It remains our responsibility to take care of the needs of our faithful 4-legged companions. Regular meals of nutritious food and plenty of clean, fresh water are the minimum we owe our dogs. It is also just as important for us to socialize them, exercise them, train them and most of all, give them affection.
Dog foods: which is the best for my dog? There are so many good choices and tenfold opinion. I just use the brand that my dad gives his dog (a major brand) and our 3 dogs do well with it. They always have a good report from our vet; my sister’s dog on the other hand could not tolerate our brand and had to try a few different brands before finding the right one for her dog.
Water is whole lot simpler; fresh, cold water served in good quality stainless steel bowl (which is easier to keep clean and sterilize).
Housing: a simple solution is to house them indoors, give them a place to sleep and training to let you know when they need to go outside. Outside housing: either a fenced-in yard or a sturdy kennel with a kennel cover for shade and rain protection, with mesh sides. Sun protection is especially necessary on the west side of the kennel during the summer months. A dog house for sleeping and a fresh bowl of water and one for food completes the outside housing.
Training can be the hardest, but start early and stay with it. The frustration a puppy can overwhelm you and test your patience, but consistency is the key to successful training.
Socialization can take a little more effort, especially if you fudged on the training. A dog park, a hiking trail, a walk around the block, require some time and planning, but the benefits are tremendous, not just for my dog. My doctor sent a text to our dogs telling them to get me walking around the block so I can get some much needed exercise too!
Affection is the easiest, so step away from the computer or the daily humdrum for a moment and hug your dog. While you’re at it, hug your wife, kids, companion, friend or whoever is close to you. Hugs are free and easily shared.