Posted on February 14 2018
By: Aurora James
More than half of all homes in America house a furry friend. Unfortunately, not all of those homes are pet friendly, despite owner’s best efforts. If you want to be a great dog owner, treat him like family. Here’s how:
Pick the right dog. Choose a breed that fits your lifestyle. For instance, if you are in an apartment, don’t choose a high-energy dog that is best suited for farm life. He or she will only get bored and make you the talk of the complex, and not in a good way. Bored dogs tend to bark, whine, and chew everything in sight.
Keep your hands to yourself (unless they are petting position). NextGenDog.com notes that hitting an animal is never appropriate action, even if you are training. You will only make your dog scared of you and everyone else, and this may lead to negative actions, such as barking, biting, or running away.
Understand the commitment. When you bring a dog into your family, it is a lifelong commitment. Barring extenuating circumstances, such as a child developing a sudden allergy or an unexpected inability to provide a safe environment, your dog should be with you until the day they die. Cesar Millan asserts your pet should not be surrendered to an animal shelter but instead put in the care of a friend or family family or no-kill rescue until a forever home can be established.
Give them exercise. As a responsible pet owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your dog has adequate exercise. One of the best ways to do this is by taking your canine companion on regular outings to your local dog park. Here, your pet will have an opportunity to socialize while burning off excess energy. Dog parks also provide you an entirely new group of people to get to know and possibly establish new friendships with active animal lovers like yourself. If you’ve not yet made a trip to a local dog park - or are looking for a change of scenery - use a site like Rover.com which lists dog parks by city. Here’s a quick sample: Knoxville, Madison, Indianapolis, Albuquerque, San Jose, Portland, Miami, Calgary, Saint Paul and Raleigh.
Follow through with basic training. You don’t have to teach your pet the fine art of the dramatic drop when shot with a pretend gun but he or she should understand how to sit, stay, and heel. Be consistent in your training and only offer rewards when they’ve done what they are supposed to.
Feed them well. Low end dog foods contain considerably less nutrition than your dog needs, regardless of his or her activity level. While it may be more expensive per bag, better dog food will have more staying power and provide your pup with all the nutrition needed for healthy growth and development. BarkPost’s list of the top 10 dog foods is a good starting point but you should check with your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet and to determine his or her nutritional needs.
Give your dog a space of their own. Provide your dog with their own cozy corner where they can retreat when feeling overwhelmed or tired. An appropriately-sized dog crate or comfy cushion beside your bed should do the trick. Dogs that spend plenty of time outdoors should also have access to a covered area and plenty of water.
Don’t skimp on medical care. Your dog is a living, breathing being just like yourself and as such will require medical care from time to time. Visit your veterinarian for checkups at least once per year, keep his teeth clean, and ensure your dog is up to date on all required vaccines. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog and a happy dog makes for a happy dog owner.
Your dog is one of the most important members of your family and one that will offer unconditional love throughout life’s ups and downs. Treat them with respect and he will behave in a way that reflects your devotion and draw attention in all the right ways.