Many people dream of owning a dog. A dog is a friend and companion, exercise, additional security, and it would be wrong to underestimate just how cute they can be! Unfortunately if you’re not aware of your responsibilities as a dog owner, and the sometimes challenging realities of caring for a canine, then you can make life more difficult and less pleasant for yourself, your dog and the people around you.
Today we’re taking a look at some of those realities, so you can reassure yourself that you’re ready to be a responsible dog owner.
One of the most common (and thankfully least serious) health issues you’re likely to encounter with your dog is an upset stomach. They explore and forage on walks, they look for scraps dropped to the floor in the kitchen at home, and all of these can provide either a small dose of something outright dangerous for dogs, food they’re not used (even changing from one brand of kibble to another can upset them!) or spoiled food.
This can all lead to a diarrhea and vomiting dog situation, and that’s not always easy to cope with. While your dog might feel a bit sorry for itself, you’re the one who has to deal with the clean up and worry. Learning how to care for your sick dog is an important part of being a responsible owner.
You shouldn’t withhold food from a sick dog – this can cause even more serious health problems! Try them on more easily digestible fare like boiled chicken and rice while they’re unwell, and give them small, regular meals.
Cleaning up requires patience and possibly a strong stomach of your own. Many pet owners prefer enzymatic cleaners – these use enzymes to break down the chemicals that cause lingering odours and stains. This also means that your dog won’t start to use these places as a regular toilet.
If you get a dog, then you’re going to need to train it. There are lots of different aspects to dog training, from house training, basic commands and responses like stay and sit that help keep your dog safe when you’re out and about, behaviours you want to encourage and discourage, like jumping up to greet people, excessive barking, and reactions to strangers, and more involved training for tricks, shows or even work.
There are lots of different methods you can use, from training your dog at home to taking classes, to different rewards you can use to reinforce good behaviours. At least some class-based training is likely a good idea, as this can help to socialise your dog, and get them used focusing on you in a busy environment with distractions.
Some people don’t like the idea of training for their dog, feeling it might ‘break their spirit’ or make them less individual. Training is actually very important for your dog’s happiness and security. Dogs thrive when they know their role and have clear expectations they can fulfil – training provides this framework in which they can feel secure as a member of your family. Practicing commands and tricks is also important stimulation and play – it’s your dog getting your undivided attention, and nothing makes them happier, or makes you a better dog owner.