There are eight needs to be aware of when raising a dog. If you don’t meet your dog’s needs successfully, your dog may act out in an inappropriate or destructive manner. Keep in mind that dog’s will use their paws or mouth to release boredom or frustration. If you meet all the following needs successfully, your dog’s frustration or boredom level will be eliminated:
1. Exercise. Again, you may see destructive behaviors due to boredom. If your dog has an excess of pent up energy, he or she may release it by chewing up the hose, garden or other objects. Most dogs need thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise five times a week.
2. Leadership. Provide your dog with strong and fair leadership. Dogs are pack animals. In the pack there is the alpha figure all the way down to the omega. If you are not the alpha figure to your dog, your dog will feel the need to take that position. Your dog will be much happier and well-adjusted if you step up to the plate and take the role as leader!
3. Companionship. As we said before, dogs are pack animals and see you as an extension of their pack. They need to be able to spend time with you as much as possible. A dog should not be your lawn ornament. If you are going to own a dog, he or she should be as much a part of the family as possible. Please don’t use the excuse that your dog is too big to come into the house. If you can come into the house, I think your dog can too! The best way to fulfill some of your dog’s companionship needs is to have your dog sleep inside at night. This will also prevent your dog from barking unnecessarily at night and keeping you and the neighbors awake. The best protection is to have your dog in the house with you. If you hired a personal bodyguard, would you keep him outside in the backyard or outside your bedroom door? Which area of protection would make the most sense? Your dog will be much more effective as a protector and deterrent if he or she is in the house with you.
4. Consistency. As with children, learning is best when praise and correction is applied fairly and consistently. Dogs tend to be creatures of habit and love to have a schedule!
5. Socialization. You need to socialize your dog from a young age. Many cities now have off leash dog parks that you can take your dog to socialize with other canines. Try to expose your dog to a number of different elements as soon as possible. Try taking your dog with you on your next visit to the beach, Santa Monica Promenade, or Starbucks. Allow people to pet your new puppy. This will make your dog more predictable to different situations.
6. Altering. With pet overpopulation an ever-continuing problem, please give every consideration to spaying or neutering your pets. By altering your dog, you may eliminate potential health problems. A male dog up to 5 miles away can smell a bitch in season, without wind! By altering your male, you will prevent the need for him to escape from the yard. Spaying or neutering does not make dogs fat, overfeeding does. Don’t have your dog have a litter just so your children can experience birth, show them a video. However, if you feel the need to breed your dog, please make sure that your pet goes through the suggested tests to prevent producing dogs with heritable diseases. If you are going to breed, make it a point to better the breed. Breed for temperament, health and conformation.
7. Nutrition. Feed your dog a healthy diet. Steer clear of grocery store dog food brands. Most are filled with fillers that cause your dog to have more bowel movements than necessary. You can find a quality dog food in any pet store or feed store. If your dog is being fed a nutritious diet, your dog will be more focused and alert. It is similar to sending your child to school without a good breakfast. They will not be attentive, nor do well in class.
8. Health. Good health speaks for itself. Your dog will have a difficult time learning if he or she is experiencing an ear infection or has intestinal worms. Be sure to look into the heritable problems that run in your dog’s breed and have your vet check for them. For example, large dogs tend to have hip and elbow dysplasia, while small dogs can have knee problems. Most new puppies have intestinal worms. There are new products on the market that are one pill for numerous purposes. Sentinel can prevent your dog from hookworms, tapeworms, round worms, heart worms, be a flea birth control pill and more. Have your new puppy’s stool checked for coccidia or giarrdia. Keep your dog up to date on vaccines. It is suggested that your dog goes through a series of Distemper, Parvo, Para influenza, Hepatitis, Lepto, and Corona shots. It is mandatory that your dog receive a Rabies vaccine at four months of age. You must get your dog’s license with the city animal control at this time as well. You may want to consider having your dog vaccinated for Bordetella and Lyme disease as well. Talk to your vet about these vaccines.