10 Tips for Dog Owners


  1. When picking a dog to join your family, pick one whose energy level matches your life style. If you lead an active life style a dog with more energy and stamina may be a good match for you. If you lead a more laid back life style pick a lower energy, laid back dog. When you make the commitment to being a dog owner, commit to the dog for its life, and make sure you have the time and energy to fit the dog into your everyday life. A professional dog trainer can help you pick a dog with the right temperament for you.
  2. Expose your dog to as many different situations as possible. It is best to do this through socialization when your dog is a puppy. Keep your puppy’s age and stage of development in mind. Stage of development will play a key role in how your puppy reacts to each situation. A professional dog trainer or behaviorist can help you understand your puppy’s development and how to set it up for success. As dogs grow older they become more set in their ways, but they can be taught how to behave in different situations. Monitor all interactions between your dog and other people and animals. If your dog starts to show signs of high stress, end the interaction. Start with one dog or human at a time in a comfortable environment for the dog to avoid overwhelming it. Additionally, dogs have many different personalities, and just like in humans, not all personalities are going to mesh well together. Dogs do not have to like every other dog or person, and should not be forced to do so. The goal is to teach your dog to peacefully coexist with other people and animals, NOT to force it to play or interact. As you progress, you will learn which personalities your dog likes and dislikes.
  3. Learn your dog’s body language and behavior in different situations. Your dog’s body language will tell you a lot about the behavior it will exhibit next. It will also tell you whether your dog is happy or stressed (a wagging tail does NOT always mean the dog is happy). If you are not sure about your dog’s body language or behavior contact a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. Knowing a little bit about dog behavior and body language will help keep you and your dog safe when out in public.
  4. Greetings between dogs are best done from the side (nose to tail) on a loose leash. Parallel walking with the other owner and dog is always a good way to start an introduction between dogs. Some dogs may take longer to feel comfortable with the dog he/she is meeting than others. Sometimes the best approach is to let the dogs see and smell each other from a distance before allowing them to interact. Do NOT force an interaction. If one or both dogs are feeling uncomfortable give them time to adjust. Sometimes just peacefully coexisting is a success!
  5. Always ask the dog handler before you pet or approach another dog. Invite the dog to approach you before you reach out and pet him/her. If a dog moves away from you or turns its back on you, do not follow it or pet it. That is a dog’s way of saying, “nice to meet you, but I do not want to be touched.” If the dog allows you to pet it, pet it for 5 seconds and then stop. If the dog leans in for more, you can pet it again. Limit petting to 5 second intervals. When a handler says “No, please do not approach my dog,” RESPECT it. Nobody knows a dog like its handler. The handler is saying no to keep both you and the dog safe.
  6. Basic obedience training is always a good idea for all dogs and owners. It will strengthen your relationship with your dog and make life easier for both of you. Keep your training sessions with your dog short and fun. Training should be fun for you and the dog. If you get frustrated or are not having fun end the session by asking the dog to do something simple that he/ she already knows. Training sessions should always end on a positive note. A dog’s basic skill set should include eye contact or focus, heeling, sit, down, stay, come, leave it, settle (go to your bed), and peaceful coexistence with other dogs and people. Basic obedience should be practiced inside and outside of your home, and should be integrated into your everyday life. Well-behaved dogs are happy dogs and make happy owners! If you are not sure how to train your dog, contact a professional dog trainer you trust.
  7. Exercise your dog mentally and physically on the daily basis! It is recommended that you walk your dog for at least 1 hour per day. Higher energy dogs may need higher intensity exercise or longer walks. For mental exercise you can teach your dog new tricks or give it a puzzle toy or Kong. Puzzle toys are usually made so you can put food in them and the dog has to figure out how to get the food out. Buster Cubes and Kongs are the most common types of puzzle toys. The best type of mental work for your dog is training and interaction with YOU. Play games that encourage the good behaviors you teach your dog during obedience training. Make a game of obedience! A tired dog is a well-behaved dog!
  8. Give your dog and other dogs you pass on the street space. Just like humans, dogs like their personal space. The sidewalk can be tight quarters sometimes; in tight situations get your dog’s attention and give him/her a command to follow while the other dog passes. A “sit” and “focus” (on you) off to the side or “heel” are good behaviors to encourage while other dogs and people pass by.
  9. When walking your dog be sure to have the proper equipment and that it fits properly. Your choice professional dog trainer can give you advice as to the equipment that best suits you and your dog.
    • 4 to 6 foot leash
    • Collar
    • Poop bags
    • Dog treats
    • Water

10.  Always pick up after your dog. Nobody likes to step in poo!

Join the Conversation


  1. I loved reading your Blog! Great information and tips. As always, very proud of you and your skills a a dog handler/trainer Happy Tails!


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