Things No One Tells You About Raising A Healthy Dog

October 12, 2016



Before you become consumed with the overwhelming desire to bring a new furry bundle of joy into your life, it’s important to consider what bringing a puppy into your life will actually entail.

Puppies are similar to toddlers in many ways - they love to eat things they shouldn’t (dirt, insects and grass just to name a few) and require a lot of care and attention. However rest assured, you will be rewarded if you invest ample amounts of love, time and effort into your pet, who will grow to be a happy, healthy member of your family. Here are the basic do’s, don’ts and recommendations to get you through the first phase of your little one’s life.

Please find below some quick tips taken from ‘20 Things No One Tells You About Raising A Healthy Dog’ by Dr Katrina Warren about-raising-a-healthy-dog#/Pet health




a) Maintaining a Bikini Body – Exercise for Dogs

We all know how important exercise is for humans, but some of us can be guilty of letting our training regime slide. However, regular exercise is essential for your dog- remember that while you are at work, your dog probably does very little. Not only will your dog have energy to burn, making him restless and potentially hyperactive. Exercise is essential for ensuring your dog maintains a healthy weight and helps heart and bone health.


b) Socialising

Getting your puppy used to being around other dogs, noisy little children, loud vacuum cleaners and all sorts of distractions is one of the most sensible things a dog owner can do. Many behaviour problems in older dogs can be traced back to the owner not taking the time to socialise the puppy properly. Puppy classes offer an excellent opportunity for socialisation. Getting your puppy used to being handled from an early age will also make life easier for everyone when he has to be groomed or visit the vet for injections and check-ups.

Once your dog is sexually mature, physically fully grown, is emotionally mature and responsive to training and understands that other dogs view them as an adult, they are generally considered to be fully grown. This may happen by one year old, or may take up to two years old for some dog breeds and types.

Don't despair. There are ways to teach your pet how to behave in every situation and phase of adolescence they go through. Some of the most common problems are detailed below, along with some tips to help manage them.


a) Chewing

Dogs are curious by nature and will chew almost anything they can get their mouths on, especially while they’re puppies and are teething. This is great if it’s a dog toy or a tasty bone, but not so great if it’s your new pair of expensive running shoes or the leg of a couch. Although chewing usually subsides within a year, it can become a bad habit if it’s not managed early on.


Tips: Try to provide specially designed chew toys and bones under supervision for your dog to keep them occupied and reduce the temptation to chew on things they shouldn’t. You can make chew toys especially appealing by finding one that can be filled with tasty treats such as chicken necks or wet food. Placing the toy in the freezer while filled with treats also creates more of a challenge for your puppy and will keep them busy (and out of trouble!).

If you have a young dog, puppy-proof your place by moving easily chewable items such as plants or electrical cables so they’re not easily accessible. Try not to leave your puppy

unsupervised in areas like your garden or living room - there’s no point in getting angry at the puppy for an action that is natural for them, which happened because they weren’t being supervised.


b) Nipping & Biting

Dogs explore the world using their mouths. Biting is a habit that is inappropriate for us humans, which can sometimes make us feel that our dog biting is also inappropriate, when it may be totally normal, especially in puppies.


Tips: When dogs play together, especially puppies or adolescence, one will ‘yelp’ if the other has bitten too hard and stop playing. Puppies then learn to bite more softly to continue play. Let your dog know when it has gone too far, by saying “ouch,” followed by a minute or two time-outs before returning to play. You can also encourage the dog to play-bite with a toy in exchange of your hand. These methods will be more effective than yelling at your dog, as they simply won’t understand what you are saying, and will be unlikely to change its behaviour.

Avoid over exciting or engaging in rough play with your dog as this often leads to nipping. Dogs will also often chase or bite your feet while you walk, as they get so excited by the movement. Have a plan for what you will do if your dog play bites, which may involve redirecting the bite to one of their favourite toys, or changing gears completely and asking your dog to do a command such as sit or lay down.


c) Housetraining

This is the most discussed dog problem, particularly in puppies, and can be the most frustrating of problems when things don’t go to plan. It’s important to keep this experience as positive as possible, as encouragement will get you much further than scalding. Keep in mind that dogs don’t speak the language as us! It may seem like an obvious statement, but many of us try to chastise our dog when they have an accident and they simply cannot understand the situation.


