Training

It is essential that you take the time and money necessary to train and socialise your puppy/dog so that it is able to adapt to living in a human world. Without teaching your puppy/dog how you want them to behave they will try the behaviours that come naturally to them and are likely to get them into trouble, leaving them confused as they will not understand what they have done is unacceptable. Like children dogs need to be taught what is acceptable behaviour. Like children they need boundaries and consistency from you.

Keep training fun, only use reward-based positive training methods and never use punishment as it is cruel, will cause your dog to be frightened of you and it does not produce lasting results. Reward-based positive training will also help strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

 

Diet

A dog's diet affects behaviour and health. A poor diet can result in undesirable behaviour and poor health. It is advisable to feed a good quality dog food containing a named meat such as chicken, beef, duck, salmon and a named carbohydrate such as brown rice, potato, oats. A good quality food will have a named meat as one of the first three ingredients listed. Avoid foods containing unnamed ingredients such as meat or animal by-products/derivatives, vegetable derivatives or unnamed cereals. Also avoid foods containing artificial additives or preservatives.

It is all too easy to over-feed your dog, resulting them in becoming overweight, putting their health at risk, reducing the quality of their life and their life expectancy. To help prevent this, it is advisable to follow the recommended daily food allowance printed on the packaging and to always weight out their food. Also, if you feed your dog treats make sure to subtract this quantity from your dog's total daily food allowance.

Exercise

The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on age, breed and health of your dog. Dogs need to be walked daily and ideally off lead as this enables them to get much more exercise and the freedom to explore and smell their surrounding and be mentally stimulated.

 

Play/Mental Stimulation

Dogs need and love to play. Mental stimulation and exercise of your dog's mind is as important as physical exercise for your dog to be happy. You need to play with your dog regularly, using appropriate toys. Keep your dog's toys stored away, taking out a few at a time, so that you can vary the toys on different days/weeks. This helps keep the toys interesting to your dog. Playing with your dog helps strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

 

Physical Health Care

Physical Examination

It is important to regularly physically check your dog. This will get them used to being handled, important when they need to see the vet, and will enable you to learn what is normal for your dog and when they may be unwell. Praise your dog as you undertake a physical examination and if they are wary of the process give them with some of their daily food allowance for allowing you to perform each step.

Rub your dog all over checking for any lumps, bumps or scabs.

Check inside their ears for redness and cleanliness. Never stick cotton buds/other items into your dogs ears. Using a wet wipe clean the outer visible areas of the inside of your dog's ears. If you can see dirt/wax in the ear canal or if it smells put a dropper of olive oil, at body temperature, into the ear canal, close the ear over and rub to work the oil all around. You can then use a wipe to remove any excess from about the outside.

Look and feel your dog's paws. Feel between each toe for dirt or matted hair. Matted hair can pull on the skin and cause pain, so remove using small scissors, taking care not to nick the skin. Clean away any dirt with a warm wet cloth or cotton-wool.

Pull up their lip and check their teeth and the colour of their gums, which should be pink.

Teeth Brushing - It is important to brush your dog's teeth to help prevent the build up of plaque/tartar, tooth decay and gum disease. This will also save on vet bills.

Grooming - All dogs need regular grooming but long-haired dogs need more care than short-haired dogs. Long-haired dogs should be combed and brushed daily while short-haired dogs likely only need brushing twice a week. Make sure to use appropriate combs and brushes for your dog's coat type.

 

 

Preventative treatments - Worms can be harmful to your dog, some dogs are allergic to flea bits and you hardly fancy being bitten by fleas or having your home infested by them. Therefore it is important that your dog is given regular treatments to prevent them getting fleas, worms or ticks.