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How to Deal With an Unfriendly Dog

posted on May 9th, 2017 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

Dog. Man’s best friend. Typically our four-legged companions are friendly and playful, but it’s not unheard of to come across a less than cordial pup. Like many people, when you cross paths with an aggressive or timid dog, you’re probably not entirely sure what to do. Don’t fret, we’ve got some tips that will help you deal with an unfriendly dog and get you on their good side.

Get a Read on the Dog

Is the dog scared? Is it aggressive? Determining what emotions the dog is feeling is extremely important on easing the tension. Some physical signs to keep a look out for are bared teeth (aggression) or a tucked tail (fear). Quite possibly, the most important factor to account for is the dog’s background. Dogs with a history of abuse and neglect don’t trust strangers as easily, and it requires time and effort to make them comfortable around you. Every dog is different so learning their personality will go a long way in building a connection.

What You Should NOT Do

After getting a good read on an unfriendly dog, there are some things you should absolutely NOT do. First and foremost, don’t force anything. The process of forming trust between you and an unfriendly dog takes time and effort and is not something you can expedite. If the dog is asleep or eating, leave it alone. Seriously. You won’t make any friends bothering a dog during those times, and you run the risk of getting bit. Now that I mention it don’t bother any dog while they’re eating or sleeping, that’s not nice. Don’t try to force contact with the dog, let it come to you. If they’re ready to start a bond, you’ll know by them approaching you. When they do finally come around, don’t make any quick movements while you’re getting the sniff treatment. Quick movements will easily frighten the pup and set you back in the process. Lastly, don’t stare. Humans don’t like being stared at with wide, unblinking eyes, it’s creepy. Dogs don’t like it either and see it as a threat and show of dominance. In unfriendly dogs, it can also spur aggression.

What You Should Do

Dogs are great judges of character and can tell when you’re in a bad mood. Establishing a bond with an unfriendly dog is frustrating, but keep it calm and cool. Dogs aren’t going to respond well to frustration. This applies to body language and vocalizations. Ignoring the dog can work wonders when trying to become friendly. Sounds weird, right? When you ignore a dog, you’re sharing space with it and you seem less threatening when behaving normally. When they finally come around and let you pet them, don’t go at it like a barbarian and start patting them on the head. Keep your hands in sight of the dog and slowly move in with some soft pets or scratches. Moving slow gives you time to see how the dog will react. Keep an eye on their body language as your hand moves in. You might need to scrap your petting attempt depending on their reaction. The two quickest ways to any dog’s heart are food and play. Dogs bond extremely well with the people that feed them and take time out of their day to play and run around with them.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re faced with the challenge an unfriendly dog, and you’ll come out on the other side as pals. 


Choosing the Right Dog Groomer

posted on March 22nd, 2017 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

When it’s time to get a haircut you don’t just wander into the nearest barber shop or salon, you go to someone you trust will do a great job. Our pets deserve the same treatment when they need a trim. For new dog owners, finding a groomer can be a hassle, so here are a few tips to help you choose the right dog groomer.

Word of Mouth

The best way to find a good groomer is by talking to other dog owners. Go to your nearest dog park or ask friends who they trust. People are more inclined to be genuine in face-to-face conversation as opposed to online reviews. If someone is willing to recommend a groomer at their own regard, then it’s worth listening and taking their recommendation into account. 

Look for Experience and Certifications

A good indicator of quality is years of experience and certifications. Call around to local groomers and ask what qualifications they have with your breed. Keep in mind Florida doesn’t require groomers be licensed to practice so if they are it’s a positive sign. Keep in mind that while a certification is great, it doesn’t always mean the groomer will do a great job styling your dog’s haircut.

Listen to Your Dog

At the end of the day, the most important thing in choosing a groomer is what makes your dog happy. After an appointment ask if there were any behavioral issues during the grooming. The next appointment keep an eye on how your dog reacts to seeing the groomer. A happy response is welcome and indicative that the groomer has done a good job interacting with your pup. If your dog is timid with the groomer then you might want to reconsider your groomer.

