How to make your pet dog a part of the family – Part 11

You bring him home for the first time, and his eyes are shining as he curiously examines the world around him. He’s warm and soft and he’s full of adoration and love for his new family and his new home. He’s not a new baby – he’s your dog. But he’s just as much a new family member as a baby would be, and he deserves the same treatment.

Your task now is to make your dog comfortable and make sure he is always well-treated in your home. So what steps can you take to insure that he is always treated as part of the family?

First, before you do anything else, realize that part of treating your dog as a part of the family is guaranteeing him a place to call home and unconditional love under any circumstance. If you don’t feel like you can provide this to him, you are already depriving him of a true family. You wouldn’t get rid of a child if you had to move, or drop them off at a shelter if they misbehaved, so don’t do that to your dog, either. Being willing to work with your dog from day one to make him the best dog he can be will bring great benefits to both him and to you.

Meeting the dog’s needs is another important part of treating him as one of the family. The first need that often gets neglected is the dog’s need for exercise. Any dog, big or small, young or old, needs to stay healthy and fit in order to live a full life. Again, remember the policy many parents take with their children, requiring them to get outside and play or become involved in sports at school. Your dog also needs that structure in his life.

Make sure your dog has an active social life, too. Allowing your dog to interact with many kinds of people and animals will make him less anxious and more friendly in the long run, which is good for his health and happiness and for yours. Keeping others at bay will only isolate your dog and make him aggressive towards unfamiliar things. Bring something new and interesting into his life every day!

Avoid leaving the dog outside for prolonged periods of time by himself. He most likely loves being outdoors, but your companionship is even more desirable. Keeping him in a kennel outside isn’t going to address any of his needs listed above and it will make it harder for him to distinguish family from strangers. You can establish rules about his activities indoors, such as staying off of couches or not chewing on shoes, but do let him in.

Finally, give your dog proper medical treatment and feeding. Dogs have nutritional and medical requirements just like humans and a routine veterinary appointment will help you to determine what your dog needs. Do a lot of research about dog training, feeding and about your dog’s specific breed. Your knowledge makes integrating him into your family an easier task.

Above all, love your dog the way you love your family members and many of these things will come naturally. Love is the key to developing an active interest in your dog’s life and comfort!

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