A good diet can make all the difference to your dog. It can help your dog live longer, and keep him healthy and full of energy. The wrong diet can lead to allergies, behaviour problems, hyperactivity, and health problems. Look for a good quality protein source and as few additives as possible. Colourings and additives can cause hyperactivity and behavioural problems, and the wrong diet can significantly reduce the benefits you will get from training.
Signs that your dog’s diet doesn’t suit are poor coat condition, dandruff, itchiness and frequently blocked anal glands. Keep an eye on your dog’s bowel movements too – stools should be firm and pick-upabble. This will also help you identify if a treat or chew is not suitable for your dog.
Don’t over-feed your dog – stick to the guidelines on the food pack and feed to the target weight. Measure your dog’s food out every day, and reduce it in accordance with any treats you give. We are so used to seeing overweight pets that it really has become the norm!
Have set meal times for your dog when you decide he or she will be fed. If they don’t eat all of the meal at once, remove what is left after 10 minutes and don’t feed again until the next mealtime.
Scatter feeding is a good way to turn meal times into a game for your dog every now and then. As natural scavengers they enjoy sniffing out and hunting for their food. Put them in a safe place or in a stay while you hide their tea around the house and garden, and then let them ‘work’ for their meal.
Prevent guarding – don’t take the food bowl away from your dog. Add tasty titbits to your dogs food bowl while he is eating. This will mean he is happy to have you around his food bowl.
Most dogs thrive on routine and like to be able to predict when events are going to happen during the day. The two main events during a dogs day are mealtimes and walks!
All dogs need to go out for a walk every single day – no matter how big your garden is or how much time they spend out in it, dogs need to stimulation and exercise from a walk, and it helps to reinforce the bond between dog and owner.
The amount of exercise a dog needs depends on its breed, but under-exercising a dog can cause to behavioural and training problems. Young puppies who are still growing shouldn’t be over-exercised as it can cause joint problems in later life.