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Responsibilities Involved With Owning a Dog  

Wagging Tails and the Responsibilities They Entail

 Nothing beats coming home to wet noses and wagging tails. The unconditional love and companionship of a dog is unmatched. Almost everyone loves these adorable creatures but not all know the full scale of the care required; and none better than Helen Schifter.   

Helen knows dogs are a major life commitment and rely on their owners for all of their needs. Feeding, training, exercise and medical care are just a few of the many needs of our furry friends. Oftentimes first time owners don’t realize just how much work goes into raising a well adjusted, healthy member of canine society. 

Feeding

Believe it or not, over feeding is a major issue for dogs. Very few are able, or willing to self regulate their food intake. This can quickly lead to excessive weight gain, which is an entry way to loads of medical issues. Quality matters too, Owners should be vetting their pets’ food to ensure quality ingredients. Low quality food is full of filler ingredients that can lead to bloating, excessive gas, skin issues and other uncomfortable ailments.

Training  

Training a new dog or puppy is not just about the cute tricks. All dogs need to have a solid foundation of obedience. There are three commands all dogs need to learn to be considered a well trained dog. That’s right, only three. Those commands are:

1. Sit. 

2. Stay. Once given this command a dog should be able to maintain it until given the OK from their owner. 

3. Come/Recall. The come or recall command is all about the dog returning to their owner the moment the command is given. A dog with a good recall can be chasing a ball and when given the command, stop chasing and immediately return to their owner.

Socialization  

Helen Schifter recommends socializing dogs in a controlled environment from an early age to prevent unwanted behaviors. These behaviors can include fear based aggression or reactive tendencies. New dog owners need to make sure to expose their dog to loud noises, children, other dogs/animals and people. This will lead to the dog not being afraid or nervous in new environments.

Exercise

Exercising a dog by going for long walks, running or throwing a ball in a game of fetch is a great way to burn off some energy.  A tired canine is less likely to exhibit unwanted behaviors like chewing items or tearing up furniture. Dogs should be walked for at least 30 minutes a day. More active breeds, such as the husky or German Shepard, will require longer and more vigorous forms of exercise.

Medical Care

Dogs require shots and regular vet care to ensure they are as healthy as possible. They should be seeing a vet at least once a year for a general check up. All dogs should be on some form of heartworm and flea preventative care. This is usually in the form of a monthly chewable prescribed from a vet. Heartworms can kill a dog and preventative care is much more affordable than treatment.

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