Proper Training Can Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
by Lee Dobbins
Adopting a dog is a lot of fun, but it can also add a lot of responsibilities to your life. When you become a dog owner, you take on the responsibility to make sure your pet has everything he needs, a safe environment to live in, proper care, and everything he needs for a happy and healthy life! It’s a big step to care for a dog, but you’ll be rewarded with a loving companion.
The first step in providing a good life for your pet and making sure your dog remains safe is to get him trained properly. Believe it or not, many people do not see to this important task and then wonder why their dog jumps up on visitors or won’t listen to their commands. Many a dog has been considered a “bad” pet when all he really needed was the owner to take the time out to train him properly.
If you train your dog properly, not only will he have some cool tricks to show off, but it will also add to his safety. Should your dog be heading off into a dangerous situation, your obedience training will come in handy and you can call him back to your side and safety. A well trained dog will be well behaved around strangers and the family – an obedient companion. Plus the training process can help define you as the master and act as a bonding experience for you and your pet. You can train a dog on your own, or you can join an obedience training class and get instruction from professionals.
You want to make sure your pet is as healthy as can be and part of dog ownership is to provide your dog with excellent veterinary care. A yearly physical exam should be performed and any vaccinations updated. Also make sure you put him on the right heartworm and flea and tick medications. If you notice a difference in your dogs behavior schedule a vet appointment right away. Even a small change in habits, mood, eating or elimination pattern should be checked by your vet – it could be nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! Have your dog neutered or spayed – they WILL be much happier.
Providing a safe environment for your dog is up to you as the pet owner. Make sure there are no places your dog can get stuck in or fall from and there is no sharp objects like nails or pins laying around. Everyone in the family should know not to leave the door open so that your dog can run out in the street. Refrain from feeding your dog “people” food as some of it can be harmful to them. Chocolate, for example, can even be deadly!
Grooming your dog can be a good time to bond with your pet and can also help him stay healthy. Brushing his coat, trimming his nails, cleaning his ears and around the eyes are all part of good dog health. Proper dental care is the most important grooming task you can do for your dog. Bacteria that builds up on the teeth can break away and cause health issues in other organs of the body. Brushing every other day is recommended to keep your dog’s mouth clean and will have the added bonus of giving him fresh breath!
Hopefully you’ll never need to enact it, but you should have a plan for the dog in case of emergency. What if there is a fire or some other disaster? Make sure someone is responsible to get your pet out of the house in case of emergency. It’s not a bad idea to have a designated person that can mind your dog on short notice if you get called out of town on an emergency.
Bringing a dog into your family, you are committing to provide that dog with all the things he needs for a happy and healthy life. Some dogs can live into their teens if taken care of properly. That’s a long commitment on your part, but the rewards are so great that the commitment pales by comparison.