Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or you’ve had dogs your entire life, there may be things about your dog that you don’t truly understand. How many of these things do you already know, and how many are new to you? Here are 15 things your dog wants to make sure you know.
#1 – I’m incapable of experiencing guilt.
Even though I look guilty when you scold me for doing something wrong, I’m just responding to the tone of your voice and your behavior. I understand that you’re upset, and I don’t want you to be mad at me, but I probably don’t know why, and I certainly don’t feel guilty for doing something you perceive as bad – there are some emotions I’m just not capable of, and guilt is one of them. Read more about what emotions I can and can’t experience here.
#2 – I respond better to rewards than punishments.
My favorite things in the world are food and your love and attention. I will happily do whatever you ask (once I understand what you want) for a tasty treat and your words of praise. Punishment can make me fear you, and sometimes I don’t understand what I did wrong. Learn more about 5 crucial reasons to stop scolding your dog.
#3 – If I start acting differently, I probably don’t feel good.
I can’t tell you when I don’t feel good, so sometimes my behavior has to tell you what I can’t. If my appetite or energy levels change for no apparent reason, it’s probably time for a trip to the vet. Learn more here about what behavioral issues you should watch out for.
#4 – Just because I’m yawning, don’t assume I’m tired.
If you see me yawning, I might be tired, but I might also be scared or stressed out. You need to watch the rest of my body language for cues. You can read more about my body language here.
#5 – I can still learn tricks.
Just because I’m no longer a puppy doesn’t mean I can’t still learn. I might learn a little more slowly than a puppy, but I love how happy you get when I learn something new! Stuck on ideas of what to teach me? Check out these 6 awesome tricks to teach me.
#6 – If I’m destroying stuff, I’m either bored or anxious.
I’m not smart enough to chew on your favorite pair of shoes as retaliation for leaving me alone. I get really bored when you’re gone, and those shoes feel interesting in my mouth. And if I destroyed your mini blinds, I was probably so anxious about being left home alone that I tried to escape out the window to find you. Could I have separation anxiety? Find out here.
#7 – Even though I love it, you may be feeding me too much.
More than half of all dogs are overweight, so there’s a pretty good chance you’re giving me too much food or too many treats. I’ll happily eat as much as you’ll give me, but spoiling me with too much food can cause a lot of health problems for me. Check out 10 of the most common obesity-related illnesses.
#8 – Although it’s expensive, please keep me protected against fleas, ticks, and heartworms (even if naturally).
Parasites aren’t just creepy – they can make me very sick. It’s cheaper to protect me against fleas, ticks, and heartworm than it is to treat some of the problems they can cause. Learn more about parasites here.
#9 – My bad breath could mean I have a serious problem.
Let’s face it, I’ll never have good breath. But if my breath is excessively foul, I might be battling periodontal disease, which affects more than just my teeth – it can affect my heart, too! Check out the scary truth about your dog’s bad breath.
#10 – Check the ingredients of my food.
A lot of dog food is the canine equivalent of McDonald’s – sure, it’ll keep you alive for a while, but it’s likely to cause a lot of health problems down the road. How healthy do you think corn byproduct meal or chicken byproduct meal really are? Here’s a hint – byproduct is what’s left over after we take the stuff we actually want to eat. Chicken byproduct, for example, can include things like beaks and feet. Wouldn’t you rather your dog be eating the good parts of the chicken? Here are some tips to help you read dog food labels.
#11 – Please don’t leave me alone all the time.
You may think I’m perfectly happy sleeping all day long while you’re at work, but the truth is that I would rather spend more time with you. I might enjoy doggy daycare so I can play with other dogs, or I might benefit from a lunchtime walk by a dog walker. Either way, I would appreciate not being bored all day long. Here are 5 signs I might be bored.
#12 – Wagging my tail doesn’t always mean I’m happy.
I might be wagging my tail because I’m scared or angry. You need to pay attention to the rest of my behavior and body language. Speaking of body language, do you know these 7 important body language positions and what they mean?
#13 – I get confused when you change the rules.
You let me jump on you, but I’m not allowed to jump on strangers? I’m not allowed on the furniture unless you’re sick and need comforting? I’m so confused! Please keep my rules consistent so I understand what you expect of me. I thrive on routine and knowing what to expect. Need to change my routine? Find out the best way here.
#14 – Take me to the vet every year.
Many health problems are easier to treat the sooner they are caught. Since I can’t tell you when I don’t feel right, it’s important to take me to the vet to get me checked out every year. While you’re at it, learn about signs that it’s time to switch to a new vet.
#15 – I really love you!
Even if I seem to act naughty sometimes, I really love you and want to live with you and make you happy forever! Unfortunately, my dog life is much too short compared to your human life. Once I’m gone, won’t you consider getting something to remember my love for you while also feeding dogs in shelters?
(H/T: Reader’s Digest)