Planning to adopt a dog and wondering how to raise dogs at home ? Or, may be you already have a cuddly fur baby that’s kind of making you mad and draining out your energy. Don’t cry, just keep reading.
Dogs are a part of the family and like any other family member, they too need time and interaction to grow into a perfect companion. You need to devote yourself with utmost patience and love, and your dog is going to return that tenfold.
Many of you may have brought your dog home for the first time and now may be realizing that raising him or her is much harder than you thought it would be. I get that, trust me, I have been there.
Raising dogs obviously includes the basics of providing food and safety. However, bringing up a dog is more than just providing it food, a warm bed, and some toys.
If you are a dog parent learning the ins and outs of raising your dog, or are considering adding one more dog to your pack, these tips will come handy for sure.
From bringing a new dog home, to nurturing it with care, to teaching it obedience and good behaviour, to catering both physical and mental health needs, I lay it all on the table for you.
Routine & Life Balance
It’s important to manage your time properly once you have a dog as a part of your family. Whether it is house work or a job, we are all pretty busy during the day. Moreover, if there are kids or old people at home, you will be already occupied enough.
To juggle all this with a dog, it is very important that you schedule your time and fix a routine for you, your dog, and your family.
Meals, walks, potty, pee-pee, play, and naps, each activity should be scheduled and followed each day consistently. Once you fix a routine, you can plan things in advance and balance out the day well.
Also, make sure you spend some interactive time with just you and your dog at least once a day.
These moments of spending quality time with your dog will not only strengthen your relationship with him but it can relax you on a busy day.
Nevertheless, your dog needs some time alone as well, so do not forget to schedule a dog-free time in his daily routine. There should be a time in everyday where he is left completely alone to rest and take a break. For the same, a crate or a dog-house can give him a personal and safe space of just his own.
Rules and Cues
Rules make good dogs and cues make happy dogs. Whether you adopted a pup or an adult dog, there should be rules, but age appropriate. It is always best to have strict rules in the beginning, especially when house training a dog.
When you cannot watch them 100% of the time they are out, keep them in a dog safe room or a dog crate. Most accidents and mishaps take place because a dog got out of sight for only for a few seconds.
Additionally, never leave any object out in the house your dog can easily destroy. For instance, if your dog chewed up your shoe, remind yourself that it was your who left the shoe in his reach. Set your dog up for success and make sure you don’t get him into trouble.
Give your dog the basic obedience training and leash training, I cannot emphasize how useful it is when it comes to a dog’s safety.
Teaching a dog “leave” or “drop it” can be of great importance when it has something dangerous in its mouth that can choke him or injure his mouth.
Cues and commands make a dog obedient and it becomes easier for you to handle your dog, especially when guests are home or while you’re out in public.
If you do not train your dog, he will be difficult to manage and unfortunately, your dog will show behavioural issues like aggression, excessive barking and fear.
Socialize. Socialize. Socialize.
Without proper socialization, dogs may develop serious behavioural problems such as anxiety, aggression, and fear or nervousness for anything they find unusual.
For a pup, socializing with other humans and dogs must begin at the age of 2 months. Adult dogs, especially the ones rescued or adopted must be slowly and patiently socialized as they are likely to have deeper fears and learned reactions in their past.
When you socialize your dog it means there will be less stressful visits to the vet, pleasant walks, easy trips to the dog park, and the ability to take your dog almost anywhere without worrying that he might wander off somewhere, snap at someone unexpectedly or begin chasing a child on a bicycle.
Now when your dog meets new people, dogs, and places without being afraid, he will be happier and more confident in his life. This will for certain make your job easier and more enjoyable as a dog owner.
Burn off that energy
Like babies and kids, dogs are little bundles of energy, especially when they are little pups. This energy doubles every week until they are a year or two.
With no idea how to use all that stored energy, these creatures get bored and end up doing things they shouldn’t, and hence, often their behaviour turns into a destructive one.
Help your playful buddy to burn off some energy with these physical activities such as daily walks, jogs or runs, exercises like climbing stairs, games like fetch, tug of war, hide and seek, visit to a dog park, a swim in the lake close by, etc.
Allow him to get dirty rolling and sliding in a muddy puddle and let those zoomies exhaust him until it’s time for him to snooze.
Mental stimulation is another way to tire out your dog and at the same time keep them busy doing something productive for their mental health.
Dogs are very smart animals and they need activities to enrich their minds and senses. Here are some simple activities you can consider to exercise your dog’s brain to keep his brain healthy and active:
Encourage the sniffing as dogs explore the world with their nose. For dogs, smelling everything is like gathering information, so let them sniff and explore on walks. Change routes to enhance that doggy database.
At home, you can make a fun nose-game out of your dog’s food or favourite treats. Try hiding some treats in his bed or toy box, or any safe place where he can sniff it out with little effort. It will be fun and satisfying for your dog and you will see him all charged up like a search dog on a mission.
