Many dog owners dole out their dog's rations in the quantities recommended on feed packages or in books. But these printed aids are meant to be only rough guides, with averages for small, medium and large breeds; they are hardly substitutes for close observations of your own dog's needs.
The proper amounts to feed vary considerably, depending not only on breed, but on individual build, age, temperament, exercise and even local climate. Regularly monitoring your dog's food intake and adjusting amounts as appropriate is the best way to insure his ideal condition.
Dog training by new owners is an inexact science. Mistakes lurk , just waiting for their opportunity to pounce unexpectedly and overturn progress. Of course, new owners, those who have never had and raised a dog, often can become unsuspecting victims of common mistakes. Let's consider a few, and ways to avoid them.
Information overload: In a sincere desire to use the best training advice for their new dog or puppy, too many newbies do far too much research. Inevitably, confusion and uncertainty kick in and leave both owner and dog in a kind of limbo situation where nothing gets accomplished, and often leads to back slipping of previously successful training results. Sticking with one main training resource, backed by a secondary system as a check point, usually works out best.
Inconsistency: Another problem with some new owners is their failure to understand dog psychology. All dogs learn by rote, that is, they build and then conform to specific patterns that make up a regular routine. They love and thrive on routine...consistency. Break that routine and training suffers setbacks. Establish a regularly followed schedule for your dog, one that best fits your own lifestyle, too, and smooth sailing generally follows.
Exercise and Job Assignment: Proper daily exercise along with giving your dog one or more jobs to do, help keep him physically and mentally stimulated. All dogs, no matter their breed, crave some kind of specific job to do, bringing the daily newspaper to you, or even fetching your slippers or any of a number of other items. Performing such tasks instills a sense of pride in a dog, especially when it brings praise from the master. A couple of brisk daily walks in combination with some running thrown in, are good preparation to review training or teaching a new lesson.
Overcoming common mistakes should be a primary goal for all new owners. Devoting the time and effort toward responsible dog ownership will guarantee you and your "Best Friend" a long and satisfying relationship.
Dogs will sometimes begin disregarding verbal orders. When spoken commands go unheeded despite reprimands, an owner usually realizes that his dog actually isn't hearing him. "Poor Queenie's starting to go deaf," he reasons, but does nothing about it except to speak louder. However, a dog's loss of hearing can often be only temporary. For example, it may be due to an ear infection, which could be corrected by proper treatment. Such infections are fairly common with long-eared dogs, typically hounds and sporting breeds.
Thus, it's advisable for every owner to regularly inspect and clean his dog's ears. Sniffing your dog's ears can often offer a positive clue about an existing problem. A bad odor tells you it's time to schedule a visit to your veterinarian to begin curative treatment.
"My dog is constantly licking his anus and it's a disgusting habit," is a frequently heard complaint from owners. What causes it? How can it be corrected?
If the licking is really chronic, it could be a rather serious problem. But if it's only an occasional instance there's little cause for worry. The simple and usual explanation is that the dog's anal glands (two sacs) have become full and must be emptied. Normally, your dog will accomplish this himself by forceful licking, nature's way of eliminating the problem.
Sometimes, however, a dog's anal glands may become impacted, requiring examination and service by a veterinarian. At such time, it may be determined that another reason for the impaction is responsible. Only your vet is qualified to find the solution.
Dogs are prime targets for ticks. Most dog owners know that, but little more about these really pesky external parasites. First, did you know that there are two kinds of ticks usually foun d in dogs? They are the brown dog tick and the American dog tick. Both varieties are blood sucking parasites, the females of which, when engorged with blood, drop off the dog and deposit their eggs in the immediate area. Hatching into larvae within 21 days, they also latch onto a handy pooch and once fed up with blood fall to earth. Then they morph into nymphal stage and again seek a host. The cycle continues as they feed and change to adult form in about three weeks. All ticks can live as long as a full year and are known to create a number of infectious diseases. Tick control is extremely important for the health of your dog. Your veterinarian can recommend various methods for prevention.
Dogs, warm weather and hikes in the woods might lead owners to wonder if their dog can catch that three-leafed culprit--poison ivy. The short answer is: very rarely. Most dogs are protected by their coats (fur, if you prefer) along with the fact that their skin is rather insensitive to poison ivy oils, the stuff that leaks out from the plant’s bruised and broken leaves.
Infrequently, dogs with very sparse coats, especially in areas like the inner thighs and underbelly, can contract what is called contact dermatitis from those oils.
So, although most dogs, yours included, may be considered armored, so to speak, against poison ivy, they do present another possible hazard. And that one is to you. Suppose, for example, that your best friend has decided to roll around in a bed of the bad ivy. Then he comes to you for some petting and affection. You offer same and, by such contact with his coat, you are gifted with the same results as if you wandered into the ivy patch yourself.
The best recommendation in such case would be to schedule an appointment with your doctor and one for your dog with his veterinarian to prescribe proper treatment and medications.