Keep Calm and Stay S.A.N.E.
So you recently adopted a dog and you want to make sure you are laying the groundwork for your pup to live a long, happy, healthy life. Staying S.A.N.E. is the key to your dog’s overall well-being… and yours too!
Slowly introduce your pet to the rest of your world. Socialization is key but taking it slowly will pay off in the long run.
Being conscious of your dog’s boundaries and comfort zone is very important. For a shy, timid or fearful dog, small doses of new people and other pets is a great way to start. Until your shy dog settles in, limit the number of visitors to your house. When new people enter the house, ask them to spend some quality, relaxed time with your timid dog. Asking a visitor to start by sitting down to get on your dog’s level, avoiding eye contact, speaking in a soft voice and offering your dog a treat from an open, outstretched palm is a thoughtful way to let your dog know that strangers do not equal danger. As your new dog begins to trust other people, he/she will gain self-confidence that will last a lifetime.
Keep pup-dates with other dogs short and sweet. Socializing your new dog with other dogs is very important but it’s equally as important to avoid over facing your new pup. Meet on neutral ground, skip adding toys to the mix, read your dog’s body language and relax. Your dog can feel your energy, the calmer you are, the more likely it is that they will mirror your confidence.
Need help understanding dog play? Read Play Pals: Understanding How and Why our Dogs Play
Gentle affection is the key to unlocking the greatness in every animal.
Finding out the way your new dog likes to receive affection is both important and satisfying! Does your dog like full body rubs, all over scratches and lots of praise? Soft pets, under the chin scratches and baby talk? Belly rubs and the occasional “good boy” with a pat on the head? A combination of all of these things or just one of them? No matter what kind of affection, physical contact and praise that your dog likes to receive, finding it and embracing it will lead happiness.
The possibilities are endless. Choose whatever helps your pet thrive.
As P.E.T. Parents we directly control what and how much our dogs eat. It’s important to consider the various types of dog foods that are out there, consult with your vet and choose one that keeps your dog feeling healthy and doesn’t break your budget. If you notice your dog’s appetite, behavior, appearance or bathroom habits change for the worse, consult with your veterinarian and consider altering your dog’s diet.
Pro tip: when switching your dog’s food, do so gradually to avoid shocking your pup’s system and giving them a belly ache.
Want to learn more about what types of dog foods are available and how much your dog should eat? Check out our article A Guide for Picking the Right Food for Your Dog.
Physical and mental exercise are essential to every living thing. Keep your new pet mentally challenged with games and training and physically fit with daily aerobic exercise.
Excess energy is the root of almost all behavioral problems. If you pledge to exercise your dog both mentally and physically every day, your dog will be happy, healthy and well behaved. Starting your day with an aerobic walk, run, hike or swim will burn excess energy, refresh your body and your dog’s body and set the tone for a great day.
Using brain power burns energy too! Practicing tricks and commands with your dog every day for at least 15 minutes is a great way to keep your pup mentally stimulated. Puzzle toys and treats that require some thinking are a great option for when you need a break, but your dog needs some stimulation.
If you spend long hours at work, consider hiring a dog walker to take your dog out at least once a day.
Embrace these 4 tips and both you and your pup will stay S.A.N.E. for years to come!
Dogs thrive on being a working member of their pack. Make basic obedience your dog's job and both you and your dog will be happier for it.