Bruce Fogle, DMV, MRCVS, is an old hand when it comes to dogs. A practicing vet for almost 40 years, he’s written more than 20 best-selling books about our canine companions. His latest release, “New Dog: Choosing wisely and ensuring a happily ever after,” aims to build better dog owners from the ground up.
Here are 10 of Fogle’s “20 Essential Tips for a New Dog.”
1. Start socializing and training your new dog as early as possible. Older dogs can be taught new tricks, but what’s learned earliest is learned quickest and easiest.
2. Train your dog gently and humanely, using positive, motivational methods. Keep obedience sessions upbeat and short.
3. How well your dog responds to you at home inevitably affects how it will behave outdoors. If your dog doesn’t respond reliably to commands at home, where distractions are minimal, it certainly won’t respond to you outdoors, where temptations are more exciting.
4. Don’t let your dog treat you or anyone else in the family like hired help. Don’t let it treat your furniture like its private gymnasium. You make the rules, not your dog. The whole family should be consistent in what your dog may and may not do. Ensure it has its own personal place to chill out.
5. Brush up on your local dog laws.
6. Don’t let your dog beg at the table or eat leftovers from your plate. If you utterly hate waste, give the leftovers in the feeding bowl. Give a tasty chew toy to concentrate on rather than letting your dog try to scrounge from the dinner table.
7. Establish a greeting pattern when visitors arrive and stick to it. Giving a rewarding alternative job to do, such as sitting on command or chewing on a tasty treat, prevents jumping up on visitors. Visitors need instructions on how to greet your dog as well.
8. Don’t let your dog demand your attention by annoying you to death. Even negative attention such as a good scolding can be rewarding for some dogs. Give a behavior command like “sit” before it earns your attention.
9. Never give a command you can’t enforce.
10. Dogs are brilliant at understanding your body language. It is more important than the actual words you use. Keep your body language friendly, fresh and crisply clear.
Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Firefly Books, $19.95 paperback.
“New Dog” is on sale now.