To make a seemingly obvious statement: dogs want our love, and vice versa. But what kind of love do they specifically NEED from us as dog parents?
If you really love your dog, you’ll want to make sure they’re in good health and that they STAY in good health.
In the first of this two-part lesson, Dr. Jamie takes us through real, practical examples of what it means to show your dog love.
Practical & helpful love
First and foremost, implementing preventative medical care, following the instruction of your family veterinarian, and by providing a good complete and balanced diet and readily accessible fresh clean water is critical. This also means paying attention to potential allergies and ensuring poisonous foods are kept out of reach — like chocolate, caffeine, grapes and raisins.
Secondly, you’ll need to provide daily exercise for both mind and body — this not only keeps your dog healthy, but improves your human-canine bond over time, as they look up to you for leadership. Exercise also helps relieve stress dogs have, greatly improving their manners and behavior. Scheduled walks — usually first thing in the morning — are a great way to achieve this, not to mention you as the dog parent getting activity too!
A loving environment
Dogs that know and understand the rules and structure of a household feel more secure and confident. In short, they feel loved. Having boundaries and setting routines (as we’ve discussed in previous lessons) is one of the best ways of doing this. And it’s important to remember — well-behaved dogs are always much easier to love!
Dogs also need to stay mentally engaged through enrichment experiences like playing games, chewing toys, and new adventures with their family. Healthy play can also be used to help dogs understand their boundaries, like when to relinquish control and controlling aggression. This provides the mental and physical stimulation they need to become healthier and happier.
Finally, dogs are naturally pack animals and we need to ensure they learn how to socialize with other humans and dogs. They are also problem-solving and team-oriented — so often need more than just treats and affection to thrive.