You and Your Dog: Living in Harmony

You and Your Dog

This article will teach you how to live in harmony with your dog. It covers, “Learning Your Dog’s Body Language,” “Obedience Train Your Dog,” “Research the Breed,” “Leash Laws,” “Socializing,” and more.

Are you new to dog ownership? Have you owned dogs previously but are having problems or a personality conflict with your present dog? If so, you aren’t alone. The tips in this article will give you a better understanding of how to live in harmony with your dog.

Learn Your Dog’s Body Language

Get to know your dog, just as you’d learn to know a new friend. Spend time with him. Play with him. This will allow you to anticipate and prevent aggression toward other dogs and people. Pay special attention to behavior changes as your dog ages, particularly any shift from dog friendly to dog aggressive.

Obedience Train Your Dog

Taking part in obedience training will allow you to keep your dog under control in all circumstances. Remember, just because your dog graduates, he doesn’t know it all, nor neither do you. You must continue training throughout your dog’s life. He must be continually reminded that you are the leader of the “pack,” and always the one in control. Your dog will test his boundaries, so be prepared. Always be consistent in what you expect of him. You can’t allow him to lie on the sofa one day and to stay off it the next. He is either allowed on the sofa, or he is not. There’s no in between. He must know the rules or he cannot be expected to obey them.

Research Your Dog’s Breed

Learn the history of your dog’s breed and why the original breed was developed. For instance, Alaskan malamutes were originally bred as working dogs. They hauled loads and pulled dog sleds. Some breeds were developed for search and rescue, like the Saint Bernard. German Shepherds were bred as guard dogs. Pit bulls were bred for dog fights. Whatever the breed of your dog, his breed was originally developed for a purpose.

How to Break up a Dog Fight

If the unthinkable should happen and you have to break up a dog fight, remain calm and prepare to break it up swiftly and safely for the benefit of both the dogs and yourself. It’s easy to be bitten attempting to break up two snarling, biting dogs. It is wise to carry parting stick if you will be walking in an area where dogs run off leash.

Surroundings

When you are walking or hiking with your dog, pay special attention to your surroundings. Then, balance your dog’s needs with the needs of those around you whether they are humans or other canines. This means using the pooper scooper, keeping your dog in hand so he won’t jump up when greeted by people and avoiding aggressive dogs that are not on a lead.

Be Brave

Develop a thick skin. There will be times when people will make rude comments about your dog. Ignore them. They may be intoxicated or itching for a fight. Some people make remarks about dogs to push the owner into an argument. Once that happens, they will become aggressive toward you. Move on and try to avoid these people in the future.

People and Your Dog

Try to understand that not everyone in the world loves dogs. Some people have had bad experiences. Others are deathly afraid of specific breeds, or even all breeds. Assure them your dog is friendly (if he is) and invite them to interact. If they decline, that’s fine, but sometimes, especially if they think your dog is beautiful, you can help them to overcome their fears.

Aggression Toward Humans

Any sign of aggression toward humans is cause for great concern. Reprimand immediately. Aggression of this type is comparative to waving a red flag in front of a bull. Make an appointment for you and your dog to consult with a “breed experienced” professional dog behaviorist or trainer.

Exercise

Exercise your dog daily to allow him to get rid of pent up energy. A brisk walk twice a day usually keeps a dog well within his limits. Today, many cities have fenced-in dog parks where your dog can run, play and socialize off leash.

Leash Laws

Some laws were made to be broken, but not this one. Always respect and obey the leash laws in your community. This can save you a hefty fine. Leash laws are made to protect you, your dog, and the general public.

Socializing

Take your dog out into your community and let him interact with humans while he’s still a puppy. Let him play with kids; introduce him to seniors and people of different cultures. Teach him to love everyone that will offer him a kind word or give him a pat on the head.

Be sure to introduce your dog to a wide variety of canine breeds. Make friends with dogs in our neighborhood or at the local dog park. Obedience school is a way to meet other dogs and their owners. Dogs should be supervised by their owners at all times, to ensure that play never turns to aggression. Separate the dogs if they can’t be watched at all times. Everyone, including humans benefit from supervised socialization. If your dog becomes aggressive, leash him and let him mingle under your control. He will soon learn that he can only be off leash if he displays the appropriate behavior.

Neuter/Spay

Neuter or spay your dog to curb territorial aggression. This also prevents litters of unwanted pups and helps to prevent your dog from roaming the neighborhood. All breeds of dogs are more passive once they are neutered or spayed and it makes life much easier for the owner, who happens to be you. Having a dog is a life long commitment. Dogs are living, breathing creatures that have feelings, not a toy that can be tossed into a corner and forgotten. Yes, dogs are a lot of work and a lot of responsibility, but you will reap more than your fair share of rewards in the love, affection, loyalty, devotion and companionship that your dog will provide in return.

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