How Great Dog Owners Get the Best From Pets

Teach an old dog new tricks. Get to know how you can be a better dog owner and do right by your pet.

When you love your dog, you want to be the best possible owner you can be to keep them happy and healthy throughout life. If you’ve ever wondered if you’re simply a good dog owner versus a great one, check out some of the daily habits of top dog owners below.

1. Follow the rules

Owning a dog comes with particular responsibilities. This includes the need to follow your area’s rules when you’re out and about with your dog. These could include picking up after your dog when they leave a mess, ensuring they’re on a leash in on-leash areas, and keeping them out of areas where dogs aren’t allowed.

In some areas, like parks or beaches, there may be certain times when your dog is allowed off-leash. These are typically dependent on the season. A great dog owner will keep an eye on these rules and stick to them.

2. Give your pooch a daily check-over

Giving your dog a quick check from top-to-tail each day can help you notice any changes and identify issues early on. While some of details can seem pretty minor at the time, if left for longer they could become more serious. Noticing if your dog has a small cut or bump sooner rather than later, for example, means that you can keep an eye on it and potentially prevent it from getting worse.

If you’re not keeping an eye on your dog day-to-day you may not notice these things until they’ve progressed and become infected. Not only are infections uncomfortable for your pet, but they also cost money and require more care to restore your dog’s health.

A quick daily top-to-tail check also gets your dog used to you touching them all over, looking in their ears or eyes, and playing with their feet. These are all things your vet will do as well, so getting them used to it at home means less stress at the vet for both of you.

3. Reinforce their training

While we often focus on training our dogs when they’re young puppies, it’s important to reinforce lessons taught as they age so bad habits don’t trickle in. If your dog still heels or sits on command, it’s much easier to keep them safe and avoid situations like them running out onto the road. Reinforcing their training, or even teaching them something new, also keeps their mind engaged and working.

Alongside reinforcing their pet’s training, great dog owners are consistent with what they consider good behaviour from their pet. It’s important not to allow misbehaviour to go unchecked, as it becomes harder to control once it sets in.

4. Allow your dog to be a dog

Dogs love to sniff everything. So, when you take your dog for their daily walk (another thing great dog owners do) let them take their time to smell the roses. This is how dogs see and understand the world around them, keep up with the neighbourhood ‘gossip’ and keep them mentally stimulated.

As well as letting them follow typical dog behaviours when outside, also give them the opportunity to be a dog at home by giving them appropriate toys to help encourage natural behaviour like chasing and chewing. Go ahead and enjoy a game of fetch or tug of war and invest in a treat toy – your dog will love you for it.

So, what’s the verdict? Are you a great dog owner, or on your way to becoming one? Every day you spend with your dog is a great day. Spending just a little bit of extra time to give them a quick once-over or remind them how to sit will help reinforce your bond with your dog and help make you a great dog owner.