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What Makes Mutts Great!- Friday, August 8, 2014

What makes mutts so great? Here are 5 reasons from us at Best Elk Antlers!

They’re unique
The standard purebred dog has more or less the same appearance and temperament as every other dog of his kind. A mixed breed dog on the other hand is without these standards and limitations! Mutts are more unique in both appearance and personality and once you find your special companion, you’ll just love calling him your own!

Mutts are the best of both worlds
Not only will your mutt get his good looks from two or more different dogs, he will also get the best of their personalities! Mixed breed dogs keep the good characteristics while if need be, take the edge off of breeds that are too difficult to handle. With a mutt, you’re getting two or more dogs in one package. Now that’s a bargain!

They’re more flexible
Mixed breeds tend to have a more easy going and flexible personality because they take many different attributes from their parents. Purebred dogs are programmed to behave in a certain way, but mutts can easily adjust to different situations and living conditions. So while his purebred folks each have a specific skill set, such as herding or hunting, your precious mutt can be trained however you like!

They have fewer health issues
While it isn’t proven that mutts have fewer health issues than purebreds, it is known that certain purebreds are more prone to specific illnesses. Mixed breed dogs are less likely to develop these specific illnesses because even if they are part, say, Golden Retriever, they have fewer Golden Retriever genes than a purebred one!

They have amazing personalities
When buying a purebred dog, you’re buying a specific temperament that has been clearly defined over the years through instinct and strict breeding practices. A mutt, however, leaves the genetic line behind and a real personality is developed! Mutts greet you at the door, play fetch, curl up and snuggle with you, bring your mail, and keep you company when you’re sick!

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Celebrate National Assistance Dog Week August 3-9!- Friday, August 8, 2014

“International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) was created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability related limitations.”

What Is IADW

All over the world, assistance dogs have transformed the lives of their human comrades with mental or physical disabilities. By serving as people’s best friend, companion, helper, right-hand, and close family member, these amazing dogs are able to accomplish something no human can. Assistance dogs help with depression, help the blind find their way, help soldiers with PTSD, and even help pull wheelchairs when the owners become too weary. Their hard work, loyalty, blind love, and ability to see the potential in any person has truly touched the hearts of people worldwide, and this week, it’s time to show our support!

How It All Began

“International Assistance Dog Week was established due to the efforts of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years and CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, NM. Davis is the author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, a resource book that captures personal stories, checklists and practical tips to provide the reader with an A-Z guide about service dogs and she is the host of the Internet radio program, Working Like Dogs, at As a member of a service dog team, she founded Working Like Dogs to honor assistance dogs around the world and is sponsoring International Assistance Dog Week.”

How We Celebrate

Thanks to Marcie Davis's efforts, starting every year on the first Sunday in August, we honor these spectacular dogs by raising awareness and educating the public with the amazing stories of how these animals are helping so many people. We celebrate the heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs nationwide and in our communities; and we recognize the hard work of puppy raisers and trainers.

Join us in celebration this International Assistance Dog Week on August 3 – 9!

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The Social World of Dogs: 5 Tips- Friday, August 8, 2014

Just like humans, socialization and interaction with others is one of the most important parts to training your puppy. It’s easiest when done during the younger years, though it’s still possible in older age. By socializing your dog, you expose him to the people, places, situations, and other pets that he will inevitably encounter. Fido will not only learn to mentally prepare himself for what lies ahead, but he will also be more calm and better behaved. Familiarizing your pup with social conventions makes him more capable of dealing with any new situation or experience without a negative reaction.

To help begin this process, we at Best Elk Antlers compiled a list of tips for socializing your dog!

Start slow
Instead of introducing your dog to new places, people, and pets all on the first day, start slowly. Just like humans, trying to do too much in one day may just overwhelm your dog; and even though 3 - 12 weeks old is when puppies are most comfortable with new experiences, it could still sometimes be frightening. Consider introducing your pup to a new friend, either a dog or human, while in the comfort of your own home. Also, when introducing your puppy to a new place, choose a quieter, less-crowded area at first.

Use a variety of interactions
Instead of inviting the same friend to come over and play with your new puppy, try to vary it up a little. Have men, women, youngster, and people with different ethnic backgrounds meet your pet. Introduce Fido to lots of different dogs or even cats. Have him see many different places from the car. The more he is exposed to at a young age, the more social and friendly he will become!

