How to Attract Birds to Your Yard

Attract different wild bird species to bring your backyard to life! Many birds in Canada depend on humans to provide them with safe habitats where they can find food and make nests. In return, they help reduce insects in your yard, sing beautiful birdsongs, and are delightful to watch! 

There are four key elements to attracting birds to your yard; our blog will teach you about each one!

Habitat: 

The ideal habitat for wild birds should be diverse in its plant life. Planting different kinds of flowers, trees, shrubs, and bushes that are native to your area will not only effectively attract native bird species, but it will also help to strengthen and preserve your local ecosystem. Ensuring there is plenty of greenery and cover in your backyard will provide birds with a safe place to explore. 

Feed:

One of the best ways to attract birds to your yard is to provide them with a food source. Different species prefer different types of feeders, so try placing a few different kinds around your yard to attract a variety of birds. Feeders should be placed about 10 feet from trees and greenery to allow them to quickly escape from predators if needed. Additionally, different species prefer feeding from different heights, so try hanging your feeders at different levels. Make sure to keep all feeders clean by scrubbing them with one part bleach to nine parts hot water at least once per month. The type of seed you use to fill your feeders will also determine which birds may stop by. Different species have their own unique nutritional requirements and, therefore, will be attracted to different types of seed to meet their dietary needs. Black oil sunflower seeds and suet blocks are great options for feeding your yard’s most incredible variety of birds. Ask the Experts at your local Feeds ‘n Needs about what type of feeder and bird seed you should use to attract a desired bird species!

Water:

Birds require access to water for bathing and hydration year-round, so adding a water source like a bird bath, pond, or fountain can make your backyard even more popular with bird visitors. Try placing a shallow bird bath in your backyard near an area with good, dense greenery in which birds can take cover. Change the water in your bird bath every few days in the summer, and consider investing in a heater or de-icer to keep the water from freezing in the winter. 

Nesting:

Encourage birds to stick around all year by providing safe places to nest in your backyard. Many birds will build nests in dense greenery that provides adequate shelter. However, some bird species, such as bluebirds and chickadees, prefer a more secure, warm shelter to nest. Install birdhouses or nesting boxes on posts or tree trunks in safe areas around your yard for these birds to make nests in. Ensure the entrance hole in your birdhouse is only big enough for the intended species to get through to prevent larger predatorial birds from entering. 

You can also provide birds with materials to nest with by filling a suet cage with organic materials like grass clippings, twigs, dried leaves and even pet hair and hanging it where birds will find it. These organic materials will eventually decompose, so you don’t have to worry about harming the environment!

If you want to start attracting wild birds to your yard, make Feeds ‘n Needs your one-stop destination to find all the essentials you’ll need! Check out our wide selection of quality bird feeders, accessories, and premium bird seeds in our wild bird center! You’ll find that feeding the birds is even more rewarding when you join our Wild Bird Seed Club and start earning 10$ off after every $200 you spend on bird seed. Stop into your local Feeds ‘n Needs and ask one of our Experts for details on the loyalty program and how you can get started feeding the birds!

Are you interested in learning more about wild birds? You may enjoy our other blogs!
Keeping Feeding Areas Clean and Maintained
How to Properly Store Bird Seed
Feeding Wild Birds in Winter

 

Tips to Prevent Leash Pulling

Does your dog constantly pull on their leash during walks? Has it made walking with them become a dreaded task? We’ve been there too, and we’re here to help! Training your dog to have good leash manners can be difficult and time-consuming, but it is never too late to start. With the right tools, tricks, and patience, even the worst pullers can be trained to walk with a loose leash!

Invest in Equipment

Having the right equipment to walk your dog can make a huge difference when it comes to pulling. If you train your dog to stop pulling on the leash during walks, investing in quality, no-pull collars, harnesses, and leashes will be key to your success.

No-Pull Harnesses: Fitting your dog with a harness with 2 points of connection helps prevent the dog from pulling all their weight forward and putting you both out of balance. Connecting a leash to the dog’s chest and back enables the handler to “steer” the dog in their desired direction and encourages the dog to walk in balance with you. Products such as Halti’s no-pull or front control harnesses paired with their versatile Halti training lead have proven to be successful for many of our customers looking to teach their dogs to stop pulling.

Headcollars: These collars are built with one loop that goes around your dog’s nose and a strap that secures around the back of their head. A leash with two clasps to connect to the collar and the noseband is designed to discourage pulling by giving you control of the direction in which your dog walks. With the leash attached to the dog’s noseband, handlers can create tension when the dog tries to pull forward and redirect their attention back to where you want them to go. Gentle Leaders and Halti Headcollars are created to do this while ensuring your dog’s comfort.

