You did it. You went out and found the perfect new dog for your home, and now Sparky is sitting in the middle of the kitchen looking at you like you've just landed from the planet Venus, which we all know is full of cats, and you can't decide if he's licking his chops because he'd like to swallow you whole, or he wants a kiss. The false assumption most people make is that dogs and people bond automatically and all you have to do is bring Sparky home, and everything will work out perfectly. For some lucky people that's the case, but just as often, the new dog owner is left standing in the middle of the room wondering if they should run, or give Sparky a big hug.
Puppies vs. Older Dogs
People often believe that they must get a puppy because bonding will be automatic with a young dog. That is not necessarily true. The truth is that a young dog will feel more dependent on everything from you, possibly, more than an older dog, but a lot of that will depend on how the puppy was raised from birth until you bring him home. Puppies who come from a stable, loving environment that provides a safe place, how secure their life was in that home might affect how a puppy sees the world. Indeed the people around them can have a big effect on how quickly they bond, and what type of bonds they form with humans for the rest of their lives.
How hard it is to bond with an older dog is complicated as well. The experiences your new older dog has had in his life will reflect how he feels about people, and how quickly he will bond with you as his new "person." The fact is that any dog can adjust well to a new home, and love the people around them, but some may take more time and work than others. It helps greatly to know as much about your new dog's background as possible.
Steps to Help Create a Great Bond with Your New Dog
Keep things Positive. Remember first that dogs do not think like people do, and they don't see the things that they are doing as "bad." Punishing, screaming and yelling at your dog will only confuse and scare him whether he's young or old. The better solution is to avoid all possibilities where your new dog can get into trouble. Make sure you walk Sparky often. Young or old, when you first bring a new dog into your home, treat him as if he were a young pup who can't hold his body functions long. Take him out every hour, and praise him profusely when he does what he's supposed to do.
Remember, your home is unfamiliar territory when you first bring Sparky home. It's no wonder he's sitting in the middle of the kitchen eyeing you suspiciously, and licking his chops. Gently take him around, show him where he can sleep, as well as where the water and food bowls are.
Introduce Others Carefully. If you have other animals, especially other dogs in the house, try to introduce them to each other in a neutral place where they can get used to each other before they have to compete for food and water in your home. If Sparky is chewing on your favorite slippers when you get up in the morning, instead of flying off the handle, take them away firmly, say "no" and then happily offer him a better alternative.
When you find Sparky eliminating on the living room rug, don't go crazy. That will frighten and confuse him. Never, by the way, rub your dog's nose in an accident, or hit him for any reason what so ever. In fact, avoid acting negatively in any way. If Sparky is eliminating on the carpet, what you can do is get really, really mad - at yourself. If you are taking him out every hour, it's very unlikely he'll have anything left in him to do on the floor. If Sparky is chewing up your brand new loafers, take them from him, tell him "no," give him something appropriate to chew on (bone, chew toy, etc), and smack yourself with the slippers for leaving them out where he can find them before you've had enough time to establish ground rules in the home.
Things that Encourage Positive Bonding between You and Your Dog
Take Sparky out for a run, or walk around the block during playtime. Toss a Frisbee in the yard, or play ball. Lots of good, old-fashioned playing will do you both a world of good, and develop bonds of trust.
Enroll in a local training class (if Sparky is a baby, enter a puppy class when he's old enough). It doesn't have to be an obedience class, but basic obedience is very important and possibly life saving in dangerous situations. Any type of class will give you and your dog a positive focus on a constructive activity. Consider classes like agility, fly ball, or even dock diving. Whatever you find that you think both you and your dog will enjoy will encourage a great bond, and give your dog positive motivation and the confidence from learning to please you, and be active at the same time. Remember, a pooped Sparky isn't likely to be one who is going to be looking for things to get into at home.
In our modern world it seems as though the media is full to capacity with dog owners wanting to find the answers to cure their pet's behaviour. Everybody appears to live within the confined boundaries of their family's busy and hectic life. Breakfast is rushed, the commute, the school run, shopping trips, social activities and yet more and more households still wish to own a trusted companion.
When people think of living their perfect lifestyle, there is always the picture in their minds of the family group, made complete by the adorable dog sitting by their side.
Problems occur today when the puppy matures into an adult dog. So often once a dog has been house trained, people assume the animal will be capable of staying alone for a few hours every day.
Here is where the difference between modern life in today's world stands in comparison with the households of yesteryear. Just a few years ago the average house had someone at home for most of the time and the family dog was rarely left unattended.