Patience is Key

Like many things in life, finding the right groomer can take time. You might get lucky and strike gold with the first choice, but don’t get frustrated if you don’t. If your dog doesn’t need to be groomed very often so it could take months to find the right groomer, but when you do your pup will be happy and set for life.

Learn more about our professional and experienced dog and cat groomers!


Top 5 Dog Training Tips

posted on February 28th, 2017 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

Training your dog can be frustrating. When they chew up shoes and furniture, pee on the carpet, or tug the leash on walks, you’ll feel like pulling out your hair. Teaching your pup new commands and behaviors is a labor of love. We know how hard and time consuming it is to see progression, here’s 5 dog training tips to keep you and pooch on track.

Keep Them on a Schedule

One of the best ways to cut down on potty accidents around the house is establishing a feeding schedule. If you maintain a feeding schedule your dog will develop a regular potty habit so you know when they need to go. Stay consistent with feeding and don’t let your pup snack in between meals and you’ll be on schedule with your training.

Reward Good Behavior

Positive reinforcement plays a major role in training your dog. Did they finally sit when commanded to? Give them a treat! When your pup displays any behavior that you’re trying to establish, reward them. Whether it’s rolling over or not barking at the mailman, positive reinforcement will only make that good behavior more likely. Think about it, if you’re rewarded for doing something good, wouldn’t you be more inclined to repeat that behavior?

Be Consistent

The worst thing you can do while training is be inconsistent. If you scold your dog for jumping on the couch one day, but then gracefully allow them up the next, you’re accomplishing nothing. The second you allow them up they see their behavior as acceptable. Consistency isn’t just the owner’s responsibility, however. When guests are over, make sure they understand what your pup is allowed to do. Just because you’re the owner doesn’t mean your dog only answers to you.

Stay Positive

Maintaining a positive mindset and tone isn’t just good for you, it’s good for your dog, too. Dogs learn quicker when you take a positive approach to training. They can sense when you’re angry or stressed which makes training more difficult. The next time you find yourself getting frustrated, get back to a positive state and take a breather before you continue.

Be Patient

Quite possibly the most important advice for training your dog is be patient. No matter what you’re trying to train your dog to do, it’s not going to happen over night. Keep your expectations in check and know training takes time. Being patient also helps you maintain a positive attitude and makes it more rewarding when a certain behavior or trick is finally learned. Stay the course and your efforts will pay off and both you and your dog will be happy.


Do Dog Whisperers Really Work?

posted on February 23rd, 2017 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

Training dogs can be frustrating. Rather than the traditional route, you might start wondering what else you can do. One method that has gained popularity in recent years is dog whispering, reaching mainstream popularity through the aptly named television show “Dog Whisperer” featuring Cesar Millan. The success of the show has us wondering, does it really work? Let’s take a look at a few methods dog whisperers use and how effective they may be.

Pack Leader

The most commonly used technique by Millan is showing animal owners how to become the leader of their “pack.” This is based on the theory that dogs are animals that live in packs by nature and require a guiding lead. Millan has success using this technique and with many dogs it’s effective. However, this method has sparked debate due to the use of physical force, which many of Millan’s peer believe to be inhumane. This methodology is based around dominance rather than coexistence, and while it has produced results in calming more aggressive dogs, the effectiveness is still questionable.

Positive Reinforcement vs. Punishment

These methods are naturally on opposite ends of the spectrum, but their necessity is born from the same actions. For example, if your pup has a particular disdain for your local mailman or lashes out on walks against all forms of wheeled transportation, you have the choice of trying positive reinforcement or punishment.

With positive reinforcement, associate something good with whatever your dog may not care for. For example, any time the mailman comes around reward your dog with a spoon of peanut butter, and when a skateboard flies by treat them to a slice of an apple. With punishment, you associate something unpleasant with those same disdains, say a flick on the nose. Each method has been used by dog whisperers and both criticized equally, either for being cruel or rewarding bad behavior. With these methods it’s worth talking with a qualified dog trainer to determine the best results based on your dog’s personality.

