Establishing your routines right away makes your new dog feel secure and settled. Establishing rules sets behavior patterns for the future because the dog knows what’s expected of him from the first day. Establish an exercise routine, a feeding time, training routine and a grooming routine. All of these will strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Above all, take time to play with and just be with your dog. Sit on the floor next to her and scratch her ears or her chest. Watch television together, play with toys, take walks, and talk to your dog.
“What do I Feed my Dog?”
We recommend a high quality (premium grade) dry food. We recommend you feed dogs dry dog food two times a day and leave fresh water out all the time. A regular feeding schedule will make timely bathroom breaks easier for you and make your dog feel more secure. Consult with your own veterinarian about the type of food that would be best for your dog, and what amount what be healthiest. Don’t feed your dog leftover bones as these can splinter and injure the dog’s mouth or internal organs. Your dog should be fit and trim. If you can see his ribs, he is probably too thin. But if you can’t feel his ribs at all, your dog is too fat. Change the dog’s portions accordingly, but avoid sudden, drastic changes in the amount or type of food you offer him.
“Should I Groom my Dog?”
Frequent brushing and combing helps to keep the fur clean and reduces shedding. Nearly all dogs learn to enjoy being brushed. Brush for short periods at first, and give lavish praise or offer food treats as a reward. There are also professional groomers in Rancho Cucamonga.
“Why Should I Spay or Neuter my Dog?”
If all dog lovers spayed/neutered their dogs, we wouldn’t have so many puppies in our shelter every year. In addition, there is no truth to the urban (and rural) myth that having a litter of puppies mellows a dog’s disposition or that spay/neuter causes dogs to become overweight and lazy. In fact, altering a dog reduces the risk of urinary problems and cancer later in life, curbs the dog’s compulsion to roam and mark territory by spraying urine, and makes them generally better behaved with small children and other pets.
Most dogs adopted from RC Pets have already been altered. If your dog has not, you are required to make an appointment for spay/neuter surgery.
“Should my Dog Sleep Outdoors?”
No. Dogs are highly social animals. Dogs should live and sleep inside the house like the rest of the family. Your dog should be integrated into family activities and a period should be set aside each day to spend quality time with him, such as playing ball or going for a walk. Keep in mind that a rambunctious dog can be perfectly happy so long as he gets plenty of attention and exercise. Take a few minutes to play with your dog every day. Buy some dog toys. One great way to keep a dog who spends time alone outdoors happy is to provide him with a playmate and a companion––namely, another dog.
“How do I Keep my Dog Healthy?”
All dogs adopted from RC Pets have received their initial vaccinations. (If you adopted a puppy, she/he has not received full protection. Puppies must be given a series of vaccinations over several months because they are too young to receive full protection from just one shot. This can mean the difference between life and death for your puppy.) They have also been screened for general health and behavior problems. We encourage you to establish a relationship with a veterinarian of your choice.
Your dog is entirely dependent on you for her health and well–being. She should be alert and active, in good spirits, with a shiny, healthy coat. Watch your dog while she walks, runs and plays. A dog who receives adequate nutrition and who receives periodic veterinary examination will most likely live longer. At your initial visit, your veterinarian can discuss this further and his recommendations in more detail.
“What do I do if my Dog has Fleas?”
Frequent vacuuming of your household and laundering of your dog’s bedding can go a long way to reducing fleas. In addition, there are some good products that can be applied as little as once a month that can virtually eliminate fleas on your dog. Talk to your veterinarian.
“Should I Train my Dog? If so, How?”
Teaching your dog how to behave will not only make her more pleasant to be around, but will also help protect her safety in a world dominated by man–made dangers such as busy streets. Training your dog can also be fun, and you’ll both learn a lot. Well–trained, obedient dogs are more content, and so are their caretakers. A little love, patience and training will solve most annoying behaviors.
Never use punishment as a means of training as this will only confuse the dog. Yelling, scruff–shaking, hitting, and rubbing the dog’s face in his mess is not only unnecessary, but combined with poor timing and lack of knowledge of basic animal learning theory, as is often the case, they can be cruel and ineffective. Not only does the dog experience the mental and physical punishment, but she will not know how to avoid it. Telling ourselves that our dog “knows better” because she is acting guilty is not only untrue, it is little more than a justification for our own anger.
Physical punishment of dogs under the guise of “training a dog for her own good” is hardly a way to bond with your dog. Dogs can, and should be, trained free from physical and mental punishment. Happily, the 1990s witnessed an explosion of interest in, and development of, training and behavior modification techniques that utilize positive reinforcement rather than corporal punishment as the principle means of motivation. These techniques are now widespread, well–understood, user–friendly, dog–friendly and are available for virtually every training task and behavior “problem.”
“How much Exercise Does my Dog Need?”
Even a dog with access to a yard needs the mental and physical stimulation of regular walks. Some dogs require a great deal of exercise, others remain happy and healthy with little. Daily exercise of some kind is necessary, but you don’t have to walk or run for miles. A dog can chase a ball or retrieve a stick. All dogs should be allowed to build up to exercise gradually, just like a human. Keep in mind that heavy exercise with young dogs under two years of age may do permanent damage to their growing bones and muscle tissues.