Conscientious Dog Owner

posted April 22nd, 2019 by
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How to be a Conscientious Dog Owner

by   Nick Burton

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As a dog owner, it may be a shock to learn that not everyone shares your love for man’s best friend. You see Spot as more than a companion; he is an essential member of your family. You accept his flaws, laugh when he tracks mud in your kitchen and love when he answers your hugs with sloppy face licks.

Others, like those you run into during a walk and your neighbors,  probably won’t share your enthusiasm, so here are a few tips to make sure that your dog isn’t a disturbance.

 

You are the master — be in control

A courteous dog owner values the importance of obedience. Some people shun training because they believe it requires a certain amount of meanness toward the dog, but it is, in fact, a crucial element to your dog’s happiness. Think about what happens in the absolute absence of obedience training. An untrained dog will likely be aggressive, destroy property and possibly hurt someone. This undesirable behavior is not because the dog is “bad,” but because he doesn’t know any better. Dogs are pack animals that look to a pack leader for guidance on correct behavior. And for your dog, you are the pack leader.

 

Train for courtesy, and your sanity

Obedience training will accomplish several goals. People appreciate a friendly, well-trained dog. It’s easier than you think to instill good behavior in your dog because your canine companion naturally wants to be led.

Consider two typical problem dog behaviors: pulling on leashes during walks and excessive barking. Simple repetition of expected actions during walks can nip lousy leash habits. Take steps to calm a dog as part of the walking process, such as slowly pulling on the leash, then stopping to do a few household tasks. This doesn’t confuse your dog, it reinforces the need for restraint and cements your position as the one in control.

Dog barking is similarly best curtailed as a process of establishing acceptable behavior, but also requires some common-sense tactics on your part. Ignoring barking, refraining from yelling (to your dog, it’s like you’re barking along with him), teaching the “quiet” command and asking for incompatible behavior such as giving a treat for going to his bed when another dog passes the house – are all training-based ways to limit barking.

If you need additional weapons in your training arsenal, look to training accessories. For example, some people opt for clicker training, others like to use training collars. The latter can be particularly effective at behavior modification, especially if your dog has a tendency to bark at the mailman or ignores commands. Whatever method you choose, remember that you’re helping your dog be a model animal citizen.

 

Wear him out

A tired dog is usually a well-behaved dog. And remember, by keeping your dog active, you’re not only helping him to expend pent-up energy, but you’re also contributing to his health and fitness. Avoid missing walks and play time to ensure your dog’s behavior doesn’t falter. If you need the extra help, look into hiring a regular pet sitter to help your dog get in his daily steps when you’re stuck at work.

 

Protect the planet from pooch poop

A courteous, well-behaved dog owner, of course, picks up after their pet. Make sure dog waste is bagged and properly disposed of during a walk – every time. And, since dog feces contain numerous nasty pathogens, it’s essential to remove it from your yard quickly, too. A yard full of dog poop is not just your problem – it can be a neighborhood eyesore, foul-smelling and unhealthy for your dog.

 

Accept others’ opinions

Not everyone is going to love your dog. Your pet could sit quietly and happily in his poop-free yard, and your neighbor across the street may still complain. Some just aren’t dog people. You may think non-dog lovers are missing out on a joy of life, but they disagree. And research suggests that the benefits of dog ownership may be exaggerated. Resist the need as a die-hard dog lover to defend the species. Accept their opinion, and do your best to prove them wrong through training and proper dog ownership practices.

 

Photo credit: Unsplash

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