Training Tips

Location & Frequency: 

  • Begin your training sessions in a quiet area with minimal distractions. Going for short walks daily rather than a couple of long ones throughout the week will be beneficial, as repetition is important in successful training.
  • Try to pick a time for your walks when your dog may have less energy, such as later in the evening.
  • The less excitable your dog is during your training sessions, the more responsive they will likely be to your instruction.

Treats:

  • Having treats on hand to reward your dog when they follow your commands and behave how you want them to is a useful tool to enforce a positive association between them and good leash manners.
  • Oven Baked Tradition dog treats are soft and chewy treats that make the perfect reward during training sessions. They are low in calories and have several irresistible flavours to choose from. Find these treats and more at your local Feeds ‘n Needs!

Attention & Focus:

One of the most important things to incorporate into dog training is demanding your dog’s attention. When going for a walk:

  • Remain still and quiet until your dog gives you their attention. Once they are paying attention to you, you may begin walking.
  • If your dog moves too far ahead of you, stop walking before they put tension on the leash and wait for them to return their focus to you.
  • Offer them a treat when they give you their attention or to help encourage them to walk beside you.
  • Consistency and patience are key to this method.

Verbal Commands:

Before you begin teaching your dog proper leash manners, make sure they understand basic obedience commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” etc.

These commands are helpful while leash training as they can be used alongside the attention and focus strategy. If your dog starts to pull, stop and wait for their attention, then give them a command such as “sit” or “heel.” If they perform this command for you, reward them with a treat before releasing them to start walking with another command, like telling them, “okay.”

Try out some of these training tips next time you take your dog for a walk, and remember that consistency is critical with this training!

Visit your local experts at your nearest Feeds ‘n Needs location to check out our great selection of quality leashes, no pull harnesses, headcollars and more! We are always happy to answer any questions you may have!

Tips to Minimize Your Dogs Separation Anxiety
Tips to Minimize Your Dogs Separation Anxiety

Tips To Minimize Your Dogs Separation Anxiety

Many dogs have gained separation anxiety after getting used to having their humans home with them more often over the past few years. Now that life is returning to a sense of normalcy and people are returning to the office, our dogs are left at home to deal with separation anxiety. They don’t understand why all of a sudden we aren’t at home every day with them. While you’re away, your four-legged friend may show signs of distress, such as barking, destructive chewing and even potty accidents or episodes of self-harm. These signs can all be due to separation anxiety.

Separation Anxiety In Dogs Can Be From Different Scenarios Such As:

    • Being left alone for the first time or when used to constant human contact.
    • Suffering a traumatic event, such as time away from you at a boarding kennel.
    • A change in your dog’s routine or the loss of a family member or another pet.

Here Are Some Tips To Help Minimize Your Dogs Separation Anxiety:

  1. Keep arrivals and departures low-key. Ignore your pup for the first few minutes after you get home. 
  2. Leave some recently worn clothes that have your scent on them.
  3. Consider trying an all-natural calming product such as Hemp 4 Paws Hemp Seed Oil. A natural health alternative for pets made with organic cold-pressed hemp seed oil and CO2-extracted hemp terpenes. These products are THC-free, so your pets can experience all of the health benefits of the hemp plant without any psychoactive effects. Ask your Feeds’n Needs Experts for more information on this great product on your next visit!
  4. Give your dog a special toy or treat each time you leave. Only give it to them when you’re gone, and take it away when you get home.
  5. Create a crate routine. Practice keeping your dog in their crate for short periods while you are home and gradually lengthen the time. 
  6. Practice leaving your house for short periods. Not being home, even for a brief amount of time, can help maintain a sense of normalcy and help prevent your dog from becoming too dependent on your presence. 
  7. Confine your dog in a safe place, such as a room with a window and toys that will keep them busy, and never leave them in total isolation.
  8. If you’re really concerned about your dog’s behaviour while you are out of the house, try a pet cam to help give you some peace of mind. Look for a model with two-way features that allow your dog to see and hear you. This trick is helpful for some dogs, while for others, it can make their anxiety worse not knowing where you are but being able to hear you.
  9. Desensitize items such as putting your shoes on and picking up your keys. Try putting on your shoes and then sit down at the table. Or pick up your keys and watch TV. Do this over and over many times a day.

What NOT To Do:

  1. Punishment is never effective in trying to help separation anxiety. It can worsen the situation.
  2. Getting your dog a companion usually doesn’t help an anxious dog because their anxiety results from their separation from you, not just the result of being alone.
  3. Crating your dog without being crate trained. If you do not crate train your dog and try to crate them to help with separation anxiety, they will still engage in anxiety responses inside their crate. They may urinate, defecate, howl/bark or even injure themselves in an attempt to escape.