Control and comfort
At first, always maintain control of your dog during socialization. Keep your pup on a leash and discourage growling or any aggressive behavior. If your dog gets upset, separate him from the cause, comfort him, and try again later. If several socialization attempts fail, consider taking a step back and trying a different form of interaction. Remember, you can always contact a professional for help!

Reward your dog for good behavior during any socialization. When a good interaction occurs, verbally and physically praise your pup. Acknowledge their positive efforts through petting, clapping, a “good job,” and perhaps giving their favorite treat! Your positive energy and reward will help solidify these new experiences as a good thing, and it will encourage your dog to continue in that way.

Familiarizing your pup

Once your dog can easily handle meeting a new group of people, take him to a mall, a store, a train station, or even on a train if possible! Take her to a gas station, the park, or your florist. Simply let your dog experience as many people, surfaces, and settings as possible. Familiarizing your pup with grass, concrete, leaves, carpet, and even metal will make him more adaptable to any new settings such as a mall or gym. It’s also a great idea to acquaint your dog with many different sounds such as sirens, fire trucks, ringtones, and thunder. In doing this, your dog will always feel less anxiety when traveling, meeting new people, or even when someone accidentally drops some pots down the stairs. Additionally, if you’re at the mall and suddenly a baby starts crying, your dog is a lot less likely to lash out in fear.

An un-socialized dog is untrustworthy and can even be a liability. They often become fear-biters and enjoy aggressive behavior. So keeping in mind that all dogs differ, use these general tips to begin mapping out a socialization plan specific to your pup. With these 5 tips, we’re sure your Sparky will be the most well-behaved and playful dog in no time!

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Traveling with Fido: By Car or By Plane - Friday, August 8, 2014

See the world with two sets of eyes, yours and your dogs! Whether you're traveling by car or plane, nationally or internationally, traveling with your dog will let Fido explore the world while giving you a peaceful state of mind knowing he’s safe! However, although your pooch will make your trip more enjoyable and there's less to worry about, you may be thinking it’s a bit of a hassle. Well, here at Best Elk Antlers we have come up with the most useful and helpful tips to make your travels with Sparky as easy as possible!

A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car, and they are required for all airlines. Your dog’s crate will make him feel at home and it also keeps him from getting into trouble! Just stock the crate with a comfortable pillow, your dog’s favorite toy, a water bottle, and he’ll be ready to go! If you need to buy a traveling crate for the first time, these suggestions will help:

  • Large enough to allow your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably
  • Has handles, grips, and if your dog is very heavy, wheels
  • Strong make with a leak-proof bottom and absorbent material
  • Air-line approved and has ventilation on opposing sides

Traveling by car:

If your dog has traveled in your car before, he will be used to it. However, many dogs can associate car rides with anxiety. So just in case, bring some toys or toss your dog an Elk Antler Burr to chew on. It'll entertain him for hours, and even give him better breath! But whether your dog loves the car or not, plan your car trip ahead of time and take breaks every 3-5 hours to allow your dog to stretch his legs, go to the bathroom, and have some water.

Some items to bring with you on your road trip:

  • Water bowls and leashes
  • Toys and Treats (our Elk Antler cookies are a great durable dog treat perfect for long trips!)
  • Bags to pick up waste
  • Blanket and or dog bed

Traveling by plane:
Every airline has its own rules for canine air travel, but your dog’s safety and comfort is Best Elk Antler’s specialty! If you're the proud owner of a small dog, you may be able to keep him up front in your lap. But even so, plane rides may stress out your pup. We recommend bringing your dog’s favorite toy and blanket to make him feel more at home during the flight. Also, a full stomach minutes before flying could nauseate your dog, so give him his meal approximately 4 hours before takeoff. Water, however, can be given at all times. Remember, all airlines require a vet checkup and a health certificate for your dog before flying, and frankly, it’s a good idea to make sure your pooch is up for the ride!

  • Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with an identification tag
  • Give your dog exercise before you leave, and once at the airport, have your leash at the ready to walk off some more of Fido’s energy
  • Consult your vet if you’re the parent of a short-nosed dog such as a Boston terrier or shih tzu. He may be more affected by high altitudes
  • While many airports have potty places for dogs, make sure you let him go before you leave the house, too

Once you get to your destination, be sure to give your dog a nice long walk around the area to get him familiar with the new sights and smells that he will experience during the trip. Although the initial ride is a bit of a hassle, traveling with your dog is a fun experience that strengthens your bond. It brings the explorer out in both of you, and you’ll love knowing your dog is as happy as can be!

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