Responsible Dog Ownership

The top 5 things responsible dog owners have in common

By Renée Erdman

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Photo credit: Wagner Cezar/CC

Their dogs get daily physical exercise

Depending on the breed and size, your exercise sessions may range from 20-60 minutes, multiple times a day. Consult with your vet to determine what is appropriate. Dogs need physical exercise for a variety of reasons.  Bored dogs become bad dogs. They dig, bark and chew. Vary your walks in terms of route and intensity to keep it interesting and enriching. And don’t forget: every walk has the opportunity to be a training session.

Their dogs gets daily mental stimulation

In my last article, we discussed how important it is to provide a stimulating environment for dogs. Mental exercise is a key component for a dog’s health that should be implemented every day. You can achieve many things with mental stimulation, ranging from building confidence to de-stressing dogs with high levels of anxiety. Every meal can become a mental stimulation session!Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 5.53.52 PM

They have routine vet visits

Oftentimes when I visit a client and their dog is acting strangely or misbehaving, I ask when their last vet visit was. A dog that is not feeling well is a dog that is likely acting cranky or reactive, so it’s important to rule out any health issues. Routine vet visits are important, and we must make them a priority.

Their nutrition is in check

Have you ever observed a child trying to sit still in a classroom after a breakfast of Froot Loops and juice?  I can imagine teachers must struggle with this quite often.  Many dogs are not getting the exercise they need and are being fed low quality food — a dangerous combination. Optimum nutrition enables our dogs to retain knowledge and allows for their bodies to function at a high level. Often, guardians turn to obedience training for behavior issues when a change in diet may actually be part of the solution.

They use humane, force-free training methods

If your goal is to have a well-balanced, well-behaved and content dog, your relationship needs to be based on trust. If we use fear, intimidation and pain to train, we break those bonds and damage our relationships. Long-term results do not come about overnight and can’t be produced with the shock of an electric collar. Reward-based training helps to promote a trusting relationship and ensures that your dog enjoys the learning process.