You can never know too much about dogs. So take a moment to sniff out all the helpful and interesting information we’ve got for you here.
Twelve Golden Rules of Dog Ownership
Dogs are attentive, loyal, life-affirming, and understanding companions. But owning a dog means taking responsibility for him and making sure your relationship is built on a solid foundation. That's where these rules come into play: They can help you create a tighter bond with your pet by establishing roles, rules, and routines.
Twelve golden rules
Understanding Your Dog's Personality
While some scientists have dismissed the idea of distinct pet personalities, recent studies prove what owners have always known—dogs really do have their own individual personalities.
Research by University of Texas at Austin psychology professor, Sam Gosling, showed that pure and mixed breed dogs can be accurately classified using four basic personality dimensions: intelligence, energy level, anxiety level, and affection. Borrowing methods used in standard human personality testing for his canine research, Gosling also found that these distinct personality traits often vary with breeds.
Instinct influences personality
Why is Fido so friendly, Chloe so clever or little Pepe perpetually on alert? Selective breeding accounts for part of the answer. Over the centuries dogs have been bred to perform certain tasks and functions, and those instinctive behaviors persist.
If your curious beagle is constantly sniffing around the backyard, it's probably following scent, part of this hunting breed’s natural instinct. Herding is in the DNA of shepherds and shepherd mixes—so when your dog circles the kids protectively, he can’t help himself. And a terrier, bred to relentlessly root out rats and other underground animals, might display stubborn or strong-willed qualities.
While instinct is a powerful determinant, dogs also take cues from an owner's personality—friendly, secure dogs, for instance, often have calm owners, while dogs that are easily frightened might have anxious owners.
Training and personality
Understanding your dog's individual personality, as well as the dominant qualities of its breed, can be very helpful in training. It might be difficult, for instance, to teach a quiet or reclusive dog to be your gregarious running companion or to turn a natural scent-tracker into a watchdog. Every dog has its unique qualities and lovable quirks, and working with your dog’s natural traits can make training much easier.
Shy or outgoing, dominant or submissive, energetic or easygoing—knowing what makes your dog tick is the first step in creating a healthy relationship that works for both of you.
Help Your Dog Rediscover His Inner Puppy
Improvements in medical care and diet have given our canine senior citizens more energy and vitality than ever before. With a little extra attention you can keep your dog’s inner puppy alive for years.
First, forget the old adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Your dog’s innate desire to work, play, and receive praise assures that he not only can learn new skills, he’ll enjoy the process. Try to teach him new games and practice new tricks regularly—mental stimulation is good for your older dog and will keep him young.
Diet and exercise: The “inner puppy” pleaser
A recent study by the U.S. National Institute of Aging on a test group of older dogs concluded that a diet fortified with vitamins, fruits, and vegetables, along with regular exercise, was enormously beneficial in maintaining youthful qualities.
Obesity and inactivity are the enemy of older dogs and can lead to serious health problems and premature aging. Be sure to speak to your veterinarian about an enriched diet than can keep your older dog lean and healthy, as well as a daily exercise program that’s appropriate for his condition.
The benefits of good old fun
Nothing brings out the puppy in an older dog like playtime. Don’t let your senior get lazy. Here are some tips for keeping him up and running:
While regular activity is excellent for older dogs, always keep a close eye on him for signs of pain or fatigue. With a little rest, he’ll be ready to play another day.