For those who simply can’t fathom why anyone would want to share their home with any other animal than a human, they’re truly missing out. Animal lovers around the world report an elevated sense of belonging, feelings of unconditional love, and not to mention a truly unique and even spiritual bond.
Whether you’re planning on adopting an older dog from the shelter or else (with extreme caution and copious research) bringing a puppy into the family, then you should most definitely continue reading.
1. Let Them Come to You
It can be understandably more than a little tempting to shower your new dog, with affection both physically and verbally, and to overcrowd them.
Unlike rabbits, who’ll show their disproval to an overbearing owner by digging their claws into their arm, dogs are far more likely to expect this behavior every single day if they’re exposed to it from the beginning. Let your dog come to you, to smell and sense their surroundings, and to explore their new home and garden.
2. Learn About the Breed
The differences between breeds of dog vary in much more ways than simply aesthetics, so be sure to find out everything you can about your specific breed and look into everything from common problems in old age to how old is my dog in human years?
Broadly speaking, all breeds that are registered with the American Kennel Club can be generally classified as falling under one of seven groups, which include:
- Toy dogs
- Working dogs
- Non-sporting dogs
- Sporting dogs
- Herding dogs
3. Feed Them Properly
As you would expect, a dog’s relationship to food and mealtimes is an important and valuable one, with tasty treats being the number-one motivator behind training and tricks.
Nutrition is an essential element to your dog’s overall level of happiness and of course, a huge contributor to their health and it’s your responsibility to ensure that their food is rich in the right types of vitamins and minerals.
Always read the label of any dog food that you buy and don’t be taken in by cheap supermarket deals, as more than often than not, they contain high levels of ash and other debris along with the food itself. To add a new dimension to the energy levels of your precious pooch, look to introduce dog-safe fruit and vegetables that contain live enzymes, as well as whole foods that will greatly help your dog’s digestion.
Other tips when planning your dog’s meals and treats include the following:
- Giving them only lightly cooked meat instead of overcooked meat
- Avoiding anything containing gluten
- Limiting the treats you give your dog and feed them less if they’re overweight
- Feed them carrots which act as a natural tooth cleaner and strengthen gums
- Wash your dog’s bowls with vinegar (much better than chemical cleaners)
4. Learn How to Speak “Doggie”
Communicating with your pet dog, or indeed any other domesticated animal, means much more than simple commands and the best way to learn the language that your individual dog speaks is to spend as much time as possible with them.
Study their movements, their physical and emotional responses to certain situations and stimuli and learn how to comfort them when they’re stressed (a particularly useful way of connecting with them further).
When talking to a puppy or younger dog, slow down your words and heighten the pitch and the overall tone of your voice, and when your dog becomes full-grown, use your normal voice. Facial expressions play a much larger part in helping your dog to understand what you’re saying than you may think, so for example, be clear to associate praise with a big smile and outstretched hands.
5. Establish Boundaries & Discipline
The fifth and final important tool that you have at your disposal as the leader of the pack is related to boundaries and discipline and setting and managing them respectively.
Training your dog should be one of your top priorities and contrary to the cliché that you simply “can’t teach an old dog new tricks”; with enough patience and time each day, your older dog will be rolling over before you know it.
In terms of setting boundaries with your dog, as long as you’re firm in your decision, for example, to only allow your dog on the bed at night and not throughout the day, or to let them lie on one sofa but not the other and not change your mind multiple times, your dog will quickly learn what they’re allowed and not allowed to do.
Disciplining your dog is, as so many people say, considerably easier than training and they are in fact, two entirely separate things. The most important thing to remember regarding disciplining is to never shout at your dog and instead always stay quiet, calm yet meaningful, and authoritative.