, he or she probably doesn’t want you to go too far. OCD cleaning- Cats keep clean with daily grooming. However, if your cat is grooming to such an extent that it’s losing fur, then separation anxiety is a definite possibility. Ignoring the litter box- Cats know exactly where they should go, but depending on their attitude towards you they may just choose to do their business on the bed. This is not a sign of a contented kitty cat. Chewing, scratching, or biting- If your cat begins to have a problem keeping its destructive impulses confined to the scratching post, they may be suffering from separation anxiety. Loss of appetite or nausea- nervousness and anxiety can cause your cat to eschew its food and even retch. Be on the lookout for this unfortunate behavior. Cats, as always, end up being a little more complicated than dogs. As such the tricks you’ll have to use to keep your kitty behaving while you’re gone are a bit more complex as well. Separation Anxiety Solutions: Counter-conditioning-You’ll have to be extremely repetitive with your actions before leaving the house in order to reduce the amount of stress a cat has when it sees them. Cats pay a lot of attention to detail so anything that you do regularly including: Picking up your keys Putting on your shoes Opening up the door Carrying a purse/suitcase Packing a bag All of these should be repeated 10 to 50 times in a clear line of sight for the cat. Use catnip- Toss some in your suitcase so the cat correlates the bag with fun rather than you leaving, or leave some on the ground when you leave to keep kitty busy. Leave the TV on the nature channel or other cat-centered programming Leave harp music on the radio. Apparently, harp music is shown to have a soothing effect on felines. Who’d have thought? Toys- Just like dogs, cats can be easily distracted. Apply these cat tactics, and the anxiety problems should cease fairly quickly. But if your cat’s behavioral problems persist, it is advisable to consult your vet for further professional council.

Separation Anxiety Solutions Part 1

 by zack on 01 Dec 2012 |
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The whole world may not revolve around you, but you are definitely the center of your pet’s universe. You provide the food, toys, massages, and affection that keeps them either purring or panting as the case may be. So when you leave the house, even for a short period of time, their reactions can seem severe. This Separation anxiety is a common problem with dogs, and an occasional one with cats. Its symptoms aren’t extremely obvious, and it can take a keen eye to pick up on anything amiss. Here are a few things to look out for, and some possible solutions to the problem. What’s the Deal with Dogs? Dogs are much more dependent on human interaction than cats. Because of this, separation anxiety can really strike a familiar chord for many dog owners. To make matters even more complex, symptoms of separation anxiety can easily be confused with a little overzealous behavior. Be on the lookout for one or all of the following symptoms: A dog shadow-dogs love to be underfoot, but when they can’t stand to be apart from you when you get up to leave the room, you might have a problem. Stressed behavior such as whining or relentless pacing while you’re preparing to leave. Barking, scratching, and whimpering at the door after you’ve made your exit. Accidents happen, but when the indoor pee/poop problem persists, something has to be done. Wanton destruction of carpet, plants, or furniture. If you notice trembling upon your return. Remember not to be a hypochondriac for your dog. This behavior when isolated and inconsistent isn’t necessarily grounds for alarm. Be wary when the pet’s actions become extreme and continuous. What to do? Some easy solutions for separation anxiety in dogs are as follows: Exercise- they can’t freak out if they’re too tired! Strategic meal times- food makes pets drowsy too. Different toys-Dogs get bored just like humans; keep them entertained with an abundance of chewies. Freezing food inside of a toy- This can keep them busy for quite a while! Teach the dog to sit and stay- If a dog learns that it can serenely stay in a room without you, you’ve won half the battle. If this all fails, you may want to consider asking your vet about anti-anxiety medication for pets. There’s a large variety of products available. You can also do a lot by creating a “safe place” that your dog goes to every time you leave. This place should include some dirty laundry that smells like you, some favorite toys, and a view of the outside to distract the dog. Or consider leaving your dog with a doggy daycare service, friend, or family member whenever you’ll be gone for a significant period of time. If you have a really persistent problem with your dog’s separation anxiety, then you’ll definitely have to consult your vet for further advice. That’s all the time we have for today’s post, but check back tomorrow, where we’ll cover the symptoms and solutions to a cat’s separation anxiety.
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