Man’s best friend, indeed. Dogs are adorable and loyal, and if you’re lucky enough to count one as part of your family, there’s a lot you should know about how to keep them happy and healthy — and yourself safe. To get you started on the right paw (or paw-steps), we’ve put together some of our favorite tips for dog owners, from caring for puppies to training your adult dog.
1. Keeping your dog safe
Having a dog is a big responsibility. Make sure your dog is safe by following these dog safety guidelines:
1)Keep your dog on a leash. Even the friendliest dog can turn into a predator if it sees an animal or person it wants to chase.
2) Make sure your dog is vaccinated.
3) Be aware of where you are walking your dog.You can take well-lit photos along the way to use as safety cues.
4) When walking your dog, focus on listening instead of barking. Pay attention to your surroundings, too, including other dogs near the area.
5) Littering, playing, chasing, or chasing your dog is never a good idea — it could lead to aggressive and even dangerous behavior.
6) Leash your dog close to the dog park so it is visible to other dogs. You can also place a “Keep Away” sign in yards and/or parks if you want to make your area dog-approved.
7) Do not mix breeds. Even if your pit bull is kiddo-size, you cannot mix breeds in the park. An off-leash dog is a prospect for trouble.
8) Make sure your dog has room to move around. Even though you might think your dog is alpha (and he is), there is movement at certain locations that makes your training more difficult. For your own safety, it is a good idea to keep distractions near other dogs or wait until your dog is near a member of your family.
9) Leave toys and treats for fellow dog owners. If your dog barks or growls at people walking their dogs, treat the dogs nearby with treats. Always remember to be compassionate. Don’t demand that other people keep their animals on a leashes.
10) If you’re unsure of your dog’s behavior around other dogs at training sites or at parks, check in with other dog owners in the area to observe their dogs. Make sure you are on the same page as these other dog owners. If they see a dog ahead of you lunging at another dog, they may need to adjust their approach.
2. Choosing a dog breed
When choosing a dog breed, it’s important to consider the lifestyle you lead and the amount of time you can dedicate to taking care of a dog. If you live in an apartment, for example, smaller breeds like Pomeranians and Chihuahuas are better suited to your lifestyle.If you live in an urban setting or prefer a rural lifestyle, a deerhound or miniature bulldog may be a better fit for your area. Although we love the brash responds well with a bark, we’ve found that our German shepherds have a softer persona. “Even though they can become very dominant in a home setting, a German shepard is naturally very willing to show affection toward and play with people it deems to be ‘friends,’” says Brittany Alexander, a now-retired dog trainer. “Dogs that act this way tend to have stronger bond and another-dog type of personalities.” To start bonding with your new (or old) canine companion, just as you might choose an employee — you should look for someone who’s smart, funny, devoted and someone you’d like to spend more time with and love. If your pets are good with kids, start teaching them to respect the original family’s space. “Your puppy knows if your kid is in the room within five minutes of them being in the room together,” says Alexander. “What this communicates to the dog is that it is not a place for your child. No child likes having to sit next to a chew toy. My younger daughter learns very quickly that kids will not be allowed to chew on food or in her bed.” If the temperament of your dogs doesn’t mesh well with kids, these tips will help you decide what type of dog you want for your family. Note that just because you may turn to specific breeds for this reason doesn’t mean they will make all the perfect family of family members. There’s no right or wrong breed, and that’s up to you.
3. House training your pup
House training is the process of teaching your puppy to use the bathroom outside. There are several ways to house train your puppy, including crate training, paper training and indoor potty training. Crate training and paper training are the easiest and most effective ways of getting your puppy used to using the bathroom outside. Make sure your dog has a litterbox, but don’t rely on it for the entire day. Rather than leaving your puppy outside all day without using the litterbox, teach them to use it periodically. This prevents urine from accumulating in the holes, protects the neighborhood and even gives your baby an extra daily dose of “grade A human daily consciousness.” Many dog breeds start out peeing in the fresh litter each morning, so wake your puppy up before sunrise (or after sunset if a few star clusters dot the sky) for that morning’s pee! Your puppy will thank you. To train your adult dog or puppy to use a chew-toy, split a Kong (or similar chew toy) in half and set it on the ground somewhere in your property. Then, walk around the property with your dog chasing after the piece of Kong (or other chew toy) comfortably. After several days, your dog will figure out the game, and a piece of Kong should be just about enough for them to gobble up. Signs your dog isn’t getting along with another dog are obvious: The dog barks less, avoids approach, locks the door, growls more or makes large, rumbling noises. To solve this problem, sit down with your dog and discuss any differences in how the dogs like to live together. Use this time to work out any loose ends, and try to find a solution that’s mutually acceptable for both of you. Make your dog pay extra attention. This one can be a tricky one, since you may not be able to monitor your dog’s every move 24/7. If you do find yourself awake at night unable to get a good night’s sleep, allow your dog to go outside to relieve themselves.
