What Are A Dog’s Basic Needs? – Phoenix Scottsdale AZ Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
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What are the basic needs of a dog? What are the essentials? What is considered humane care?

Companionship: Dogs are social creatures. They need companionship to be well adjusted. They do not do well in isolation. It isn’t healthy or normal for them to be alone too much. Dogs without sufficient and proper companionship become neurotic, and some become extremely dangerous. Many behavioral problems result of abuse, neglect, or improper companionship. A good dog training class will explain how to be your dog’s companion. It is also extremely distressing for a dog to find out that it has been abandoned. Separation anxiety has its root in that very concept, so the dog panics, desperately tries to escape, and is filled with the most intense desire to find companionship. Many behavioral problems are a result of companionship problems.

Comfort: We know what it means for us to be comfortable. Nothing hurts. We aren’t overly hungry or thirsty, cold or hot, wet or dry. We are clean. We get sufficient rest and have a comfortable bed. We feel good and healthy. We feel happy most of the time and we like how we are treated. We like our home. We like the people we live with and the people we have to interact with, and we have sufficient time to get to know them and spend regular time together. We need friends and family, and in fact, we need a best friend. We feel listened to, and we feel good when we do a good job. Our minds are stimulated with things that interest us, and we feel we understand life through life lessons and our education. We aren’t in pain. We aren’t severely confined. We aren’t treated unfairly. We know what we are to do. We understand what is going on around us. And we aren’t stressed and worried. Your dog also needs that kind of comfort. Is your dog comfortable? Dogs that aren’t comfortable become neurotic. Spoiling isn’t comfort, it is setting the dog up for failure. You know what I’m referring to… you know if your dog is having a good life living with you.

Exercise: The average dog owner gives their dog two 45-minute walks a day. I think that is pretty good for the average dog. But, many dogs need a lot more than that. Dogs need to be kept fit to remain healthy, feeling good, and to prevent behavioral problems. I am a big believer in doggie daycare for some dogs. They need hours and hours of daily play in order to remain physically and mentally well adjusted. Many people can’t give their dogs enough personal time every day, so it becomes necessary to pay for it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, how many dogs do we know of that live a miserable, inactive life in some back yard? That kind of confinement is inhumane.

Food: Yes, we all know that dogs need to eat. Duh, right? But, many a dog eats a bad diet. Some dogs are starved because of neglect. Some dogs are given what the owners think is good food, but with some research, you’d see that the food is very low quality. It is important to do some serious research about feeding a dog. Talk to your veterinarian. Get to know the better brands of dog food and who supplies them in your town. Pick a higher grade of food than the average. Don’t you feel better if you eat good food rather than junk food or fast food? I believe in feeding the higher quality blends of dog food. Yes, it costs more, but it is worth it. And I’m not a believer in feeding dogs human food from the dinner plate. You’re just making the dog feel sick, and your dog will have health problems over the long run if you do.

Health: Dogs need proper health care. So many things affect a dog’s health. Good health is more than just getting regular vaccinations. It’s about the same things that make us healthy: fresh air, exercise, proper medical care, fitness, good food, clean water, proper shelter and housing, sunshine, a happy life, and protection from things that make dogs sick. That even means proper breeding, to prevent inheritable diseases. It also means going a bit deeper with your annual veterinary exams, asking your vet to really do a good look over. It means when your dog gets older, looking out for age related illnesses and trying to head them off if at all possible. It means prevention of injuries, too. All of this requires study. Every dog owner should read a dog medical care manual to familiarize themselves with proper animal care and husbandry. If you can’t maintain a healthy lifestyle for your dog, then you shouldn’t have a dog.

Protection: You need to look out for your dog. Your dog needs the same level of protection that you would give your son, daughter, spouse, yourself and your best friend. That means protection from bad people. That means protection from foolish people. That means protection from anything that would reasonably be expected to harm your dog: bad weather, bad food, bad dog training, bad handling, dangerous animals, and so forth. That means protection from filth, escape, predators, intruders, abuse, stress, drowning, heat stroke, falling hazards, choking hazards, and so forth. Your dog needs a safe physical and psychological environment.

Water: Dogs need sufficient water. I’m surprised at how many neglected, backyard dogs I see and hear about that don’t have access to water. Dogs need clean water, meaning not only is the water going into the bowl clean, the bowl itself is clean. Water bowls don’t clean themselves. It also means if the dog is going to go swimming, that the water is clean. And if it is freezing outside, the water in the kennel isn’t frozen.

These are the basics. If you can’t provide these, then you shouldn’t have a dog.

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.


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