Most new dog owners aren’t prepared for the responsibility of living with a dog. It can be stressful and overwhelming at first when you don’t have a routine for your pet. Sometimes it takes days or months before you and your pet can adjust to being around each other.
Your dog could seem irritable or want to be alone as they try to acclimate to their new home. These new circumstances can be unsettling for you both. But through patience, you’ll soon accept your ‘new normal.’ Not sure where to start? Below are sure tips to keep a content dog in your home.
Create a Safe Haven for Your Pet
Dogs can have difficulty settling in their new home, especially if they’ve been in and out of a few shelters. The first thing you must do when your new dog gets home is to ensure it feels safe. Do that by spending time with them, caring for them, and showing them they are safe. Establishing a routine also cements your initial bond with your dog, communicating your interest in prioritizing their needs.
For your dog to feel safe, they must trust you. Avoid rushing your dogs and allow them to ease their way to you. Some dogs respond instantly, and others take a while. Keep things as consistent as possible by sticking to a workable routine, like feeding your dog, walking them, leaving for work, coming back home, and going to sleep at the same time daily.
How safe is your pet in its new surroundings? This is yet another important aspect of safety most dog owners fail to consider. When you’re gone, ensure your dog remains safe indoors and outdoors. Leave a stuffed toy, some treats, and a puzzle food bowl to keep your dog distracted and to avoid him focusing on your absence.
Ensure the fence is secure and has no holes where the dog can fit through and possibly get lost. Call your local fence contractors to help with routine maintenance, keep the fence sturdy, and take care of any faults. Other ways to keep your dog safe at home include:
- Placing items like cleaners, medication, and hazardous supplies on high shelves
- Keeping the trash cans covered or outside in a latched dumpster
- Installing locks in your cabinets to keep your prying dog from accessing what’s inside
Prioritize Positive Reinforcement
Dogs love getting rewarded. They’ll do anything to please their owner, if only for a treat or a pat on the back. Positive reinforcement is crucial in ensuring yours is a content dog, as it instills love and discipline simultaneously. If you don’t like your dog’s behavior, treating and praising it encourages the behavior. However, positive reinforcement requires powerful techniques to change or shape your pet’s behavior.
Basic positive reinforcement tools that dog trainers also use to instill good behavior in dogs include commanding your dog to sit before:
- Feeding them. This teaches your dog good manners during mealtimes.
- Letting them outside. This prevents the bad habit of darting
- Petting them. This keeps your dog from jumping on people
Be careful not to use positive reinforcement to reward bad behavior in dogs. For example, if your dog barks at you during meal times and you oblige by offering them food, you’re showing them that it’s okay to bark whenever they want something from you. Instead, ask your dog to sit and wait until mealtime to get their food. If they follow your instructions, say “good dog” while patting them on the back as a reward for being well-behaved. Different types of rewards you can use to reinforce positive habits include:
If your dog isn’t motivated by that, consider briefly playing with them, petting them, or offering them a toy to encourage good behavior. Consider seeking help from a dog obedience trainer if you’re not making much progress with your dog or think you’re not doing it right.
Keep the Home Clean and Cozy
Pet hair all over the place, toilet accidents on the carpet, and spills on the floor can leave your home chaotic. Cleaning up after your pet is vital in ensuring your home is comfortable and safe for everyone. Below are a few tips to help keep your home clean and cozy for pets.
- Clean regularly
. Call your local carpet cleaning company once every few weeks to clean all the carpets and rugs that accumulate shedding and dirt over time. Ensure you mop and vacuum the floors daily. Wipe off spills and accidents immediately and leave the windows open to maintain proper air circulation.
- Keep hazardous supplies and items out of reach
. Dogs are naturally curious creatures. They will pry and investigate everything in and out of the house. Avoid leaving your cabinets open and store harmful supplies on high, hard-to-reach shelves.
- Use pet-safe products
. Some cleaning supplies you use on the fabric or floors can trigger allergies or prove hazardous for your pet. Avoid using harsh chemicals and cleaning products around the house. Only use cleaning supplies that are labeled non-toxic, eco-friendly, or pet-safe.
Keeping the pet’s surroundings clean has benefits because it reduces the risk of your dog ingesting harmful substances. A clean, pet-proofed home alleviates the stress and anxiety a pet may endure living in a chaotic household. A content dog pet likes lying on a bouncy, clean bed using a clean blanket just as much as you do. They like eating and drinking with clean utensils, just like you.
Make The Outdoor Environment Conducive
Is your compound pet friendly? Spending time outside is important for dogs to explore, breathe fresh air, and exercise. The first priority for any pet owner is to ensure their dog’s safety when outside, which begins with a fence. Install a secure fence to keep your pet confined to your home and to discourage them from venturing too far away where their well-being isn’t guaranteed. Make the outdoors conducive for your pet by:
- Creating shaded areas where your dog could rest and cool off on those especially hot summer afternoons.
- Planting grass on your lawn. Dogs sometimes eat grass to get their fiber supply, which helps the dog digest food and pass stool easily.
- Keeping your outdoors pest free. Most dogs that have pests get them from venturing outside. Keeping your compound clean and free of creepy crawlers and wild animals reduces the risk of a pest infestation.
- Installing a sandbox for digging. Dogs naturally instinctually burrow to find food or create a place to rest. A sandbox in your yard protects the grass and keeps your dog from burrowing where it shouldn’t.
