A habit is defined as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Well, that sounds simple enough, but making sure you have good habits is key. The relationship you build with your dog starts with these 7 good habits.
Habit #1 - Ask Questions!
This habit might sound obvious, however, making a point to ask lots of questions before you even choose a dog can save you and the dog from unnecessary frustrations. If you are a couch potato in a tiny apartment, it might not be a good match to have a highly active dog or a large sized dog. Not to say that you couldn’t make it work just fine, but at least you know what you are getting into. Ask the shelter or breeder about what to expect and consider the positives and negatives of each breed and the specific animal before moving forward.
Habit #2 – Socialization
Introducing your dog to other dogs, other animals (such as cats or birds), and other people as early in their life as possible helps them to be more relaxed during these encounters as they age. Socializing your dog early and often is a habit that has a tremendous impact on how the dog will act during walks, at dog parks and with your family and friends.
Habit #3 – Training
Just as for socialization, training your dog is a habit that benefits your dog in many ways. When your dog is trained to behave properly and responds to your commands, they develop an understanding of how they are expected to act and it strengthens your bond since they begin to look to you for cues on behavior.
Habit #4 – Regular Exercise
Making a habit to go for walks with your dog daily is a great way to engage your pet’s brain and keep the energy levels in check. Think about all the fun smells, the sunshine or light rain… Chances are you’ll benefit from the fresh air as well.
Habit #5 – Routine Vet Visits
By visiting your veterinarian each year, your dog can stay up to date on vaccinations that offer protection from disease, they can monitor the dog’s weight and overall health and hopefully notice and treat problems early. You may want to consider pet health insurance to relieve some of the stress and cost of expensive procedures as your dog ages.
Habit #6 – Microchip Your Pets
Thankfully, by choosing to have a microchip implanted, a lost dog found by someone has a better chance of being reunited with its’ owner. Make sure to follow up the implantation with the registration of information. Vets have reported scanning a lost dog only to find that it has an unregistered microchip with no information on file. There are often local low-cost clinics that microchip for as little as $19.
Habit #7 – Playtime
This habit is the most fun of the list. Dogs usually love having toys to play with, balls for playing fetch but probably what they enjoy the most is the one-on-one time they get to spend with you. Take some time every day to play with your dog and swap out toys every so often so they seem new. Don’t forget to talk to and praise your pet often as you play to reinforce the bond and friendship too.
By adopting these habits, you’ll have made great strides to be a better dog owner and you’ll have a more successful relationship with your dog in the process.