4. Picking a dog food
There are a few things you should consider when picking a dog food. The first thing to consider is the size of the dog. Smaller dogs will need a smaller food, and larger dogs will need a bigger food. The second thing you should consider is the age. Puppies and older dogs need different nutrients and will need different food.And the third thing to consider is whether you want a bark-y (very aggressive/angry) dog or a calm (non-aggressive) dog. PICKING THE RIGHT DOGS Whether you’re keeping a family of six or a pack of 15, the right dog is essential to happiness. If we’re being honest, it usually doesn’t matter what breed of dog you choose, but if your decision is based on looks (as in any dog show), more people want Goldendoodles. Guess you’re not going to find a snuggly, dashing Goldendoodle anywhere near a Boston Terrier. Dogs with shorter snouts, faces, and ears also do not perform as well in trainings. Secondly, they will likely chew up your furniture and damage your floors. Think in terms of your presence at the home and your safety — not just the number of dogs in the home. Instead, it’s best to choose a large breed that looks like a Heron with a slightly larger head and body. Look for a large dog so that when you walk your dog, it has a long neck, not a death-stick shape, and the nose stops inside a nice, broad, backside. Gasping isn’t a look for this dog. Instead you want an intelligent, confident dog who knows that your walk is a good time to turn around and look you in the eye for the puppy-dog-smell reward. So, while you’re at your local shelter looking for a tall working dog, consider how the temperature plays into your dog’s choice of dog food. Once the shelter has gotten your new dog’s name and breed, it becomes a lot easier to find her a well-temosed friend who won’t growl all afternoon.
5. Grooming your dog
Grooming your dog is an important part of his or her health care. Not only does it remove dead hair and reduce shedding, but it makes your dog look better, feel better, and smell better.It puts the “ball” in your dog’s tail. So get your pooch pedaled on a trusted grooming kit and indulge in showtime. 1. KNOW YOUR DOG’S PAIN TRIGGER KITS Some dogs fur gather “sore” or “itchy” tingles in their paws or face, which means they pain. When it comes to treating nagging discomfort or pain UKP certification programs like the AmStaff-approved “triggers” give dog owners and their pooches the tools, knowledge, and inclination to resolve the problem. “By having a prescreening meeting with an AmStaff-approved provider, you will be able to identify pain suppressant, anti-itch and anti-rash foods that can be offered to your pet,” explains Beth Kaplan, an Evo certified trainer who coaches people on achieving their canine health goals. 2. ADOPT SOME PRETZELS Dogs may be semi-tough (think bite-sized ear tags), but that doesn’t mean you have to give them an eight-foot pole. If you know you and your dog like to walk outside together, keep these small pieces nearby so your two best friends can wander around your neighborhood with peace of mind. 3. PAWS HAPPEN You’ve now entered pup heaven. “Paws play a significant role in dog food choice, absorption, blood flow, nest-site preference, sheltering behavior and social interactions,” says Dana Angelo White, a certified strength and conditioning specialist at SB Nation Camp Rock Camp for Kids. “To achieve excellent walking and outdoor performance from a protected breed like a Basset, Chub, Pomeranian, or Shih Tzu, plan to increase the length and frequency of outdoor walks and to switch from leashes to a cord or collar around the neck to take advantage of the benefits of bodyweight control.” And when you are ready for more outdoor activity, see this list of Adopt-A-Dog Day programs across the country.
6. Keep up with your dog’s health
If you have a dog, keep up with its health. Make sure to go to the vet for regular check-ups, and make sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. If you need to bathe your dog, make sure to use a shampoo designed specifically for dogs, and follow up with a conditioning treatment. 1MAKE YOUR DOG SNEAKY Despite being a round-headed creature, dogs can be very smart animals. When startled, or startled in general, they send a set of nerves down the spinal cord to the brain stem. They do this so they can react to whatever stimulus is just outside the area where their nerves are located. This can happen anywhere from a loud noise to the smell of a 50-mile per hour speeding ticket. Not only will your pup still be breathing, even if his or her reaction to your shock is stronger than what’s normally felt by an animal who wouldn’t be startled, but having a bit of distance can combat the “flight-or-fight” response a dog typically has. If you decide to let your dog get outside, try leaving a few feet of space around you. Some people intentionally find shoes or other objects on the ground that can hide a dog’s scent as they walk by, and if you can get your dog to stand in front of you and remain in view of the ground, then you’ve made a great step one in keeping your puppy safe. 2HAVE AN ANTENNA If dogs have an aversion to a particular smell or sound, they may be scared even if it’s nothing more than a trash can moving slowly down the street. When this happens, you’ll find that your puppy’s anxiety is exponentially worse than a scared child or other pet. Treating your dog like a wild animal (rather than like a bundle of wet towels waiting to get to the vet) can help get it to calm down if it starts acting panicked. If they start growling, stop what you’re doing and come over to pet your puppy.