Non-force

This method was popularized by famous dog trainer Paul Owens. The premise of non-force dog whispering is educating yourself (the owner) with your dog’s personality and behavior instead of educating the dog itself. This method doesn’t allow the use of any deterrent device, like shock or choke collars, and it condemns physical punishment. The goal of non-force training is to create empathy and to grow as an animal owner.

How well your animal responds to any of these techniques is all speculative. Not all dogs are the same, so training methods that might’ve worked on previous pets or friend’s animals may not work for your current pet. If you’re having trouble training your pup, don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional dog trainer.


How to Calm Your Pet’s Anxiety of New Year’s Eve Traditions

posted on December 28th, 2016 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

Don’t start the New Year without your pet. Here’s how to celebrate New Year’s Eve traditions with your cool, calm, and collected pet.

Getting Dressed Up

If you have ever been to a New Year’s Eve party, you know how much people love to dress up in sparkly outfits, paper hats, and even year-themed glasses. Here’s our tip to you about dressing up your pet. If your pet doesn’t usually like outfits, don’t put one on him. Nothing changed from yesterday and it will immediately cause tension. Spending the night out on the town? Give your pet a comfortable environment, including a place to hide if they want. Covering their crate with blankets or setting up a bed on the corner of the couch will often suffice.

Watching the Ball Drop

It’s a New Year’s Eve tradition to watch the ball drop. While you may think it’s exciting, your pet may find the anticipation of you dropping his favorite squeaky ball too intense. Pets feed off your energy. If they see you getting antsy, they will get antsy. Keep a calm demeanor that will translate to your pet.

Champagne Toast

Of course, we know pets can’t have champagne. But it’s a tradition! Spending time with your pet is a great way to show them there’s nothing to be anxious about. And you can still have a celebratory (well, calm) toast with your pet. Serve up some Dog Perignon in a special plastic cup while you toast with some grown-up Perignon. Or if your pet is sensitive to adding things into their diet, you can fill their cup with water… we promise they won’t know the difference.

Midnight Kiss

Once the Ball drops, it’s tradition to kiss that special someone for good luck. Who better to ring in the New Year with than your best friend, your partner in crime, your everything, your pet? Cuddling your pet can help calm their nerves (and yours) before that anticipated midnight kiss. Just don’t let them know you might also be kissing a special human.

Fireworks

This may be the hardest part of any holiday for your pet. They can’t comprehend that fireworks are supposed to be enjoyable. Instead, they probably think the world is coming to an end. To help your calm your pet’s firework anxiety, keep them busy. Give them a frozen Kong filled with treats. If possible, give them plenty of exercise during the day so they’re tired come midnight.


The Ultimate Gift Guide for Cat Lovers

posted on December 19th, 2016 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

We all know that one person who can’t resist petting every stray cat they see. These are the gifts for them. Or maybe the person you’re buying a gift for is yourself. Either way, get out your wallet and get ready to make some cute purchases.

Cue the aww’s.

Happy Kitty Mug

happy kitten mug

$13.98 for a set of 2, World Market

Start the day with a coffee in this cat mug for a purrfect morning. It comes in a set of two so you can enjoy it with the other cat person in your life.

Cat Ears Ring

Cat Ears Ring

$26, Etsy

Keep a little reminder of kittens wherever you go. This dainty gold ring sends of a subtle bat signal–cat signal–that calls all the cats to you (not really, but we wish).

Cat Sweater

Cat Sweater

$28, Human

Tell people how you really feel. Also available in tees, tanks and baby one-pieces.

Cat Cave

Cat Cave

$75, Uncommon Goods

Not only is this little cat hideaway absolutely adorable, your cat will love it too! This handmade and high quality cat cave will look fun and quirky in your living room and your cat will appreciate a place to hide out in.