You can also get your fur buddy a treat dispenser like the Kong toy. In this treat dispenser, you place your dog’s treats in the toy and he has to roll it and fling it around in order to get the treat to come out of the hole.
Additionally, you can get interactive toys for your dog to keep him occupied when you’re not around. You can get an automatic smart dog toy like the Trembling Monster or the Wicked Bone from PawsIndia that your dog can play with all by himself when you’re busy. Amazing, right!
Lastly, you can always teach your dog new tricks or teach him the names of his toys. You can do this for your recently adopted 5-year-old shelter dog too. Remember, a dog is always ready to learn as far as he is being taught patiently and lovingly.
Let that monster chew
Chewing is an instinctive way dogs use to explore the world, to relieve teething pain, or simply satisfy their natural urge of chewing.
Before you get your dog home, get him all kinds of safe things to chew, or else he will chew all kinds of unsafe things at home, turning himself into a chew-aa-wa. LOL
You can consider getting your little monster natural wooden sticks, rawhide bones, and safe rubber chew toys like the Kong toys.
Chewing helps a dog to fight boredom, relieve mild anxiety or frustration, and also exercises their teeth and gums naturally.
“Stay” – The most important command
This tip usually doesn’t come to mind for most dog parents, it did not come to me, I swear. But it wasn’t hard to see the importance it has for my curious dogs.
Our dogs quickly learn and understand what we want from them and what we don’t encourage, but our plans and desires don’t always link with their understanding. This is when accidents happen.
The first thing we must teach new dogs is to “wait” or “stay” before we approve them to go out. In the absence of this cue, I had a difficult time to handle my dogs and also heard way too many sad stories about other dogs getting out the back door and tragedy striking.
For this, we must also teach them that coming to us is always a good and safe thing. When you call them, make sure there should either be something good to eat or a favourite toy or a whole lot of love going on.
Do Things Together
This is actually why you should get a dog in the first place, right, to do fun things together with your best friend. This tip is the quickest way to turn an upset and unhappy owner into their dog’s favourite hooman once again.
Do you know what I do with my three dogs? Here is a list of some fun activities I do with my dogs, which you and your dogs can easily and happily do together:
- I play tug, hide and seek, fetch, and play ‘referee’ while they wrestle like champions.
- I accompany them in bird watching on lazy afternoons.
- I breathlessly chase them in our garden which is similar to an obstacle-course with over 500 flowers pots.
- I roll on the floor and wrestle with them like I’m one of them.
- I take fun walks with them in new routes.
- I make my eyes and their nose work while searching for rats in the storeroom.
- I try to convince them every morning to abort their anti-cat mission. God bless the neighbour’s cats!
- I let them roll in mud and slush.
- I’m getting them a pool for the summers and I’m still discovering fun ways to keep them active and happy.
The most crucial piece of advice that I have got as a dog parent in all these years is to crate train my dogs.
Like humans, dogs also have days when they feel anxious and look for a safe quiet place to calm down. A crate offers a sense of safety, just like a den.
Don’t worry if your dog is not crate trained yet, it is never too late. All you will need is a few weeks, and slowly and carefully you can teach your dog that the crate is his safe space, her little den to retreat in when things get too stressful.
I have noticed that many people see using crates as a way to punish their dogs for unwanted behaviour. However, if you properly train your dog to see the comfort and safety in their little den, crates can easily become a dog’s safe hide-out.
Raising Many Dogs Together
I had a dog. Then I saw it lonely and sad, so I got my dog, a dog. I saw how happy my dog was his dog, so I decided to get my dog’s dog, a dog. That’s how my home has three dogs, the most my house has ever had at a time.
Bringing up multiple dogs is a lot of work and requires a great deal of commitment, especially when they are all of different ages.
Any dog expert would suggest you to have multiple dogs only if you are an experienced dog parent.
Well, you can have two to three dogs at home together when there are at least two to three members in your family. Raising many dogs all alone is not a good idea, not for you, not for the dogs.
While adding another fur baby to your family of furs, be patient and let the dogs bond naturally. Don’t force it at any cost.
When I introduced my 2-month-old female pup, Hyena, to my 13-year-old male dog, Tuffy, they bonded in a day. But my 4-year-old female, Selfie took a whole week to accept Hyena as her baby sister. I had to keep them in separate rooms until they finally learnt to snuggle together.
Always introduce the dogs in a neutral zone and on leashes. Keep the introduction short for the first few days and gradually increase it. Look for signs like growling or teeth baring. Discourage the negative behaviour by ignoring it and encourage signs like sniffing and licking.
All dogs are different and no one in the world is born a dog parent. I had my first dog when I was 8 and I have been learning from my dogs, dog experts in family and far, and from all my experiences till today.
Something I personally believe is that as dog parents we are the only ones our dogs depend on for everything, including good habits and manners which make our lives easy as dog parents.
There is no dog-bible to teach us how to raise dogs, however these tips can help you bring up your dogs in a relaxed way.
Just be generous with your love and expect the unexpected, and you will make an amazing dog parent.
Share this very informative article with all the dog lovers out there.