We talk about preventing unwanted behaviours a lot in the dog training world. One other thing to prevent is injuries and illness. Diet, nutrition and exercise play just as big a role in our dogs lives as they do in ours. Although, I have a hard time not eating addictive sugar, I can make sure my dog has a healthy diet!
As I get older and sadly, bigger, my joints ache more then ever before, and the same applies to our dogs. Making sure they have enough exercise but finding a balance is important. I see some people out running with dogs that are way too young (and small) as well as some that are past their prime and it is difficult to watch. If an opportunity presents itself I will make a useful suggestion or comment to help the owner (really the dog!). Many times there is not an opportunity so that is why I am writing this today.
Preventing unwanted behaviours also means feeding a healthy diet, going to a good vet who continues their education, and maintaining a good balance of exercise. Dogs who are not feeling well display many unwanted behaviours, whether it be from poor diet which causes an upset stomach or loose stools, not enough exercise which can cause boredom, chewing things that don’t belong to them, jumping up, and many more naughty doggie behaviours. Too much exercise can lead to stiffness and joint pain as well as ligament tears and much more. I have a friend whose 9 year old black lab was playing Frisbee with him on a very hot summer day. The dog did not stop playing and the owner didn’t realize the dog was over heating. This led to the dog jumping one last time and never getting up again. He had heat stroke and died. Very sad indeed.
I haven’t talked much about what kind of diet or what kind of exercise and will save that for my next post. This one is a food for thought post.
Vaccinations is also play an important role in how your dogs overall health is and can affect their behaviour as well.
I will leave this one for another day and since I am not a vet I will make sure to have good resources available to those that are interested in finding out more on whether to vaccinate or not.