Dog Care- Kennels, Exercise, Grooming, Discipline
Keeping your dog happy is pretty easy because he is so easy to please. He wags his tail seconds after you've scolded him or kicked him in the behind. All you have to do is give him a special space of his own, brush him regularly and play with him every day.
A Special Place for your Dog
If your dog has to spend some time outdoors - such as at night to keep intruders away -make him a cosy kennel. The kennel should be large enough
to allow your dog to turn round completely and stand up without hunching himself up. You can build the kennel from wooden boards which is ideal, or bricks and mortar. The entrance should face a wall or hedge so it doesn't get too windy for him.
The floor should be raised about two inches off the ground and there should be no cracks or joints in the walls or floor to permit draughts which can give him a cold and make him extremely uncomfortable.
The roof should be covered with waterproof material and should have an overhang to prevent rain from getting in. Do place a warm bed in the kennel for your dog.
If he's indoors most of the time, get him a dog basket woven from cane to sleep in. Make it a comfortable place with a little mattress and change the "bedsheets" at least once a week.
By the way, dogs love bean bags. I got one specially made for them.
The Importance of Exercise for your Pet
You must have noticed that your dog loves to run after stones, sticks or balls you throw for him. Don't get put off if he can't fetch. He's not a circus animal you must train to do tricks for you.
Take your dog for a walk every day. Why not take him along when you go for your morning or evening walk? If you live in an apartment without any garden space, you'll definitely need to take your dog out.
And not just for doggy do. If he does not get to sink his claws into earth, and only gets mosaic floors to walk on, his nails will grow too long and he may even get painful ingrown toenails.
Besides, he needs the exercise without which he will become ill and lethargic.
Punishing your Pet
Dogs do need to learn their lessons like when they pee inside the house or chew up the furniture, or jump over the garden wall. But you don't need to hurt them to get your message across. Experts suggest you whack them with a rolled up newspaper, never with your hand. Dogs get confused when the hand that feeds them inflicts punishment on them.
Grooming Your Dog
Make sure you brush your dog every other day, or at least twice a week. If he's long haired, the longer you put off brushing, the more matted his coat will get. His blood circulation will improve with regular brushing and this will lead to a glossy coat you'll be proud to show off. It will help keep the fleas and ticks away too. Brushing will also keep alive that special bond between you. Haven't you noticed how he loves getting brushed? It makes him feel loved.
Give your dog a tablespoon of coconut oil every day and you'll notice an improvement in his coat in a couple of weeks.
Bathing Your Dog
And when it comes to a bath, here's a little secret: avoid wetting his head till you finish with the rest of him. This way he will not be tempted to shake himself to get rid of the water and give you a bath too.
Take care of your best friend and he'll take care of you. He'll lend a ear to your troubles and joys, give you a lick when you're sad and love you for life.
How To Keep The Kennel Area Smelling Good
Dog urine and shit can make the kennel area stink. Apart from washing the area everyday with natural eucalyptus scented phenol, I have grown a prolific Clematis vine near the kennel entrance as well as the fragrant passiflora. The kennel area also has saplings of lemon.
Why Dogs Are Our Best Friends
When I'm terribly upset which is rare - my dog Rapunzel of the golden tresses wears a ears-up look one can only describe as anxious. Sometimes she even comes over to me and gives my face a reassuring lick. Sure, we all know that pets learn to understand commands and phrases, but have we stopped to think that listening to us speak every day they may have learned much more?
If only they could talk back!
Tension in the house among family members can make my dogs pee on the furniture. It's not just about establishing territorial rights in the presence of a strange dog I might pick up from the street.
When Pets Get Destructive
Dr. Richard Pitcairn, an experienced vet believes that pets do turn destructive and aggressive in the presence of conflict at home. They can even become sick or the sicknesses they already suffer from may become worse with the constant stress.
On the other hand, when there's peace and quiet in the home, pets will respond accordingly. You may notice that they play and frisk around more often and you can tell just by the way they sprawl on the floor and look at you with love, how content they really are.
Pets Can Take on the Illnesses of their Owners
According to Dr Pitcairn, we must not allow our anxiety to show when our pets fall sick as this emotion transmutes easily to them and makes them worse. He suggests we adopt positive thinking and makes the strange observation that pets often take on the illnesses of their owners! This may very well be because of their deep bond with their owners.
A friend who was recently diagnosed with a slightly damaged liver has an old mongrel as a pet. Four months after the diagnosis, the mongrel has developed liver problems. It makes one wonder.
They are much like us, our pets. They mourn their dead, dote on their young, worry like we do and leap up at the mention of a romp on the farm. They stick their heads out from car windows so the wind can ruffle up their hair and take their breath away. They enjoy soft music and sometimes even dare to sing along.
And unlike humans, they can tell when you're leaving for a holiday even before you begin to pack, and they even know when you're coming back. A beloved dog I had reluctantly given away to a family of dog lovers knew I was on my way to pay him a visit after a couple of years of separation. He was up at the gate, barking and wagging even while I was still out of sight.
Come to think of it, I saw a dog on Discovery Channel perk up his ears and run to the window the moment his owner stepped out from his office to return home! Imagine if we humans could do that. It would probably save us a frantic phone call or two.