Has Fido lost some of his spark? Or is your new puppy having accidents everywhere and chewing your furniture to bits? Whatever your reasons for looking for dog advice, here are just a few tips for making your fuzzy friend calmer, happier and better-behaved.
1. Use Positive Reinforcement
Instead of punishing your dog for bad behavior, try rewarding him for good behavior. For example, instead of yelling at him every time he barks, give him a treat when he doesn’t bark. This will create a Pavlovian reaction where he associates good behavior with good results.
2. Be Firm
If he isn’t allowed on the couch, don’t ever let him on the couch. Don’t make exceptions because “it’s his birthday” or “I had a long afternoon at the office and don’t care right now.” He won’t understand your logic, and if you send him mixed signals about what is and isn’t acceptable to do, you’ll only confuse and aggravate him.
3. Get Him Moving
Physical activity is one of the cornerstones of raising a happy dog. They aren’t meant to laze around all day without exercise or mental stimulation, and if you let them get in the habit of it, they’ll deteriorate both physically and psychologically. Grab his leash and take him for a walk.
4. Buy the Right Food
Don’t scrape the bottom of the barrel when it comes to what your dog gets fed. Look for something healthy, organic and nutritious that will really support his bones and organs. You can also buy supplements like dog glucosamine if you want to boost particular areas like the heart or liver. Just make sure you talk to your vet before putting your dog on any particular regimen!
5. Socialize Him
Socialization is important if you don’t want your dog to bark, growl or jump on everyone in front of him. When people are exciting novelties, your dog won’t be able to contain his thrill; when they’re just another part of the scenery, however, he’ll be calm and content to let them walk by without an ostentatious display. Think about scheduling regular visits to the dog park.
These are just a few things to consider if you want to improve your dog’s general health and well-being. There are many more, of course, but these should be enough to get you started. Woof woof!