Custom Cat Illustration

Custom Cat Illustration

$180, Uncommon Goods

Put a pretty kitty on the wall. With a custom portrait, your cat will feel like the king or queen they believe themselves to be anyway.

Cat Themed Makeup

Cat Themed Makeup

$43, ASOS

This blush from Paul & Joe comes in a container covered in cats with cat shaped pieces of makeup inside! You’ll be glowing and rosy like you just saw a cat.

Cat Hoodie Pouch

Cat Hoodie Pouch

$101, Japan Trend Shop

This hoodie has it all. The hood has little cat ears and the hands have paws, but that’s not even the cool part. The hoodie also has a pouch so you can care for your kitten like a Kangaroo mama! Keep your kitty busy with the attached toy.

Embroidered Wall Decor

Embroidered Wall Decor

$16, Etsy

This embroidered decoration will look cute on the walls of any home.

Wooden Ring Dishes

Wooden Ring Dishes

$22, Etsy

These wooden catchall dishes can store little knickknacks or rings, or just look cute on the table!


How to Make Sure Your Furry Friends Have a Safe and Healthy Holiday Season

posted on December 15th, 2016 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

It’s especially important to pay attention to potential sources of injury for your pet during this time of year. Here are some of the most common things to watch out for to make sure your dog or cat has a safe and healthy holiday season!

Keep People Food Away

Your pet is sure to want a piece of the delicious food it smells you cooking, but if you really want to make sure your pet has a good holiday, give him his favorite meal and let him eat away from the dinner table. Warn guests not to feed pets table scraps. Surprising foods like onions and garlics are poisonous to dogs. Be sure to keep chocolates and candy in cabinets or drawers where they can’t be eaten, as they can be extremely dangerous.

Decorate Carefully

All those decorations you think look festive look like toys and treats to your pet. Traditional holiday plants like Poinsettia, Holly, and Mistletoe are poisonous to animals, and those decorative trinkets can be choked on by your pet. As for tinsel, it’s better to forgo it than risk having your pet eat it. Cats are known to be very attracted to the movement and shine, but if they eat it it can be caught in their intestines. The dangers don’t stop there, Christmas tree needles can be eaten and puncture intestines, and tree lights can electrocute your pet if they decide to chew on it. You don’t have to stop decorating, but you do need to be careful. After all, you don’t want this situation on your hands.

Double Check Costumes

If you decide to dress up your dog (or cat, somehow) in an elf costume or reindeer antlers, make sure they can move properly and there’s no danger of them ingesting part of the costume or being choked. Always remove the costume before you leave them home alone, and don’t make them wear it if they truly hate it!

Talk to Guests

If you have guests in town staying at your house, make sure you advise them to keep their belongings out of reach from your pets. Especially if they have medication, advise them to put it where no creature can reach it, keeping in mind that cats can be sneaky! Warn them that animals can be attracted to yummy smelling soaps and lotions, which they may eat and get sick. No one wants their expensive face cream eaten!

Don’t Give Pets as Gifts

A puppy or kitten on Christmas morning may seem like a good idea, but unless it’s been thoroughly discussed and planned for it’s generally not a good idea. If you surprise your children with a pet, do so knowing that you will be responsible for caring for it. And if you decide to give a pet as a gift, we highly suggest you look at local rescues. Make sure you introduce your new pet to any current pets before committing. It’s a big change bringing in a new family member, so it’s important to have an adjustment period before jumping into anything.

Prepare for Fireworks

New Year’s Eve can be very scary for pets. The boom of fireworks causes a lot of anxiety, and many animals runs away. Take precautions, like making sure your pet is safe and secure from getting loose. These tips from Modern Dog specifically for New Year’s Eve are helpful, too. Give them some toys to play with and put on the television for some distraction, and don’t forget to check up on them occasionally if they seem bothered by the noise.

