Friday, October 25, 2013

Last minute Dog Costume Ideas

Need a last minute costume idea?  If you made a last minute decision to attend a howl-o-ween event and the pet store is out of costumes in your dog’s size, have no fear, here are some easy-to-put-together costume ideas for your dog.

Your favorite Celebrity- whether it be Donald trump, Miley Cyrus, or LeBron James, it’s easy to put together a human look-a-like costume.  You can find old clothes in your closet, head down to the thrift shop for a good deal, or hit up the little kid clothes section at the store.  Hair pieces can be made out of yarn that is glued to a barrette or headband that your dog can wear.  

This same concept works for all human related costumes, be it a business man, scientist, jersey girl, or fitness fanatic.  

Mummy- rolls of guaze are all you need to get this look.  You can use a sharpie to make the guaze look dirty or simply take the guaze outside and rub it in the dirt.  Brush it off and then wrap it around your dog (but not too tight).
A Flying object- An airplane, butterfly, or even a UFO can be created using cardboard.  The cardboard can be covered by white paper, colored felt squares, or tin foil and decorated for your desired effect.  Antennae can be created by using pipe cleaner and a headband.  

All of these are inexpensive ways to create a unique costume for your dog.  But a word of caution: Last minute costumes can be a total disaster or a stroke of genius.  Whatever you end up with, just remember to never underestimate the power of pipe cleaner, felt squares, yarn, construction paper, cardboard, tin foil, and glue.  Hit up your local craft store for even more supplies and further inspiration.
Here are some creative homemade costumes:


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Stop Annoying Habits

Does your dog bark at you, paw at you, nudge you with her nose, or lick you constantly?  While you may not think anything of these bad behaviors (or possibly think they are cute), they are actually signs of an unbalanced dog.  And if your dog uses these strategies to get your attention they will do the same to your house guests, who will most likely not find the behavior endearing. 

These bad habits are all techniques a dog uses to get your attention.  Children do similar things like repeating “mom, mom, mom, mom, mom” over and over, or patting you until you give them your attention.  Lack of the desired attention may result in a tantrum.  And for some reason many parents are quick to correct their human child’s rude behavior but not their fur child’s bad behavior.

Correcting these behaviors will restore peace in your house and allow you to enjoy your dog’s company without living at the mercy of your dog’s whims.  You can easily correct this bad behavior by making 4 easy changes to the way you interact with your dog.

1.       Only give your dog attention when he or she is CALM and quiet.  This is especially important if your dog barks at you to get attention. 

2.       Require your dog to perform an action before giving him or her attention.  This action is usually a sit (while being quiet).  One great way to curb bad manners in a dog is to start expecting him or her to work for all of his or her rewards.  Have your dog sit before he or she is allowed to… start eating, go outside, come inside, get on leash, get off leash, get a treat, and get pet.    

3.       Stop giving positive reinforcement for bad behavior.  For most people, treats and toys are seen as the only way to reward a dog, when in fact, positive reinforcement can come in many different forms.  Eye contact, speaking, and touching (even pushing away) are all forms of attention that would be considered positive reinforcement to an attention seeking dog.  If your dog is trying to get attention in a way that is not ok with you, you must ignore him or her completely until the bad behavior has stopped and the dog is calm and quiet. This may take some patience.

4.       Be persistent!  While this may be difficult at first (and possibly for a while, depending on the severity of your dog’s behavior), there is no substitute for persistence.  Don’t give in to your dog’s tantrums; stay strong and stick to the new requirements for your dog to get attention.  Your hard work will pay off!