Ideally, your dog’s introduction to his new home will be with familiar furniture already in place, including his bed, toys, and food and water bowls. If you must be away from home for many hours each day, look into a pet-sitter or consider dog day care or organise for a dog walking session to reduce the time spent alone.
Your dog gives you a lifetime of unconditional love, loyalty, and friendship. In return, she counts on you to provide her with food, water, safe shelter, regular veterinary care, exercise, companionship, and more. Take care of these ten essentials, and you’ll be guaranteed to develop a rewarding relationship with your canine companion.
- Outfit your dog with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, address, and telephone number. No matter how careful you are there’s a chance your companion may become lost – an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your pet will be returned home safely. Also make sure they’re microchipped and your contact details are up to date on the microchip register.
- Follow local laws for keeping pet dogs. Check with your local animal shelter or local council for information regarding legal requirements such as registration and where to obtain tags.
- Dogs should be under effective control when in public places. Dogs may be exercised on a leash or off-leash in designated areas where the handler has effective voice control of the dog. Dogs should not be allowed to roam outside of your home or fenced yard. It is best for you, your community, and your dog to keep your pet under control at all times.
- Give your dog proper shelter. Dogs need a clean, comfortable, safe and secure home with adequate shelter to protect them from the weather and plenty of space to move about. Make sure the housing environment meets their physical, behavioural and social needs. If your dog spends time outside ensure the yard is adequately fenced to prevent escape and provide a doghouse; Dogs should never be left outside alone or for extended periods of time. Dogs need and crave companionship and should spend most of their time inside with their family.
- Take your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups. If you do not have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter or a pet owning friend for a referral.
- Desex (Spay or neuter your dog). Dogs that have this routine surgery tend to live longer, be healthier, and have fewer behaviour problems (e.g., biting, running away). By spaying or neutering your dog, you are also doing your part to prevent unplanned/unwanted litters and to reduce the problem of pet overpopulation.
- Give your dog a nutritionally balanced diet, including constant access to fresh water. Ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your pet.
- Enrol your dog in a training class. Reward-based training methods involving positive reinforcement (the animal is rewarded when the desired behaviour is performed and unwanted behaviour is ignored) is the most humane and effective way to train dogs. It is enjoyable for the dog and positively enhances the relationship bond between the dog and handler.
- Socialisation. The first 3-17 weeks of a puppy’s life are critical for its social and behavioural development. During this time it is very important to provide it with positive experiences with a variety of people, places, sights and sounds. Experiences during this period can influence a dog’s behaviour throughout its life. Your vet will be able to guide you on where and when it is safe to take your puppy to different places, so you can balance the need to socialise your puppy with protecting its health.Organise puppy school and dog training classes to go to in your area that use reward-based training.
- Give your dog enough daily exercise to keep him physically and mentally healthy (but not exhausted). Most dog owners find that playing with their canine companion, along with walking him once or twice a day, provides sufficient exercise. If you have questions about the level of exercise appropriate for your dog, consult your veterinarian. Set aside time each day to interact and play with your pet dog.
- Be loyal and patient with your faithful companion. Make sure the expectations you have of your dog are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavioural problems can be solved. If you are struggling with your pet’s behaviour, contact your veterinarian or local animal shelter for advice.
For other tips on caring for your pet your local RSPCA has great information base on their site.