- Providing a water feature where your dog can hydrate. Make a water station where your dog can drink and a separate inflatable pool where your dog can play with water or swim when outside.
Consult local landscaping contractors to get a good idea of how you should organize your outdoors to keep it safe for your pet without compromising your property’s functionality and aesthetic appeal.
Keep a Close Eye on Them
A content dog is super intelligent but can get into the most interesting predicaments if so much as a fly distracts their quiet time. Keeping a close eye on your dog is crucial in ensuring its safety. Maybe your dog seems lethargic, unlike his happy, active self. This could be your cue to rush to the vet as he could be sick.
Watching your dog can alert you to something unusual at home. If you notice your dog growling and focusing on the door, it’s a sign to take precautions and see what could be out there. In a nutshell, watching your dog is vital in keeping you and your pet safe. Watching your dog also alerts you to issues they’re experiencing, like anxiety or indiscipline. You can use this information to train your dog to ensure its physical and mental well-being.
Install a home security system to allow you to watch your dog when you’re away. A commercial CCTV, for example, enables you to study your dog and see what they’re doing when you’re not there. It comes in handy and can alert you to your dog’s well-being or lack thereof.
Offer your Dog Fresh Water Daily
Dogs are naturally active creatures. Without adequate water for your pet, they could develop serious dehydration-related health complications. Common complications caused by not offering your pet clean water daily include kidney complications, urinary infections, or even death. Water is essential for digestion and supports the proper functioning of organs. A content dog that drinks plenty of water appears healthy and strong because it has lustrous fur, strong joints, and experiences steady physical growth.
Warning signs of pet dehydration include:
- Sunken eyes
- Dry skin
- Excess shedding
- Pale, dry gums
- Poor appetite
- Depression and lack of interest in socializing
Seek water well services to install a viable outdoor water source for domestic use. A water well means access to a constant, permanent supply of safe, clean water to offer your pet, cook, clean, and do other tasks around your home.
How much water does your pet need? It depends on the size of your pet, their diet, and how active they are. The general rule of thumb is to offer your dog an ounce of water for every pound of weight. For example, a larger 60-pound dog should have at least 60 ounces of water daily. Offer more water if your dog had a particularly active day than usual. Keep your dog’s water bowl clean. Change and pour fresh water into your dog’s water bowl daily.
Let Your Dog Wander in a Natural Playground
Whether in your backyard or dog park, time outdoors is important in keeping a content dog. Through evolution, dogs have become domesticated enough to co-exist with humans indoors. However, the instinct to hunt, protect their territory, and make dens is embedded in their genetics. This explains why it’s important for your dog to spend time in a natural playground with dirt and grass.
Spending time outdoors with your dog is excellent for bonding, socializing, playing, and relaxing. While going to the dog park is fun, it may not be possible to do it daily. Therefore, create a pet-friendly backyard for your dog to enjoy. Hire a brush mulching services expert to clear your lawn or yard to create a safe and even ground for your pet to run free. Allowing your content dog to access their natural playground is important because:
- It’s safe.
As leash laws get stricter by the day, your lawn or backyard is one of the few places your dog can run around without being considered a nuisance or threatening to others.
- It encourages socialization.
A well-socialized dog is less aggressive and friendlier with people and other animals. A dog that spends too much time indoors can quickly get aggressive or anxious when outdoors.
- It triggers the protection instinct
. Your content dog can mark its territory around the fence, alerting stray dogs and other animals of its presence.
A content dog, without a doubt, must spend time in natural spaces. It offers them a sense of freedom to roam and explore and brings a welcome change of scenery.
Maintain a Dog-friendly, Sustainable Environment
Keeping your home clean and making your space safe is great, but you’re doing zero work when it’s not sustainable. Creating a workable routine for your dog and regularly taking your pet to the vet is essential to keeping a content dog. But you can do more to ensure the environment your dog lives in is sustainable. Some of the steps you can take to keep the area eco-friendly and sustainable include:
- Healthy feeding
. Sustainable feeding is centered around offering your pet quality food consisting of a healthy diet that supports your pet’s mental and physical development.
- Proper waste disposal
. A dog that eats well is a dog that produces plenty of waste. Dig a pit where you can compost all bio-degradable pet and domestic waste. Composting is excellent because it adds nutrients to the soil, kills pathogens, and reduces waste volume by about 50 percent.
- Buy eco-friendly toys
. Dogs have super strong jaws that can break plastic, glass, or metal into splinters. If your dog ingests these splinters, it can develop health complications that prove detrimental to its well-being. Numerous high-quality rubber and silicon pet products are available online and in pet stores.
Have Relaxing Shade Spots
Dogs rely on panting and hydration to cool their bodies. The only other way to ensure your dog is comfortable after a long walk or time in the sun is to create areas with shade where they can rest.
Shade protects your dog from experiencing heat stress, heat stroke, and discomfort. Dogs with short fur can get severe sun burns if exposed to the sun for too long. Below is how to create shade for your content dog on your property.
- Prop up a temporary canopy throughout the summer
- Hoist a large umbrella strategically where the dog can easily access
- Create natural shade by hiring a tree service professional to plant shrubs and trees that grow to provide ideal cooling spots for your dog.
A comfortable dog is a content dog. The suggestions above ensure your pet can lounge freely on the grass, under the shade amid the scorching midday sun, or after rigorous exercise.
Caring for and keeping a content dog has never been easier. Above are proven pointers to avoid gambling and ensure your dog is content at home.