What You Can Do

Don’t forget to give your pet some Holiday love, too! Give them gifts and give them love. When it gets busy, make sure they have a space of their own to escape to, and keep them busy and exercised. Here’s to a happy holiday season to you both!


5 Ways To Keep Your Dog Active When Indoors

posted on November 3rd, 2016 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

We get it. You love your dog. He is the light of your life. But sometimes, you can’t give him the exercise he needs. Maybe you’re tired (definitely not hungover), or it’s raining, or the Florida weather is way too cold, or any other excuse that arises. It happens to the best of us. But your pup-pup still needs his exercise regardless of how you feel.

Alas! We have put together a list of some of the best (and easiest) ways to keep your dog active when you don’t want to be.

Enrichment Toys

Not only do these toys keep your dog physically active, they also help mentally stimulate your pup. It’s a win-win situation for you both!

There are a variety of puzzles you can get for you dog. One of the most popular puzzles is one you can get on Amazon called the Seek-A-Treat. It tests your dog’s by challenging him to seek out the treats that have been hidden inside.

Another popular interactive toy you can purchase is a Smarter Interactive IQ Treat Ball, also available on Amazon. It’s kind of like a Rubik’s Cube for your dog. You’re able to adjust the level of difficulty on this toy so your dog can continue learning.

Chase Toys

Dogs love to chase toys. But some dogs do not like to bring them back. This defeats your laziness. If only there was a toy that would allow you to get the toy back without having to move…..

Flirt poles are almost like fishing poles for your dog. Essentially, it allows you to throw a lure, let your dog chase it, and then you can reel it back in! You can sit on a chair or lay on the couch while your dog gets a full mental and physical exercise.

Fetch

If you have a staircase and your dog loves to play fetch, you’re all set. (If you don’t have stairs, this can still work). Want to know a secret? If your dog is easily distracted and won’t bring the ball back, keep a couple squeaky toys in your pocket. That way when your dog stops paying attention to you, all you have to do is squeak the next toy and you’re back in action. Your pup will most likely run back to you to see the new toy. Depending on how many squeaky toys you have, this game can last for hours!

Obstacle Course

You can pretty much make this work in any size area. Start with something easy, like jumping over a stack of towels. Once your pup has mastered this, step it up a notch. Teach him to weave through his toys (or chairs, or whatever is easiest for you). Use a treat to guide little Fido through the course the first couple times. If he catches on quickly, continue stepping up the course. The possibilities are endless!

Doggie Dates

Dogs love company. Have your friend bring over their pup for a doggie date! This gives you time to watch movies, eat pizza, drink wine, knit a sweater… you get the picture. Just make sure to keep an eye on the pups to deter any destructive or aggressive behavior. Remember to keep some squeaky toys handy to bring your dog’s attention back to you at any moment.


Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Pinellas County

posted on October 14th, 2016 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

Pinellas County is a wonderful place to own a dog. With beautiful dog parks and dog-friendly restaurants, you can pretty much be with your pup 24/7. But not all places allow pets, so we’ve picked out some of our favorite dog-friendly restaurants to spend a meal! So invite your friends (and their pups) for a doggie date this weekend!

Tarpon Tavern

21 N. Safford Ave., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Old-world pub providing burgers & other American grub plus craft beers in a 1920s-era building. Enjoy live music, food, drinks, arts and crafts every First Friday of the month.

The Dunedin Smokehouse

471 Main St., Dunedin, FL 34698

Located in the heart of Dunedin, The Dunedin Smokehouse is an upbeat bar & grill featuring delicious BBQ food, a variety of beer & patio seating and frequent live music.

7venth Sun Brewery

1012 Broadway, Dunedin, FL 34698

Since January 2012, 7venth Sun has been serving Belgian-style beer, IPAs, spirit barrel-aged beer, and oak-aged sour beer with ever changing offerings.

Island Way Grill

20 Island Way, Clearwater, FL 33767

Located on the water, Island Way Grill blends continental, pacific rim, and island cuisine to create their fresh dishes. Make sure to look over their extensive wine list.

