I made a quick list of things to do when you get a dog. I shared with a couple of friends and thought i’ll post it online. These are my observations and not necessarily the best way to raise a dog. Its always good to consult your vet.
Diet and weight is very important because this will ensure that your dog stays healthy and lives longer. Dogs are prone to a lot of medical conditions. You will have to read up about specific conditions which may affect your specific breed.
Home food: We will need to calculate how much she needs based on her age, ideal weight and exercise she gets. I give my dogs home food. I take rice, put some chicken in it with some vegetables and cook them (No salt, spices). I cook and keep it in the fridge for a week and heat it every day. I feed them twice a day.
I used to give Pedigree but slowly shifted to home food. There are a lot of other brands in India now but I think overall they’re all the same. Advantage with processed food is you know how much to feed based on age, weight etc. But since processed foods is dry, they feel very thirsty after that.
Changing the food:
If you need to change the food, don’t do it overnight. For eg if you want to introduce her to pedigree, mix the home food with a little pedigree. Slowly increase the pedigree and reduce the home food. If she doesn’t eat, leave the food only for 15 minutes and throw it away. Feed her only on the next meal time. Its ok if she goes without food for a day or two.
Fresh mineral water should be available every time. Clean the vessels regularly.
- DO NOT feed her from your plate/table. It encourages begging and its one of the worst things you can do to your dog. If she comes and looks at you when you’re eating, do not speak to her or tell her to go. Just ignore her and after some time she’ll know shes not getting anything. Continue doing this and slowly she will stop begging. Important thing is to never break the rule. You break it once and you’re confusing her.
- DO NOT give chocolates/alcohol. You’ll find many more on the internet
- If you need to stop her from doing something, just a firm pat behind the ears or a firm pat on her behind will do!
- Always praise her for good behavior. You can keep some mini treats for dogs and give her a bite if she does something good
- DO NOT use any human products on her. Use only dog products. Dogs are very sensitive
- Her routine should be set. It can be whatever is convenient for you but try and make a routine. Feeding time, peeing time, potty time, walk time should be the same every day. This will help her to be house broken (not to have peeing accidents at home)
- She should know that nothing comes for free. She should sit/shake hands etc before getting her food Keep the food in front of her, but she should eat only when you say eat. These are little things that goes a long way.
- She needs to be trained.Walking without a leash, not pulling the leash when you walk are very important.
- Ask your maid not to put too much disinfectant while mopping the floor. Dogs have sensitive skin
- Looking at her potty will give you info about her tummy. If she’s passing loose stools, if the color is not right, then you know she’s having a stomach upset!
- Brushing her teeth is very important. Make it a habit early. At least brush her teeth 3-4 times a week. Use Dog paste only
- Brush her coat at least once or twice a week
- Clip her nails regularly. Ideally, dogs getting good exercise do not need frequent nail clipping.
- Give her a bath regularly (I give my dogs a bath every week) Use dog shampoo only
- Use a flea collar whenever she goes out.
- Regular vet checkups (once a quarter at least). Regular deworming is required. Even we need to take deworming atleast once or twice a year.
- Chewsticks: You get these chewsticks in the market for dogs. Give her one every day after her evening walk. It helps in cleaning their teeth.
- Clean her ears once a month. You get ear cleaning solution for dogs You can apply it and use cotton to clean her ears.
- During the rains, ensure that you wipe her feet with a dry cloth. Areas in between the toes are prone to infection if left wet.
- Since she’s a female, read up about her cycles. I think they also tend to bleed a little. Check with the vet on this.
Dogs needs a lot of exercise. Labs though lazy, need their regular walks. I would suggest 3-4 km a day should be good. If you cant every day, atleast 3-4 times a week. They love outdoors so stay out as much as you can, but careful in the summer. I read this somewhere “A tired dog is a good dog!”
There is an ocean of info on the net so you can read up about it.
- Wolf Pack and its importance: Dogs need to look upto you. They always want to see you as the leader of the pack. That is in their nature so don’t confuse them by making them think that they are the leader. Their position is clear. They are last in the pack. One of you will need to be the alpha male.
- I always clean my dogs feet/face/behind with a wet towel after they go out because they sleep with me on the bed. Their feet get very dirty when they come from outside. I follow it up by wiping them with a dry towel
- And don’t fall for those puppy eyes 🙂 they’ll make us dance on their paws if we let them 🙂
Here is the routine we follow.
Morning walk: 6 AM to 7 AM
Clean them up/grooming
Two Marie or dog biscuits for breakfast
Lunch at 11.
Take them for a pee break after 15 minutes
They sleep till 4
Take them out for a pee break at 5 PM
Dinner at 7 PM
Pee/potty break after 15 minutes
Clean them up, give them a chewstick
Take them out for a pee break before going to bed (around 10 PM)