Thursday, June 14, 2012

Positive Pet Ownership Tips

I have been a dog person since I was a toddler. My mom has the cutest picture of me and our dog Snowball when I was only 4 years old. From then on I have had many dogs and as an adult a few more. There are a few things I have learned over the years about being a pet owner.

#1 Crate training is essential. 

Even if your dog is an outside dog having them be comfortable in a crate is important. I have a big dog, a black lab and we trained her as a puppy. Just recently she needed to be in her crate while construction work was being done for her own safety. 

Crate training is also a vital part of potty training early on. It will take about a week of dedication but it will pay off for you and your dog. With my dog we would have her hang out in the crate for an hour or so then take her to the back door and ring a little bell that was hanging from a string. I would ring the bell and then open the door to take her potty. After she went to the bathroom I would tell her she was good and jump around all excited. Then back in the house right away. For the first week the back yard or outside was only for potty. I did not let her play out there just yet. She would play and run around the house then into the crate for a bit. Each time she came out of the crate we would go to the back door, ring the little bell, tell her potty and go out back. We did this for a 4 day weekend we had and by the fourth day of this consistent routine she went to the door and rang her little bell and sat waiting for me. SUCCESS! To this day my dog has only peed in the house twice and she is 7 years old. Be sure when they are little to respond to the bell ringing. Even if your tired and she was just out there, say potty and take her out back. 

Without the crate being the spot she was in hanging out during training I am sure she would have found a hidden spot to pee or poo. The crate is what helped her know to wait since she did not want to pee in her own bed. 

I also want to add do not do the old fashioned "rub their nose in it" or punish a dog for a potty accident. This will create a fear driven pottier. I am not a dog expert in the slightest just have seen dogs positive attitude destroyed by the fear of needing to go. 

#2 Toys keep a dog entertained.

 Dogs just like us get bored. When you buy toys for them change them out with older toys. I buy toys for my dog when there is a sale like a holiday has passed and the toys have gone on clearance. My dog will not know a bunny or snowman is a seasonal thing. If you keep their toys on a cycle they will not get bored with them. This also works on my toddler lol

#3 Positive Praise.

Just  like kids dogs enjoy praise for things they have done good. Training is a constant for dogs, even older dogs need to be reminded that their good behavior is still appreciated. I know with my dog when she rings her bell I still cheer for her and its been almost 7 years. She still wags her tail and dances around with excited. 

#4 Learning new behaviors.

Keep training them. Dogs need to be learning new things and to practice learned skills. Starting with a dog training collars can be helpful for older dogs that may have already learned un-wanted behaviors to help correct them. My dog can sit, stay and come with hand commands. I dont have to say a word just a gesture. We still keep up the practice with little drills in the back yard. She needs to know I know she listens and is sharp with her skills. We are currently working on a new skill of high five. Its a tough one for her since I did not teach her shake or to put her paws up on people. We knew we would be starting a family in the near future when we bought our dog so we tried to teach her skills to be kid ready for when we did have children around her. 

#5 Personal space for your dog.

Dogs like alone time too. They should have a den like area even just a dog bed that would be all theirs in your own home if its outside or inside make your dog their own space. One that you dont mess with or the kids. We have a dog in our neighborhood that is always kept in the front yard on a busy street corner with a chain link fence. He barks at everything and appears to be under constant stress. He sees every one and animal that goes by and he is always on guard. He barks at cars too and its a busy street. I always say if he just had his own little house or some fencing that was not see thru he would be more mellow. 

Those are my 5 tips for a positive dog ownership. I hope you find them helpful. I am not a dog expert in anyway just a dog owner for many many years.

At a local dog show checking out the puppies

This post is brought to you as a part of the Dog Days of Summer Campaign, hosted by the folks at dog training collars. It is my hope that these tips help pet owners and their pooches have a harmonious summer.


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