However there is nothing wrong with today's family household owning a dog, but judging by the amount of searches made daily on the internet for obedience training, then obviously some changes have to take place in order to satisfy your pet's needs.
The problems with what the owners are classifying as disobedient stems from pure boredom on the dog's behalf. Try to imagine being stuck indoors, restless wanting to exercise and run but cannot. Suddenly anything that is close at hand, pillows, rugs, shoes provide a challenge, something that they could chew and play with. If left indoors for too long then accidental puddles will occur, not for one to blame the dog for. But there are many ways that you can help your dog to settle into a new routine, which would still include time spent alone at home.
It is vitally important that you exercise your dog before you leave him alone and this has the added benefit that you can gain an extra fitness routine. Take a look around your local pet store, there are many toys available today that are designed for dogs to enjoy when you leave the house. Several items resemble balls and objects that contain treats within; the dog is then occupied trying to work out how to release the snack.
After working on these types of projects it is quite natural for the dog to nap afterwards. If you have reason to believe that your dog cannot wait to relieve itself before you return, then training him to use paper or puppy pads left by the door should alleviate this problem.
In our busy occupied lives it is so easy to actually forget the dog is there when you are at home. How often have you spent time working at the computer or watching television, completely unaware that your dog is curled up in some corner of the house feeling left out of the family group. Try to include your dog in as many household activities as possible. Call him and stroke his head as you relax after work.
Ensure that you allow plenty of time for an evening walk, dogs do like routine and knowing that following a meal he can then look forward to a game in the park. Pets enjoy regularity, try to keep each day to the same schedule for him and you will notice how much calmer your dog will be.
With all the companionship and love that our dogs give so freely, it's hard to imagine that some owners just don't take responsibility for their dogs. But it's true. Millions of dogs—healthy dogs—are euthanized every year. Whether through owner neglect or owner ignorance, millions of healthy dogs will endure the same fate this year. So what's a responsible dog owner to do? The best thing you can do, as a dog owner, is to ensure that your dog doesn't become a statistic, and you do that through responsible pet ownership.
Welcoming a new dog into your house means taking on additional long-term responsibility. Many new dog owners find something cute or romantic about bringing that puppy in the window home until they realize that there's a modicum of work involved in caring for that cute, adorable little face, and a price to pay for those wet, slobbering kisses. You wouldn't expect to return a baby. Its' no less wrong to return a dog when the novelty wears off, and it ought to be criminal to leave a dog somewhere on its own. In many ways, dogs are as vulnerable as newborn infants are, but dogs are dependent upon their owners for their entire lives.
Listed below you'll find basic steps to responsible dog ownership, and many of them are just common-sense rules of the road.
1. Selecting Your Dog – Turn to a local animal shelter or rescue operation to select a puppy or dog. Remember that older dogs need loving owners too. Refuse to purchase a puppy or dog that started life in a puppy mill.
2. Test Your Dog – Contact a veterinarian and ask him to run the usual series of tests on your new companion.
3. Spay or Neuter Your Dog – Responsible pet owners always spay and neuter their dogs and cats. There are far more dogs waiting for adoption than there are owners to adopt them.
4. Provide Medical Care – Aside from the annual physical examination and vaccinations, protect your dog from heartworm, ticks and fleas. Talk with your vet about the many options available today. Contact your vet at the first sign that something is wrong with your dog.
5. Provide Adequate Food and Water – Provide food suited to your dog's age, size and condition.
6. Walk Your Dog – Your dog will let you know when it needs to be walked.
7. Provide Exercise and Recreation – Provide ample space, dog toys and opportunity for your pet to exercise. If you haven't thrown a Frisbee in twenty years, you'll be surprised at how much fun it is to try to outsmart your dog—unlikely!
8. Protect Your Dog from Abuse – Animal cruelty is serious business, and in some states, it's a felony. Even the FBI acknowledged that animal cruelty is a known marker (future indicator) of violence against humans. If anyone in your house intentionally mistreats your dog, seek help immediately. You could thwart the next school shooting.
9. Discourage Aggressive Behavior – You'll know the difference between hearty play and aggressive behavior. Contact your vet at the first sign of aggressive behavior to discuss your options.
10. Coping with Serious Illness and Geriatric Dogs –Geriatric dogs are prone to many of the same illnesses that plague geriatric humans. You'll want to do everything in your power to keep your dog comfortable at the end, but at some point, it may become necessary to end the suffering. If you've been a responsible dog owner throughout the dog's life, you'll want to end that life just as responsibly as you cared for it.
