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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

7 Habits of Highly Effective Dog Owners

by Carrie Boyko
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(c) Alan Boyko
Walking Your Dogs Beside You
Helps to Establish You as the Boss

  1. Establish yourself as the leader--no questions asked. Set rules for your dog and don't allow any exceptions. Help avoid fears and anxiety by displaying your leadership and confidence at all times when your dog might otherwise become fearful or nervous.
  2. Provide your dog with daily vigorous exercise for about an hour each day.
  3. Mental exercises such as training, mind games and problem solving toys stimulate the dog's brain, helping to keep him calmer and challenged. Also, physical challenges, if your dog is physically fit and able, are good for your dog's confidence. Games like FETCH and swimming can be accomplished at home or nearby. Group games such as Agility, Flyball, Herding, Tracking and such are excellent physical and mental exercises that can help a dog get in tune with his breed instincts or just have a lot of fun trying.
  4. Socialization with humans and other dogs should begin at a young age and continue throughout your dog's life.
  5. Beginning with leash training, train your dog from a young age, and never, ever, stop practicing or adding to this training. 
  6. Feed your dog a healthy, AAFCO (Assn. of American Feed Control Officials) approved dog food, or get your vet's input on homemade food guidelines, to assure proper nutrition for your dog at every age and stage.
  7. Affection is earned when your dog is displaying good behavior and acting calm. This is the only time your dog should receive treats or affection. This rule of thumb will assure that you do not ever unknowingly encourage a behavior that is unwanted.
Related Reading:
You pick! Seriously, the 7 items up there cover just about every post on this blog--nearly 400 articles. Pick a topic you'd like to learn more about and plug in a keyword search at the top of the page. See what you get!

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Nature by Dawn said...

Great Post! Remember that being a leader does not mean being a bully. You can be the pack leader (as indicated in the 1st habit) without aggression and physical force. You do this by consistently practicing the 7th habit.

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Thanks Dawn. I sure would like to get acquainted with you. Care to reveal your identity or pass along an email address? You can reach me at

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