Owning a dog is a really rewarding feeling.
There’s a lot of responsibility that goes into owning one, two, maybe even three. As someone who grew up with dogs all my life, I’ve learned a few things that I could have done better for my previous companions.
After tending to my neighbor’s dogs and taking care of them, I realized that I do more for their dogs than I did for my own. It’s a sad reality that I wasn’t the greatest dog-parent I could have been.
Dogs depend on their owners, look forward to seeing you, and get so much joy from every interaction you have with them. They deserve nothing but love and compassion. I’ll go over a few of the things I wish I did better as a dog owner.
1. Take Them Out on More Walks
Going for dog walks isn’t a strenuous activity that will drain any ounce of productive energy needed to get through your day.
I was busy back in middle, high school, and college, but that shouldn't have been an excuse to avoid taking my dogs out more. A bit of regret sits deep inside of me because my Pomeranian passed away and my Shihtzu is blind.
It’s hard not to feel regret because I am a runner, constantly enjoy the outdoors, and have worked as a dog walker for Wag.
Dogs love nothing more than food, belly rubs, and going for walks. Unlike humans, those are the three things they look forward to in life and I could have been better with the dog walks.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and take them out for a walk just once a day (we have a backyard we let them out). Several walks a day means more exercise for them and you!
2. Take Them on More Car Rides
Back in the day, my dad used to drive me and my brothers to school. Every schoolday at 7:30 am, we’d open the garage door and my dogs would get up and load up inside the car.
It was something they absolutely loved. It was a refreshing experience they craved. It’s no effort to load up your dog and let them stick their head out the window.
Your companions will appreciate getting a fresh breeze across their face, living out every dog’s fantasy. Going for a cruise with your dog is a fun little experience that’s fairly inexpensive and the memories live on forever.
The more car rides you go on and the more places you share with them, the more exciting their little lives will be.
3. Talk to Them More
Dogs have two big love languages and that’s touch and words of affirmation. They not only have a need to feel loved, but they need to hear it too.
This means using your cute doggie voice (we all have one) and saying their name often. Dogs want to feel a connection with their owner. The aggressive dogs that bark at the world and are constantly upset are the ones who didn’t get proper loving when they were younger.
It’s almost like raising a child. Their “childhood” years are crucial because their habits stick with them for their entire lifetime.
If you come home and project your anger by raising your voice or forcing them outside with aggression, the less likely they’ll ever be the loving animals they can be.
I’ve spoken to my dogs in times of stress and depression, and they understood every bit of how I was feeling. They want to be there for you like you’ll always be there for them. Once you build that trust and that bond, every day is more meaningful.
“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling the emptiness we didn’t ever know we had”. – Thom Jones
Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibilities and the things I mentioned are examples of going above and beyond.
I understand not everyone has time in the day to take their dogs out more, let alone car rides, but we can all do our part to give them the best lives possible.
If it weren’t for my dogs, I wouldn’t have gotten as much exercise as I do, look forward to bettering my relationship with my animals, and being a more compassionate individual.