Tips: Any time your dog eliminates in an appropriate place, either at home, at the park or during a walk, praise them excessively and reward them with treats or play time. This way they will learn that it’s a positive action and that it pleases you. Puppies usually need to eliminate when they first wake up or after a meal. A signal they need to relieve themselves is if they start to sniff the ground and turn in circles. Be pro-active in these situations and quickly take them outside or to a training mat before accidents occur.

Try introducing a phrase such as ‘wee-wee,’ that you associate with elimination. This word association will be especially helpful later in the dog’s life if you are travelling or visiting someone, and you need your dog to relieve itself beforehand. If your dog has an accident, avoid punishing it or rubbing its nose in the mess. This will not be beneficial, and will only result in your dog becoming nervous or too scared to eliminate around you.


d) Being Non-Responsive

The big wide world is very exciting for young dogs – there is so much to smell and

explore and it is understandable that having an adventure may be more exciting than coming to you when you call.

Change the way your dog thinks by teaching them that coming to you when you call is a pleasant experience. Of course he will want to come to you if he gets his favourite toy, a beneficial chew that is good for him, such as the PAW Wellness + Vitality Multivitamin
& Wholefood Chews, or verbal praise. Work on this daily at home and in confined environments. When you first go to the park, use a long lead or rope to ensure your dog can’t run somewhere dangerous

Don’t punish your dog if he doesn’t come back or he may become scared of you. Make yourself fun and approachable for your dog and he will reciprocate.
*Always read the label. Follow dosage instructions exactly.


Young at Heart

It’s almost impossible to imagine you canine partner evoking any feeling other than joy. Alas – if not sufficiently trained, they can prove to be a difficult member of the family. Just like we teach our kids, we need to teach our pets to learn what behaviour is acceptable and what is not – remember they are not born understanding your house rules and despite common belief, with the right level of love and respect, dogs at any age can learn to behave.

Before you begin tearing your hair out about your misbehaved fur-ball, educate yourself on the most common problems when it comes to behaviour and how to solve them.


a) Barking

Firstly, find out what your dog is barking at. As dogs usually bark the most right after their owners leave home for the day, give your dog something to do every time you leave the house, like a chew toy stuffed with food.

Dogs left outside are exposed to many more disturbances than indoor dogs and their barks are more easily heard by the neighbourhood. Ideally leave your dog inside preferably in a room away from the street with a radio or TV playing to mask the sound of outside noise. Reward your dog often for quiet behaviour – if he starts barking, use a word likes ‘quiet’ and reward only once your dog stops barking.


b) Digging

Digging is natural for dogs so changing an instinctive behaviour takes a lot of patience. You may need to keep your dog inside when you go out to limit his opportunity to dig. Newly turned soil is irresistible to many dogs, and it is unlikely you could stop yours digging in it if they are left alone in the garden. Give your dog plenty of exercise and lots of toys, preferably with food hidden in them, to keep them amused. Digging can be a sign of boredom, so make sure he has lots to interest him when you are not home. Working breeds such as border collies and kelpies are more likely to get bored and find an outlet for their energy.


c) Jumping on People

When he was little, everyone was probably entranced by the cute little puppy who jumped up at them, laughing and wagging his teeny tail. Now he's a bigger dog, no-one wants his dirty paw marks all over their clothes. But his behaviour is not his fault, because your loving attention has trained him to think that jumping up is a fun and rewarding thing to do.

Now you have to do the opposite from what you did when he was little. Instead of making eye contact and touching him when he jumps up, do the opposite. Turn around and stand still completely ignoring him. Wait until he has all four feet on the ground and then give him a little treat. Keep on doing this, and it will take many, many times, and he will eventually learn that he only gets a treat and your attention when he is sitting. As before, there is no point in shouting and pushing, because to a dog this is still attention and will only confuse him about what you want him to do.


For more information about raising a healthy dog, please visit and read Dr Katrina Warrens recently launched e-book about-raising-a-healthy-dog#/Pet health