You’re planning to get the pup you always wanted, and you want him to experience the best of everything a pet can get. Most of all, you want your pet to be happy and healthy – tail wagging, trusting, and delighted with your companionship. However, perfect visions and imperfect realities don’t always match. What can you do to make your vision of a happy family dog as real as you possibly can?
Have the Budget
Keeping a pet dog has its costs. Most essential to cover are food and veterinary care. While food is easy enough to calculate and factor into your budget, the cost of veterinary care for a sick dog can come as a shock. This Old House has reviewed some affordable pet insurance options. Consider choosing one if you aren’t sure about your ability to cope with unexpected dog-related medical costs.
Dogs are sociable animals that like to feel part of a family. That’s exactly why they make such good pets. However, that does mean that your new puppy, and later, your adult dog will need a lot of your time. First prize? Someone at home for most of the day to keep your dog company. A dog that’s feeling bored, lonely, and neglected will act out. He isn’t happy. You aren’t happy. It’s a far cry from the relationship you were hoping for.
Keep it Positive
Every puppy needs training to become a good companion. Harsh discipline is not the answer! It can even make your dog behave aggressively towards you or other members of your family. Train within your dog’s capacity to learn. Keep it positive. Offer rewards. The worst punishment you’ll inflict? Ignoring your dog for a few minutes!
Take Your Dog to School
Even if you’re perfectly capable of training your own dog, puppy school and dog school will be a benefit. Your dog gets used to socializing with other dogs. He also gets to realize that every single stranger isn’t necessarily a threat. Don’t worry! He’ll still protect your property – he’s just less likely to bite first and be sorry afterward.
Take Him for Walks and Outings
Your dog’s energy can be charming! But excess energy will find an outlet and you won’t necessarily approve of your dog’s choice. Daily walks and occasional outings will work off energy and add interest to his or her life. Do keep your dog on a leash unless you are in a safe place and you’re absolutely sure your pet will come when called.
Give Your Dog a Healthy Diet
Table scraps are not good for dogs. Consult your veterinarian on a good, affordable dog feeding programme starting with puppy food and progressing to a formulation that’s meant for adult dogs. Treats are great for motivation. Keep them small, and opt for treats that were designed with doggy health in mind.
It’s Not Rocket Science – But it Does Require Some Thought
Keeping your dog healthy and happy isn’t terribly hard work, but before you get one, you should do some thinking. A dog isn’t just there for your pleasure. He or she is a living creature with needs, and if you aren’t sure you can fulfill them, you shouldn’t get one. Sign up as a volunteer at an animal welfare organization if you want the canine contact but aren’t sure you can sustain your part of the deal full-time.