How to Be a Great Pet Parent and a Mindful Dog Owner
Owning a dog can be a source of great joy, but it’s also a big responsibility. For some dog owners, their animals are much like family members, and as such they sometimes get a pass for bad or raucous behavior. It’s important, however, to remember that your dog needs to be well-trained so he can learn how to interact with other people and other animals. Otherwise, you may be setting him (and yourself) up for a difficult time in the years to come.
The way your pet behaves around others is important not only for your family and friends, but for your neighbors, particularly those who don’t own pets themselves. Dogs, particularly bully breeds, can easily get a bad rap if they are noisy when left outside or if you allow them to jump on people. If your dog is prone to barking or jumping, it’s especially important to teach him correct behavior. After all, an unhappy neighbor can lead to all sorts of issues.
Comfy Carepacks shares some top tips for being a great dog parent and owner.
Train him well
Training your dog is the best way to ensure his success in the world around him. Even if your dog is usually well behaved, it’s a good idea to go over basic commands and make sure he understands not to jump up on visitors, how to be quiet, and how to obey in general. Consider hiring a trainer to help your pup brush up on his manners, or look online for some easy at-home tips.
Wear him out
If your dog has a lot of energy and becomes unruly because of it, take him for long walks in the morning and at night, head to the dog park for a run on the trails, and spend some time throwing a ball for him to fetch whenever you can. Not sure where the nearest dog park is? It’s probably pretty close! You can use a dog park finder like this one from Nylabone.
If you work long hours, you might consider hiring someone to come in and play with him during the day so he can get some of that pent-up energy out.
If you’re going to let your pup run around in your yard to exercise, your neighbors will certainly appreciate a fence around your property. A fence can also prevent your dog from escaping. Find a fence company by visiting websites that offer customer reviews and ratings to help you make your decision on who to hire. Fence installation averages $4,500 depending on the size of your fence, materials you use, and your location.
Give him extra attention
Your dog may begin to act out if he’s feeling lonely or overlooked; some will begin to damage their owner’s belongings, while others might become withdrawn. If your pet is showing signs that he’s in need of something, make it a point to spend more time with him. Get up a few minutes earlier in the morning and play with him, or snuggle for a few minutes before bed every night. Making even small changes to your routine to show him some love may improve his mood quite a bit.
Limit stress – for both of you
Dogs have a very keen ability to pick up on our emotions. So if you’re feeling stressed, it’s likely your dog will feel stressed. This is often compounded if you have a high-stress job; if you bring that energy home, it’s going to affect your dog as well. So, find ways to limit your stress for your own benefit and your pup’s. You can start by keeping your home clean, organized and clutter-free. Put away piles of laundry, create a storage system and ensure your pup has easy access to his food and water dishes, crate, bed and toys. In addition, make use of techniques that contribute to stress reduction. Try breathing exercises, or limiting racing thoughts. You can also incorporate a daily meditation practice. Last but not least, spend some time with your dog so they know they’re loved. Soon enough, you’ll feel less stress, and so will your dog.
Reward good behavior
Dogs learn through commands, but they also learn that good behavior will earn a reward if you stay consistent with your training. Keep small treats in your pocket and make it a point to give your pup one when he obeys your command; kneel down and pet him at the same time to help him connect obedience with love. Read on here for more tips on positive reinforcement.
It’s hard to train a dog if you don’t stay consistent, so make sure you acknowledge his good behavior every time, not just sometimes. When he jumps up on a guest or barks at the neighbors, let him know that it’s not okay. As long as you stay on top of the training, your dog will too.
Your dog likely wants to please you and will make every effort to win your approval, so go easy on him if he has trouble remembering his manners. Try to be patient and give him lots of love and attention while he’s learning, and he’ll thank you in kind by being a sweet and loyal companion.