2016.05.15

Necessities before Luxury

It is part of our human nature to want to spoil and pamper our dogs, to provide them with the best of what we can. Many of us work long office hours of 9-5, 5 days a week, and we often try to compensate our dogs with luxury gifts. Not many of us realise that what they need and what we think they need can be very different, and fulfilling what they need VS what we think they need can create a vast different in their behaviours and well-beings.

NECESSITIES 
Necessities are things that our dogs need to stay healthy both physically and mentally. We consider exercise, food and discipline as necessities.

EXERCISE 
All healthy dogs need to exercise. It keeps them healthy, stimulated and its also a kind of healthy lifestyle for us humans. The simplest form of exercise is to bring your dog out for a good walk. Dogs love to be outdoors, how you walk your dog determines the amount of stimulation it gets. The best walk in our opinion involves the same amount of energy with both the human and the dog, walking together, with the dog focusing on you and on the route, nothing else. Walking a distracted dog, is not walking a dog, it’s bringing a dog for exploration. All healthy dogs can and should walk, a good 30-40minutes walk is perfectly fine with most of them. Other forms of exercise include hiking, trekking, cycling, nose work, swimming and so on. Always make it a point to be in the moment with your dog during the exercise, them being able to focus on you helps to build a big portion of the relationship.

FOOD 
Regardless of which type of diet you feed your dogs, a balance and nutritious diet is the key to a healthy dog. The only way to maintain your dog’s inner health is with food intake. Making sure that they consume what they need and not what you THINK they need is important. They don’t need fanciful treats, they don’t need tea-time snacks, suppers, afternoon break. You will not need supplements or medications to ‘cure’ your dog from itchy skin, bad breath or loose stools if you have been feeding him a good healthy diet. Keep things simple, as we always say, prevention is easier than looking for cure.

DISCIPLINE 
Many people associate the word discipline with something bad, sort of like a punishment. In the dictionary, discipline also means the ability to follow rules and instructions. All dogs need some sort of disciplines, they need rules and instructions. They need you to lead them. It is up to us owners to teach them what they are allowed to do and what we don’t want them to do.

If you want your dog to stay beside you while you have your meal in a restaurant, you need to teach him and make sure he gets comfortable doing it. When allowed, dogs can do all sorts of things, they can jump up the sofa, they can jump the table to steal food, they can also insist that you leave your meal to bring him for a walk. It is unfair to them that we blame the dogs for such behaviours or we classify it as part of their breed or character. Not all of what they do is because of their breed or character. Many a times, they do what they do because we allow them to. Start by giving them a structure and teaching them a step at a time until you accomplish the type of behaviour you want.

LUXURY 
In our opinion, luxury should never be considered until you have fulfilled all their necessities. While luxury can make us feel better while we leave the dogs at home, I hardly think that is what they need. Giving your dog a branded bed is what you think he needs, when what he really needs is a cooling mat. Spoiling your dog is not a crime, if you have the ability and means to do so, go ahead and enjoy. But firstly, make sure you have gotten necessities in order. Necessities is always a priority. You shouldn’t be considering be giving your dog fanciful collars after collars, delicious treats after treats, stylish clothes after clothes when you do not exercise him or feed him the correct food.

So again, Luxury items are things that we get our dogs when we feel guilty or when we feel that they will like it. Necessities are things that our dogs truly need and in fact, all they ever will need.