Having a strong, healthy bond with your dog leads to a more rewarding pet ownership experience for both you and your four-legged friend. Here are 13 tips to help you and your dog foster a bond that’s fun and fulfilling for the whole family!
- Maintain a consistent and predictable routine with a regular schedule—this helps to alleviate stress and anxiety for your dog. Include walks, exercise, and playtime at the same times daily, as well as consistently timed and spaced meals.
- Your dog can readily read your emotions, actions, and body language! Make your goodbyes short and sweet when you must leave. Calmly give them a treat and walk out the door with no fuss or fanfare, so there’s a positive association with you leaving.
- Make it easy for your dog to get around the house by using carpet runners or yoga mats on slippery floors and traction strips on stairs. You can also have the groomer trim the hair between your dog’s toes to minimize slipping and sliding. Consider using a beard trimmer to do this yourself but be careful as wiggly paws can be challenging to trim.
- Use simple and consistent commands when training your dog. Saying “go potty” one time and “go pee” the next time confuses them. Similarly, simply saying “down” consistently is better than saying “lie down.” Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
- Just like people, dogs sometimes need their space and alone time. Notice your dog’s mood and provide plenty of hugs and interactions when they’re feeling social, but also let them have their space when they want it.
- Always use a safety restraint such as an appropriate and properly installed doggie seat belt or a crate when your dog is traveling in the car with you. Not only is this safer for them, it’s also safer for you.
- Keep your dog on heartworm prevention year-round. Mosquitoes and heartworm disease are present twelve months out of the year in Florida, and continuous protection is crucial.
- Keep your dog’s diet consistent. Unlike people who crave variety, dogs do best eating the same food day after day. Switching up diets frequently can not only lead to GI upset but can also create picky eaters.
- Brush your dog’s teeth every day if you can. This not only prevents bad breath and periodontal disease, but a lot of serious systemic health issues as well. Dental cleanings are the #1 reason dogs go under anesthesia, and it’s best to keep the number of times a pet is anesthetized to the minimum.
- Sense a trend? Consistency is a key component to most of these pointers—and that applies to us too! Resist the urge to bend the rules, even for what you consider to be a special occasion. It will confuse your dog and lead to anxiety, stress, and possible behavioral issues.
- Be diligent about praising your pup for good behavior (like sitting quietly). Your dog wants to please you and receive praise, and as far as having a well-trained dog is concerned, positive reinforcement goes a lot further than scolding them. Try ignoring them and withholding your attention when they are naughty, although a well-timed “NO” is still allowed.
- Keep extra water bowls around the house to prevent dehydration—this is especially important for dogs that are middle aged or older. Multiple water bowls are not necessary for puppies in house training.
- Regular checkups with your veterinarian are vital to monitoring and maintaining your dog’s health. Keep up to date on exams, vaccinations, preventatives, and routine diagnostics. This not only keeps your dog healthy today, but it also allows us to detect and address any problems in their early stages.
We want you and your dog to have many happy, healthy years together, and we’re here to help you every step of the way! If you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to call us at (941) 377-3031.