This is my dog, Lilly. She’s a Frenchton, which is a crossbreed between French Bulldog and Boston Terrier. Raising and taking care of her has one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, but it wasn’t always easy. A friend recently mentioned to me how well-behaved she was, and how it was because she was clearly raised well. It was a huge compliment! Basic dog care is extremely important in affecting a dog’s behavior. It made me think about a few basic things that may seem common sense, but many new pet owners don’t do! I decided to write a post regarding a few important dog care principles, so that we are all on the same page!
Having a dog is wonderful, but it is also a huge responsibility. Many people would argue that dogs are a larger responsibility than cats. We actually ended up adopting two kittens recently and while they’ve presented their own difficulties. Both animals need to be fed, exercised, and socialized. Here are a few important tips:
Dog Moms are responsible for…
Most dogs will eat all the food that you put in front of them, regardless of how hungry they are or how much they SHOULD be eating. That’s your responsibility to know! Puppies should be fed about 3 times a day, and older dogs can be fed once or twice a day. It’s best for your pet if you feed them at the same time every day.
On the other hand to this, there is free feeding. Free feeding is when you leave food out all the time, for your pet to feed itself whenever it pleases. As I mentioned before, this won’t work for most dogs because they will immediately eat anything you put down for them. We were super lucky with our puppy though. As a puppy, should would not even eat the full amount of each measured serving we would put down for her, so we’d just leave the bowl down with the leftovers in it until she felt like eating them. This turned into full-blown free feeding. Now we just make sure her bowl has food in it.
I don’t know how people can stand to not walk their dogs. Not because they should feel guilty, but because their dog will become a real nuisance! Most dogs have too much energy to be cooped up in the house all day. Even with a yard to play in, walking is the best way to release their daily energy. They love smelling new things and exploring, so walking exercises their minds as well as their bodies. My parents gave us a retractable leash like this one, so we can allow Lilly to go farther ahead when walking somewhere remote, and pull her in when there’s a lot of traffic. She loves it and it’s come in handy many times. It’s a great choice for those who want to give their dog lots of walks in different places!
If your dog turns out to truly be a couch potato, then walking is important exercise so as to avoid pet obesity. So, regardless of your animal’s energy level, walking them is a very important responsibility of being a dog mom. And it’s good for you too! For most dogs, it’s recommended to take them on two 30 minute walks a day. (Some breeds may need even more exercise, so make sure you do your research!)
Playtime is an important part of dog care. Often times, walking your pup won’t be quite enough to tucker them out the rest of the day. They need to run and play to expel energy. You should make sure they have lots of toys and chews so that your dog never gets bored. You should also take a little bit of your time to give your dog special attention and one-on-one playtime. Not only is this good for your dog, it’s great for your dogmom-furchild relationship.
Some dogs will naturally get along well with other dogs, animals, people and children. But you cannot expect this of ANY dog. All dogs need to be socially trained so that they do not end up controlling your life with their social issues. One of the best ways to socialize your dog is to take them to a puppy playtime when they’re young. Many pet stores and pet training centers will have them, and Petco used to have them for free (that’s where we went). If your dog is too old for that, try taking them to a dog park. Just make sure you’re paying attention to their behavior. Make sure to break up anything that’s getting too out of hand.
It’s important for all dogs to have some basic level of obedience training. And it’s actually very easy to train them! I won’t go into step-by-step specifics here, but some important commands that are also easy to teach are sit, stay, and come. Some dogs will catch on more quickly than others, so you must be patient with them during the process. Also, it is better to train a little bit each day, rather than one long session every once in a while. So even if you only have 5 minutes, make sure your dog gets a little bit of practice in each day. You will begin to see improvements in their behavior and energy level. It’s really a win-win for both you and the dog.
This is really just an intro into a few dog ownership responsibilities. If you’re planning on getting any kind of pet, please research up on it a lot so that you know exactly what kind of time and financial investment you’ll be making into raising a dog.
So many animals get blamed for their bad behavior when the problem is really bad ownership. Many people do not invest even their time into dog care. This kind of thing drives me crazy! And it is super obvious to good, responsible pet parents when an animal isn’t raised well. So don’t be one of them!
If you have a pet that you love to spoil, I’d love to hear about it! Tell me about your furbaby in the comments below!