Don’t rush things when helping your dog minimize their separation anxiety. Only you can tell if your dog is ready to be left home alone for more extended periods. Make sure your pup gets lots of exercise daily. It’s important to challenge your dog’s mind and body. A tired, happy dog will be less stressed when you leave them home.

Sources:

Separation Anxiety: How to Keep Your Dog Calm When You Leave (webmd.com)
Helping dog anxiety | The Humane Society of the United States
24Petwatch: Soothe Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety in These 8 Ways

Outdoor Safety for Indoor Cats
Outdoor Safety for Indoor Cats

Outdoor Safety for Indoor Cats

Many owners with indoor cats are concerned when it comes to letting them out of the house, so we wanted to provide a few tips and tricks for outdoor safety for indoor cats.

First thing’s first: allow your cat to get used to its new environment

If you just brought your cat home for the first time to welcome he or she into your family, it can take several weeks, if not months, before your cat adapts and realizes that your home is permanent for them. A cat who has to get used to their new home must be able to create scent and visual cues to help them feel comfortable in this new, exciting environment. If a cat goes out too early without having any landmarks, it is more likely to get lost once it leaves the house.

Their first outing

So you are ready to let your cat explore the great big world (okay, maybe just your backyard). Firstly, it’s critical to make sure your kitty is equipped with a way to be identified in case you can’t locate them. A collar with their name and your contact information, or a tracking chip are two options to consider before any outing, and should work well if your cat ever goes missing in your neighbourhood. Vaccines against certain feline diseases, in addition to preventative treatments against ticks and fleas are also things to remember before letting them out.

It’s important to provide a calm and safe environment for your pet on their first outing. If you take them out, make sure you’re able to watch them at all times. Closely observe your cats behaviours to make sure they’re at ease and aren’t showing signs of stress. The first few outings should be kept rather short (15-20 minutes), and can be increased as your cat gains confidence outside.

If you find your cat to be more anxious or nervous in nature, taking them outside with a harness to make sure they don’t wander too far away from you is recommended. If you choose to put them in a harness, make sure they are accustomed to wearing it before they head out. It may take a few weeks before he or she is fully comfortable, but you could speed up the process by rewarding them with treats when they are wearing it and are remaining calm.

So you took them outside and all was well. When you return back inside, give your cat some treats! That way, he’ll associate the outing with something positive and rewarding, and will be less reluctant to come back inside in the future.

Why you should take your cat out (if they like it)

For the “outdoor cat” type, there are certainly benefits of letting them outside. 

If your cat is comfortable outdoors, one obvious benefit is that the outdoors is one giant, natural litter box! More importantly, being outside will satisfy your cats natural hunting instincts and allow them to expend their energy in a different yet always-stimulating environment. Not only is this great for their physical health, but like humans, cats reap the great mental benefits of getting some fresh air and connecting with nature. 

Every cat is different. Not all cats are ones that like to be outdoors, and indoor cats can still live a long, healthy and happy life by staying inside.

If you ever have any concerns or questions with taking your cat out, it is always best to contact the veterinarian who takes care of your companion for advice. 

Can a Cat Attach to its Owners
Can a Cat Attach to its Owners

Can a Cat Attach to its Owners?

Have you ever wondered if cats could attach to its owners? Have you ever thought maybe your cat doesn’t like you because they are more of the lonely type? Well, you might be delighted to hear that you could be wrong! A study by Oregon State University concluded that, like dogs, cats actually do become attached to their owners and have been proven to be a source of comfort for the cat.

How do cats recognize their owners?

Contrary to what you might think, cats can recognize their caretakers amongst a crowd of people, but not through vision. Cats cannot distinguish their master through sight. So as unique as you are, your cat can’t pick you out from the crowd based on your good looks. Your cat has to rely on their highly developed senses of smell and hearing to find you! Moreover, cats are accustomed to decoding their owner’s behaviours and habits. This gives them more to pick up on using their elements.

Your cat cares about you!

Like a dog or a human baby, cats develop an attachment to their owners over time. The study determines that cats can have an ambivalent attachment toward their owners. This might ring true to a few cat owners who think their cat may not be as “loving” towards them but still loyal and accustomed to their routines. Cats who are ambivalent tend to be less affectionate and may show signs of stress around their owners, such as wagging their tail, licking their lips and avoiding them. 

On the other hand, for most cats, humans are a sign of comfort and safety in times of stress. Cats get used to the routines you have created for them. They tend to have trouble adapting to changes in that routine, for example, when you go away for the weekend. The study mentions that when cats are in the presence of their master, even after a short time away, it makes them less stressed and shows more signs of comfort. So yes, even when you may not always feel the love from your cat, at the end of the day, they do love you! You may find even more comfort in knowing that the study proves that the connection you have with your cat (whether your cat is attached to you or uncertain) remains totally stable over the years. A happy ever after!