Author: MJ Plaster
Do you have problems at your house with who’s in charge? By that I mean, does your dog think he’s the boss? In your effort to form a stronger bond with your dog you may have inadvertently told him he’s the Leader of the Pack. Here are 5 simple and effective ways to correct that.
First, let’s take a look at what a “pack mentality” means. Dogs are born into packs – in the wild, packs are the essential social order. Unlike humans, who use a variety of political processes to determine leadership and rank, dogs sort out their social order by dominance and power. In a wolf pack, there is a Top Dog – a clear leader who is the dominant, Alpha male. He’s the Big Dog, with pride of place at the dinner table (well, if wolves had a dinner table!), first in mating, first in decision making for the pack.
Whether you realize it or not, your dog views your household as his own personal wolf pack. The pack mentality is so engrained in your dog’s psyche that he will either view you as a leader - or a follower - depending on your actions. If you are to have a well-trained dog, you must establish that you are the leader, and he is the follower. Your dog has to know in his heart that you are the Alpha Dog, the Head Honcho, the Big Dog, the Top Dog – call it whatever you want, but your dog needs to know you’re in charge.
Dogs are a little like children in one respect – they’re looking for someone else to be the leader – they want rules and regulations because that makes their role in the pack more clear-cut and understandable. It’s scary being the leader – if you’re not up to it, your dog may assume the role – because someone has to be in charge!
If that’s what’s happened at your house, you need to re-establish your position as the Top Dog, or “Leader of the Pack.” But here’s an important note: being the leader of the pack has absolutely nothing to do with harsh punishment. It has everything to do with consistency and setting limits.
A simple rule to remember (and one people have great difficulty keeping in mind) is that you are the leader, not your dog.
1. You Go Through The Door First
Even something as straightforward as who walks through the door first can reinforce your position as “dominant dog.” Leaders lead. Followers follow. If you allow your dog to charge through the door ahead of you, he perceives that as asserting his dominance over you. Put your dog on the leash, and make sure you’re the first one through the door.
2. You Eat Before Your Dog
Who gets fed first in your house – you or your dog? In a wolf pack, the leader eats first, and when he is done, the rest of the pack can dine. Do you feed your dog first because he pesters you when you’re cooking your dinner, and it’s simply more convenient to have him quiet and out of the way when you’re eating?
Food is a powerful motivator that can be used to clearly demonstrate who is the ruler of the roost at your house. In no way, shape or form am I suggesting that you withhold food from your dog – that’s cruel and unusual punishment any way you look at it. What I am suggesting is that you control the timing of the food – you should eat first, your dog second, after you’re done with your meal.
3. Don’t Walk Around Your Dog
Does your dog lie on the floor and expect you to walk around him? In the wild, dominant dogs lie wherever they want, and dogs lower in the social order go around so they don’t disturb the Big Dog. If you walk around your dog, he will assume this to be an act of submission on your part; therefore he must be the leader, not you.
If your dog is lying in the middle of the hallway, or right in front of your easy chair, make him move. If he’s on the couch and you want to lie down, make him move. Don’t step over him. Just gently nudge him and make him get out of your way. You’re the Big Dog, remember?
4. You Determine When Your Dog Gets Attention
Even asking for attention or affection can be seen as an act of dominance from your dog’s point of view. Dogs that demand attention are asserting dominance, so if your dog gets pushy, ignore him. When you’re ready to give him attention or affection or pet or play with him, ask him to sit first.
Don’t run after him just so you can pet him. Make him come to you when you’re ready to give him attention, or play with him. And when you play with a toy, make sure that you end up with possession of the toy, and then put the toy away when you’re done. (Note: I’m not talking about his favorite toys that you leave in his crate. I’m talking about play toys that the two of you use for games.)
5. Don’t Let Your Dog Sleep In Your Bed
This is a tough one for a lot of people, but when you let your dog share your bed, at best you’re making him an equal to you. He should have his own bed, either a dog pad or his crate that he feels comfortable in – you can even put the dog pad next to your bed if that makes both of you happier – but don’t let him take over the sleeping arrangements. Before you know it, he’ll be trying to make you sleep on the floor!
Again, reinforcing or retraining your dog to recognize you as the Head Honcho has absolutely nothing to do with harsh discipline. These are changes you can make that will change the way your dog thinks about you. And making even small changes like these can have an enormous impact on the way your dog views the social hierarchy in your home – all without a harsh word being spoken!