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Tips to be a Conscientious Dog Owner

Tips to be a Conscientious Dog Owner

Tips to be a Conscientious Dog Owner

As Peanuts creator Charles Schultz once said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” Who can resist a smile–even after a long, tiring day—when greeted by a bouncing dog who’s thrilled that you’re home? A pup that cuddles up against you when you’re relaxing on the couch beats a massage any day.

But wonderful as they are, not everyone will share your enthusiasm if your dog lacks manners. Win brownie points from friends, family, and neighbors. Train your pooch (and yes, even old dogs can learn new tricks) so Fido’s joyful enthusiasm doesn’t translate into a flying leap that knocks over your neighbor’s daughter.

If your dog has a habit of wandering out of your yard to visit the neighbors next door or even down the block, consider installing a fence. HomeAdvisor says that it costs about $1,643 to $3,857 to install a good, solid fence.


Etiquette for dogs and their owners

Earn appreciation from your neighbors for being a courteous dog-owning community member.

  • Whether you’ve just brought a new puppy home or adopted an older dog, enrolling in a training class will provide you and your furry critter some basic commands (or a refresher). Trainers can identify behavior quirks and make recommendations. Obedience classes also provide an opportunity for your dog (and you!) to socialize.
  • The ASPCA says that well-trained dogs should respond to at least these four basic commands: “sit-stay,” “heel,” “leave it (or drop it),” and “come.” Train your dogs to use these commands, and practice them daily.
  • Scoop up poop. Bring plenty of supplies on your walk. Don’t leave a steaming pile unattended, especially since feces can transmit diseases and parasites including  hookworm and roundworms.
  • Learn to curb your dog—which means training her to do her business near the curb at the edge of the sidewalk without actually stepping into the street. As soon as your pup shows she’s ready to “go,” guide her gently to the curb. It won’t take long before it’s routine—and it’s much more polite than allowing her to use the neighbor’s flower bed as her toilet.
  • Leash your dog. Most communities require that owners leash their dogs—for the dogs’ safety as well as everyone else’s. A leashed dog is also much easier to redirect and control. Learn more about the dos and don’ts of dog walking etiquette.
  • Don’t allow your dog to go up to another leashed dog without first asking its owner for permission. If you meet a dog on a walk, and the owner says it’s fine, let the dogs get a good sniff, and then keep going.  
  • You can learn how to read other dog walkers by observing how other people interact with their dogs. Do they appear in control of their pups? Are the dogs walking next to them or pulling ahead? For tips on how to handle your dog’s behavior and avoid issues with other dogs while you’re out for a stroll, check out Caesar’s Way.
  • If you walk your pup after dark, invest in some reflective clothing or LED lights for yourself and your dog so that people can see you more clearly, especially if you’re walking in neighborhoods that lack sidewalks.
  • Train your dog not to bark excessively. Don’t keep your dog outside if he’s barking constantly. Incessant barking annoys everyone. Since dogs bark for a variety of reasons, with time and patience, you may figure out what triggers your dog’s bark box and then you can take steps to train him to stop.

Follow the rules at the dog park, a perk of many more towns throughout the country. And since more than one third of U.S. households include at least one pooch, public dog parks provide a great meeting place for other pup parents and give dogs an opportunity to play with each other safely off leash, in an enclosed place.

How to Get Ready to Adopt Your First Dog

How to Get Ready to Adopt Your First Dog

Are you thinking of adding to your family? No, we’re not talking about babies — we’re talking about dogs! Dogs are a wonderful addition to any household, but bringing one home shouldn’t be an impulse decision. Here’s what you need to do before you adopt your first four-legged friend.

Know What You Want

Not all dogs are the same — far from it! Even across a single breed, individual dogs have unique personalities and preferences. However, breeds are useful for determining typical traits. For example, while hunting breeds tend to be athletic and high-energy, dogs bred for companionship are more likely to be laid-back snugglers.

Before you start searching for a dog, consider how a dog fits into your lifestyle.  Do you want a buddy for outdoor adventures, a lap dog for company at home, or something in between? Once you understand your wants and capacity to care for a pet, make a list of breeds that fit your vision. Since many rescue dogs are mixes of two or more breeds, stick to breed groups rather than setting your sights on a specific breed.

Don’t forget to consider age. Puppies are popular but require much more training than adult dogs. Unless there’s someone home all day, it’s difficult to find time to train a puppy. Older dogs may have fewer years to spend with your family, but they’re often house-broken and already have some training.

If you’re thinking about getting a dog but aren’t sure what type of dog is the right fit for your family, consider fostering. When you foster, you provide temporary housing and care for homeless dogs while a rescue group searches for a permanent home. It’s a great way to get experience with dogs of different ages, breeds and temperaments while also doing well.

Get Your House Ready

Before you bring your dog home, you need to buy the right supplies. Dog bowls, leashes and treats might seem straightforward, but there are important nuances to be aware of.

While collars are a good way to keep ID tags attached to your dog, they’re not ideal for walking. Harnesses are more comfortable for active dogs, while dog strollers are great way to get elderly dogs


 out for fresh air. And although most dogs will be just fine with the standard stainless steel food dish, breeds prone to bloat and overweight dogs benefit from slow feeder bowls. New dog owners should also be aware that some popular treats such as bones can actually be dangerous for dogs.

In addition to these supplies, prepare your home with a comfy dog bed and crate. Even if you allow your dog to free-roam, it’s good practice to kennel-train to reduce anxiety when crate confinement is necessary.

Finally, don’t forget to dog-proof. There are a lot of hidden hazards around your home, but a thorough dog-proofing keeps your dog safe. Use Whistle’s room-by-room guide to get your house ready for its new addition.

Have a Plan

Life with dogs can be blissful, but it rarely starts out that way. Rescue pets in particular may be anxious about moving to a new home, but also there are things you can do to make the transition easier for everyone.

Set your dog up in a quiet place for the first few days and don’t overwhelm him with attention. A new house is stressful enough without piling stimulation on top of it! Keep your schedule free so you can work on basic training. Even a well-trained dog may need to brush up on his skills after joining a new family.