Dogs need order and leadership from their “pack leader,” which means that good canine manners start with you! Here are some basic tips for responsible dog ownership that will help you have a long and healthy relationship with your dog.
1. Get your dog spayed or neutered. Spayed/neutered pets not only live longer and healthier lives, but they also make better companions. The best age to spay/neuter a dog is around five to six months old, at the beginning of puberty. Talk to your vet about the right time for your dog.
2. Provide proper identification. Your dog should always wear an I.D. tag with your name, address and phone number. Getting your dog microchipped gives an added layer of protection and increases the chances that he will be returned to you if he is lost.
3. Get training to help you understand your dog. Knowing your dog’s unique temperament and tendencies will help you to better control how he behaves. A well-behaved dog is less likely to upset people and pets in public places, will be more welcome at gatherings, and will enjoy a better relationship with everyone he meets. Plus, his good manners will reflect positively on you, his responsible owner.
4. Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian. Choose a veterinarian who shares your medical philosophies and beliefs, then follow his/her recommendations for vaccinations, diet, spaying/neutering, annual checkups, and other care.
5. Make time for your dog. Owning a dog is a big responsibility that takes time and discipline. Make time daily to pet, play with, take on walks, or do other activities with your dog that are fun for both of you.
6. Give your dog regular exercise appropriate for his breed, age, size, and other unique characteristics. Whether it’s a short walk or a rousing game of fetch, exercise is essential to your dog’s physical and behavioral health.
7. Provide shelter for your dog. A crate or doghouse is an ideal place for your dog to rest and sleep for a limited amount of time. The enclosure should be large enough for your dog to sit, stand and turn around comfortably, but small enough to retain his body heat inside the shelter.
8. Travel safely. Keep your dog safe in the car by using a crate or by attaching the dog to a seat belt with a harness. Never let your dog ride free in the back of a pickup truck (he could be thrown into traffic) or allow him to hang his head out of the car window (a danger to his eyes).
9. Watch for temperature extremes. Never leave your dog in the car if it is extremely hot or cold outside. Your car is like an oven under the blazing sun and a freezer in the bitter cold.
Nikki Visoky is a dog behavioral therapist and trainer with Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog training company. Bark Busters trainers, who have trained more than 500,000 dogs worldwide, are renowned authorities in correcting dog behavior with all-natural, dog-friendly methods. Bark Busters training is the only service of its kind that offers guaranteed lifetime support. With hundreds of offices in 42 states and 10 countries, Bark Busters is continuing its mission to enhance the human-canine relationship and reduce the possibility of maltreatment, abandonment and euthanasia of companion dogs. SPCA International selected Bark Busters’ dog behavioral training services as the “Best of the Best” in their category. No other training company or dog trainer has received such a distinction. For more details, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit www.BarkBusters.com to find a dog trainer in your area, complete a Dog Behavior Quiz, or learn about becoming a Bark Busters franchise owner.
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