7. Walk your dog frequently, and make sure they’re getting enough exercise every day
It’s important to walk your dog frequently, at least once a day, if not twice. Your dog needs exercise to stay healthy, so make sure you are giving them enough exercise. Reevaluate your own home. Are the rooms and areas that are “at distressing levels” bright and inviting for your dog to come to and spend time in? Your dog can be drawn to dark places around the house if there are smells (like urine), so make sure you’re offering as much territory for your pup to use as they wish. Help your dog find toys and bones. While most older dogs can sniff out toys from a mile away, running and jumping on people’s shoulders and barking at them where the bones are is a far more difficult task that your dog can easily accomplish. If you have an easily accessible yard for your dog to run around, give them a few toys to explore and evidence of the bones they’re digging up — whatever it takes to keep them interested. Always keep your dog on a short leash. There have been studies that have shown that the more a dog is off-leash in an enclosed space, the more aggressive and damaging they tend to be. Help keep your dog safe by only letting them outside for short amounts of time, and talk to them outside about it. Keep your home neat. A clean, neat home sets the expectation for your dog that everything is always clean and neat, and the added exercise helps curb their restlessness. Play with them. Do some outdoor exercises with your dog and encourage them to sniff out the local deterrents (insects, slimy pets) that scurry around your neighborhood. Have them follow you as you walk and jostle for their playing pieces as you play fetch with them. Prepare your car for short trips.
8. Feed your dog a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs
Feeding your dog a high-quality diet is important for their health, but it can be hard to know what is good for them. To make sure your dog is eating right, follow these guidelines:
-Make sure your dog is getting the nutrients they need for healthy development.These include a variety of quality protein sources, such as eggs, meat, seafood and vegetables. -Make sure there are plenty of high-quality carbohydrates and fiber. For example, adding apple slices to your dog’s drink or splitting a bagel between the two of you can keep them full, satisfied and energized.
-Don’t forget fruits and vegetables, too. Double-filing fruit as snacks is always a hit with our pups. -Give your pooch a daily vitamin or mineral boost and try getting your dog a multivitamin with more than 30 different micro-nutrients. Try including more fruits and veggies, bones, seeds and some animal byproducts, like dog food. Or try turning your dog’s favorite treats into treats instead. These strategies are all low-hanging fruit that you can start implementing as soon as possible. Going the extra mile to make sure your pup has healthful nutrition is a worthwhile investment.
9. Take your dog to the vet regularly for checkups and vaccines
If you own a dog, you should try to take them to the vet for checkups and vaccines regularly, just like you would for any other human family member. If you don’t have the money to take your dog to the vet, you should consider getting insurance to cover your pet’s health care expenses. If you have a pet, your veterinarian should be able to give you advice about how and when to get your dog vaccinated. At the same time, you and your veterinarian should be able to create an individualized vaccination schedule for your particular dog, depending on how often you bring your dog to the vet, the type of dog you have, and much more. As with any pet, your dog’s behavior could causing other problems, which is why it’s key to take any precautions you can to get your dog socialized and healthy as soon as possible. There are things you can do to make your dog a better pet for you, like increasing the time they spend indoors with you and getting them on a daily walks. After you’ve vaccinated your dog, keep an eye out for canine distemper. This contagious disease affects primarily dogs and is spread through the air when dogs “round” (play together, as if for the ball, see-saw, etc.) and then sneeze, cough, or talk. Some people may also have an upset stomach, but it’s rare. The good news is that if you have an indoor dog, dog parks offer some important shelter and outdoor areas for dogs, and with the right practices, purrs, rugby pups, and cross-contaminated breath can be found in other locations too. So, make sure your dog is socialized and healthy, and at the very least, he or she will be off your back tons of the time. Pet insurance can really help you maintain control of your pet’s health while also ensuring that you aren’t responsible for any excess expenses (like pain and illness). Asking for a pet insurance policy as part of your auto or homeowners insurance can be even more helpful.
10. Train your dog so they can be safe around you and others
Training your dog is an important aspect of making sure that they’re accepting of your lifestyle and that they’re safe around other people. Dogs that are well-behaved and can control their emotions around other people are much less likely to cause harm to others. Consideration Before bringing a new pet to your home, consider what the best environment is for your new addition. If you’re traveling with a dog, choose a cabin where you won’t have to hear other people or pets for excessive duration. Ownership Your dog will need to be spayed or neutered, and it is important to hit all the correct puberty signs. This includes marking important body areas, like the eyes and underarms. If your puppy pees on furniture, mark it, or improve the furniture if the animal won’t learn this behavior after repetition. This will keep the furniture from getting an F-grade odor. Toys Give your dog a T-shirt or other item with a collar and a tag to indicate that it’s a play set, and teach your puppy to bite a rubber ball when it gets tired. Grooming your dog It is important to remember that just because your dog is a “furrayer” or “pet” that means he or she has personal grooming practices and etiquette to remember. Thus, try visiting a local groomer. There are several grooming companies who offer classes for people who want to adopt dogs. Greyhounds, Chows, and Boston Terriers are the three most common breeds that are available to potential adopters. Also, take your time in choosing a dog who matches your lifestyle. A ball of fur is, in other words, less than ideal. Make a profile of your ideal dog. Pet sitting As I’ve written before, many of our clients will bring their pets with them on vacation. If you don’t like the idea, you’re going to be designated pet sitting for the duration of your vacation.