Rumba

1800 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33765

Rumba Island Bar & Grill will transport you straight to the Caribbean with their tropical menu, tropical drinks, and vast run menu.

The Avenue

330 1st Ave S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701

This lively spot has some of the best burgers in Pinellas. Enjoy craft cocktails, beer and amazing food while watching your favorite sports team on their dozens of TVs.

BellaBrava

204 Beach Dr., St. Petersburg, FL 33701

This award winning restaurant offers European outdoor seating and a wonderful view of Beach Drive. With flavorful meals, a long happy hour, and a family-friendly atmosphere – you’re sure to have a great time!


The Best Dog Parks in Pinellas

posted on August 15th, 2016 by Big Sea
Resources and Tips

In Florida, the dog days of summer never end. And Pinellas county is quite dog friendly, with a variety of dog park options that allow you to bring your companion outside to play off and on leash in parks, in bars, and at beaches. 

Pinellas County’s Top Dog Parks

Fort DeSoto Dog Park, St Pete

3500 Pinellas Bayway S., St. Petersburg, FL

Located on the beautiful Fort DeSoto Park, the Paw Playground is the only place in Pinellas county where dogs are allowed to play off-leash on the beach. If your furry companion doesn’t enjoy water, there are also two large fenced in areas for small and large dogs, complete with fountains and showers. Dogs are welcome in all areas of the park on leash, including the old Spanish fort. Entrance into the park is $5.

Enterprise Dog Park, Clearwater

2671 Enterprise Rd E.,
Clearwater, FL


This free dog park has a large field for playing, a separate fenced in area for agility training, and a one-of-a-kind off-leash dog trail. About ⅓ mile long, this loop is like a dog’s walking trail in a forest preserve. Clean and well-maintained, this dog park has lots of water bowls and fountains for the dogs, as well as shade, benches, and beautiful views for their humans to enjoy.

The Dog Bar, St Pete

2300 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

The Dog Bar is a place for both humans and their furry friends to play, relax, and enjoy the company of others. Outdoor off-leash activities include swimming pools, as well as agility ramps and tunnels. Indoor on-leash entertainment includes seating, televisions, corn hole, and board games. Staff monitors all dog activities to ensure the safety of everyone and the bar offers over 20 beers on taps (for humans only). Membership is required; the cost is $40 per year, pets must be neutered or spayed, and be current on all vaccinations.

Crest Lake Dog Park, Clearwater

210 South Glenwood Ave,  Clearwater, FL 33755

This off-leash dog haven features not one, not two, but four separate fenced in areas. One for small dogs (20 pounds or less), one for medium dogs (up to 45 pounds), another for large dogs (anything over 35 pounds), and a general area for any size dog. The grass, plants, and trees are well maintained, and there is plenty of shade and seating for non-canines. Don’t miss the beautiful St. Bernard topiary, art work, and retired fire hydrants in this 1.75 acre dog park.

Lake Vista Dog Park, St Pete

1401 62nd Ave S., St. Petersburg, FL 33705

This dog park is part of the much larger recreational center complete with a playground, a lake, a rubber running trail, and more. The Lake Vista Dog Park is roughly 1.5 grassy acres with a dog wash station, fountains, dog pools, and we’ve been told they are soon adding a cell phone charging station. Benches and shaded areas make sure the humans are comfortable while their furry friends play.

Honeymoon Island State Park Dog Park

1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698

Located on the southernmost tip of Honeymoon Island, this dog park features breathtaking gulf views and crystal clear water. Take your companion for a walk
along the nature trail, walk along the shoreline, or play and explore in the water. Six-foot handheld leashes are required. There is a fee of $8 per vehicle for park access, and includes access to the dog park, nature trails, views of Caladesi Island, picnic areas, and restrooms.

Florida is home to truly unique and beautiful natural scenery. Enjoy the sights and keep your companion happy, healthy, and socialized at one of these amazing local dog parks.