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    6 ways to be a responsible dog owner

    Articlegeneral dog adviceWednesday 22 May 2013
    Having a dog can be lots of fun but it is not all about tummy rubs and games. A dog requires a lot of time and investment if you want it to have a happy life and here are 6 key issues you need to read if you want to become a repsonsible dog owner.
    A happy dog will grow up to be strong, fit, well behaved and healthy. A dog not brought up well will cause you many problems including behavioural, health and social problems. 
    1. Possibly the most important thing to decide before getting a dog is whether or not you can afford it both in your financial situation and also you have enough free time to spend with dogs. Dogs require a huge amount of time and money. Dogs live for on average 13 years so you should be almost certain you can put in a strong enough investment to look after your dog for that long. If not, it will be sad for you and unfair to your dog if it has to be re-homed. Make sure before choosing to get a dog that you are aware of how much effort you need to put in.
    1. Dogs LOVE walks. Depending on the breed and size of dog you will need to adjust daily walks accordingly. Smaller breeds like pugs and toy poodles will only need a short amount of exercise per dog. Larger and energetic breeds like Border Collies and Labradors will need to have much longer walks. By being a responsible dog owner you will walk your dog accordingly. By not doing so, a dog can become restless and let their energy out on destroying your house! As a general rule of thumb, dogs should be walked at least twice a day for thirty minutes each.
    1. Register your dog. Make your dog has the right qualifications and certificates when you purchase it. This is important so you comply with the law and it can also help vets aware of any breed specific implications if they are a cross breed. You should also make sure your dog has a collar with an appropriate key ring on that lists their name and also your telephone number. A collar tells someone straight away that the dog is “owned”. This will make sure they don’t accidently end up at the animal rescue centre. Over the past decade microchipping has become pretty much the most popular choice of ownership. Getting your dog microchipped is relatively cheap and pain free. It costs around £50 and a chip, the size of a grain of rice, is inserted between the dog’s shoulder blades. This chip contains your information as well as the dogs. Most vets and animal rescue centres are equipped with a scanner so if your dog gets lost it can easily be returned to you.
    1. Let your dog have social interaction with other dogs from an early age. Dogs, especially puppies should meet with other dogs so they can act appropriately with others. If there is regular contact then this is a good thing. If a dog is kept away from other dogs then two meet the dogs after a long period yours could be overly aggressive or hyper energetic. Remember, it is very normal that dogs are together. Thousands of years ago, they were in packs so it is in their instinct and nature to be with each other.
    1. Regularly groom your dog – Dogs need grooming and looking after and realistically this should be done once per day. You should also aim to give your dog a bath or a shower at least once a month (whether or not they enjoy it!). You will need all the equipment such as a dog brush, tweezers (to pull out hair in the ears) and specially formulated dog shampoo which will not hurt if it goes in the dog’s eyes.
    1. Do not tell your dog off too much. Remember that dogs and dogs and they are not humans. When they misbehave, they are not doing it to purposely “annoy” you. They are being bad because there is something not quite right in their environment and as an owner it should be up to you to find this out. Under no circumstances should you use violence with a dog. Not only is this cruel but it will give the dog serious social deficiencies. What is often best is to use a strong and firm “no”.  Also be thorough with your discipline. If the dog is begging for food at the table then do not say no on one day, but allow him to beg and actually give him food on another day. This is bad training and will only confuse the dog. Another common problem with disciplining a dog is telling a dog off after something happens. If you notice that while you were away, the dog and gone through the rubbish bin then telling him off two hours after he did it will be useless for the dog. They will not link the telling off to the crime. They will most likely think you are only being nasty.
    Source: Wikihow
    Photo: davidlh
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