What your dog needs…

the beagle breed

What your dog needs (building a better relationship with your dog)


Your dog deserves the best owner it can have – evaluate your lifestyle, be informed and up to date in  training yourself in the easier, quicker, gentler and altogether more effective and efficient way of raising and training puppies. (Dr I Dunbar – Before and After Getting Your Puppy)


Companionship and affection:  Dogs are highly social animals and are designed to live in packs (not alone).  Dogs have adapted to being part of the human family. A companion animal does not belong on its own in a back yard – it belongs wherever you are whenever possible.


Exercise and enrichment:  Daily exercise and enrichment tends to  circumvent many behavioural problems – daily walks outside the home are extremely important.

Use games and play in training – reinforcing commands in a positive and fun way.



Healthcare: Budgeting for healthcare is essential .  Your dog will require annual vaccinations and regular veterinarian checks.  Budget for the unexpected – it will happen!  Consider pet medical insurance from the time you bring your puppy or new dog home.



Education: Your dog can never take responsibility for its’ own training!  All dogs should receive basic obedience training.  Positive training techniques teach the dog that obeying, results in good things happening.  Dogs that are trained by positive reinforcement soon learn and do what the owners want – they even start to figure out for themselves how to make their owners happy and therefore earn and receive rewards.  The result a motivated dog and a deeper bond between dog and owner.


Always, always reward your dog for good behaviour .  Set your dog up for success and watch out for those positive behaviours – then reinforce – pats, toys, treats, happy hugs and kisses – whatever makes you both happy.


You are your dog’s primary role model.  If you want quiet calm behaviour, then you must role model quiet calm behaviour.


House training:  This requires vigilance and patience.  The more vigilant and patient you are the quicker your pup will be house trained. Puppies will sniff the ground and circle the spot – watch for the signs!


Accidents will happen – do not make a fuss! Do not punish him! Clean it up with a biological detergent and use surgical spirits to remove odours. Be more consistent in taking the puppy out after naps, meals and play sessions.


By taking him to the same place each time he will soon learn what is expected of him.  Wait for him to do his business – then reward and praise him lavishly.  This way he will learn that toileting outside is a really good thing.


Until the pup is around 4 months old he is unable to go through the night without defecating or urinating. As soon as he wakes up take him out immediately and wait for him to do his toileting – then reward him lavishly.


If you pup is kept outside for the day he will not learn “house rules”


Hopefully the breeder has started the process by training the puppy to toilet on grass.


A crate is a useful training tool used judiciously. (more on crate training at a later stage).  This is based on the fact that dogs will not soil their den. A puppy should not be left in the crate for more than an hour (always with a chew/chew toy – preferably both). Remember a crate is a tool not a place to confine the puppy for long periods or as punishment.  Always give your puppy an opportunity to relieve himself before being crated for the night. It is a good idea to keep the crate next to your bed so you can hear him become restless and take him out.


Socialisation: What is it?  Giving your dog the confidence to face the world in a positive way.


Remember your dog feels threatened not only by things he has had a bad experience with but by things he has had NO experience with.


Getting used to different environments:  Socialising to a variety of people, places and experiences on a regular basis and pairing this with positive reinforcement will ensure that your dog is comfortable in the environment in which he lives.


Leadership: In the canine world there is no such thing as equals.  You need to be the leader and your dog the follower.  Lead by firm, fair means making sure your dog always understands what is required of him.  The consistency of your dog’s behaviour good or bad will mirror the consistency of your training.  A dog’s concept of what is right and wrong is very different to ours. Do not expect your dog to understand your perception of right and wrong i.e. barking is acceptable, normal behaviour for a dog but unacceptable to humans.


A dog will not respect a bully and will oblige only when it has no other option i.e. the dog will not want to please.  Compulsion training only builds resentment.



Food, chews and toys:  Your dog deserves the best food you can afford.  Read labels to familiarise yourself with the content.  The higher the protein the better the food.  Watch out for preservatives.


Chewing is a normal, natural, necessary occupation for dogs – dogs experience life through their noses and jaws.  Provide appropriate chews and chew toys.  If dogs are not given proper chewing outlets, they will easily find the wrong ones!


Home:  Make sure your home is “pet” safe.  Pesticides, medications, household cleaners, engine coolant  and some houseplants can be deadly to your pet.  Keep out of reach.


Back home:  Keep an identification tag on your dog at all times.  It is your dogs ticket back home.  Micro chipping is excellent but an external tag is essential.


Spay or neuter your dog.  There are just too many homeless animals to be adding to the problem.  Leave breeding pedigree dogs to the responsible breeders.





Dog ownership is not something to be entered into lightly.  Owning a dog is a long-term emotional and financial commitment. 







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