For your dog to be mentally and physically healthy, he must feel safe and secure in his environment. If you are to remain unworried and be able to enjoy your pet to the full, you must be positive that you are doing all you can to keep him happy and protected from harm. Fulfilling your dog’s essential needs within his environment will help you both remain contented – and sane. As long as these needs are met, he will be a very happy dog .
You should live in a house large enough to accommodate your family and your chosen size and type of dog , with plenty of space for everyone. Remember, you are buying a pet, not an accessory. It is no use thinking about a Great Dane, Afghan Hound, Border Collie, German Shepherd Dog or any other large working or herding breed if you live in a flat or small townhouse as these dogs don’t thrive, mentally as well as physically, by being ‘cooped up’.
If you don’t have a suitably sized garden in which to exercise him, then you must be prepared for two one-hour walks or so per day, with somewhere safe to exercise off-lead.
Similarly, if you live in the country and are looking for a companion for long walks, a Pekingese is not for you – they prefer the indoor, pampered life as the companion of a devoted owner.
If your home environment is not suited to the type of dog , then it can be a recipe for disaster. If you do your homework, however, and choose your dog well for the type of environment you can offer him, then you have the best chance of enjoying a match made in heaven.
The house proud must be prepared for extra work in keeping the home sweet-smelling and free of dog hairs and muddy paw prints. For minimal mess – and stress to all concerned – don’t get a large, hairy, slobbery dog .
Important allowances for pet dogs include their own personal space comprising areas where they can rest undisturbed, toys that fulfill their chewing and hunting instincts through what we view as play, and sufficient food and water to satisfy their body needs.
As most people who keep dogs as pets want their animals to be close to them for the affection and company they provide, it stands to reason that the majority are kept in the home. To make your home as appealing as possible to your pet, meaning that the relationship between you both will be as successful and problem-free as possible, you must provide him with the facilities most important to him.
Another consideration is how you relate to your dog . Whatever dog you choose, he will sense your emotions, so a stressed owner is likely to end up with a stressed pet. Dogs respond best to calm, consistent handling. Shouting at or hitting him will confuse and frighten him resulting in behavior problems in the future.
A good owner is patient and controlled enough not to become angry at a dog if he does something you perceive as wrong. If he docs something inappropriate as far as you are concerned, then you have not trained him or catered for his needs adequately.
Look at what may have caused the problem, and then rectify it. Is he receiving enough attention, exercise and so on? Find the root cause of the problem and you are halfway to finding the solution.
Safe and Secure
Just like you, your dog needs to feel secure in his world to remain calm and contented. Providing adequately for your pet’s essential needs, mentally and physically, is the first step towards achieving this ideal. A feeling of security is enhanced by respecting your dog’s personal space. Providing safe places where your dog can rest without being bothered by anyone (especially children when the dog has had enough of play) or another animal, or simply watch the world go by from a safe vantage point, is paramount to your dog’s emotional well-being.
Just as we like to have time by ourselves for a while – to be able to relax, be alone with our thoughts, or to sleep undisturbed to recharge our batteries – so too do dogs . Just as we are likely to become irritable if our personal space and time is invaded, so too are dogs . So the rule is to let sleeping dogs lie!
Be Safe Not Sorry
Not taking out appropriate insurance when you get a dog could prove false economy. It could mean being faced with a massive veterinary bill if your dog needs extensive treatment, while a lawsuit against you for personal or property damage caused by your dog could leave you facing financial ruin. Shop around for the best insurance deal and ask your local vet for any recommendations; then remember to read the small print on policy proposals.