1. Dogs are not people. What makes them happy isn’t necessarily what makes us happy. What dogs desire is simple: regular exercise, a stable pack leader, and affection that is properly earned.
2. Walk your dog for at least 45 minutes every day. A structured walk on a regular basis is crucial, especially for dogs with behavioral problems, and it is the most powerful tool you have to bond with your dog.
3. Be consistent. Make sure all family members set the same rules, boundaries, and limitations for your dog.
4. Affection at the wrong time can foster an unstable mind. Share affection after your dog has exercised and eaten, changed an unwanted behavior into a behavior you asked for, responded to a rule or command, or entered a relaxed, calm-submissive state.
5. Dogs experience the world with their nose, eyes, and then ears. When meeting a dog for the first time, establish its trust by allowing it to experience your scent before engaging in eye contact or speaking to him.
6. Breed is not destiny. More important than choosing the right breed is selecting a dog with an energy level that is compatible with your energy and lifestyle.
7. Dogs need leadership. Establish yourself as the pack leader by mastering the walk and following the guideline "exercise, discipline, and then affection."
8. Let your dog check the weather. Allow your dog to step outside and feel for itself that it is too hot, too wet, or too cold to go on a long walk. Instinctually, the dog will understand that it has to shorten its walk or come back inside where it’s safe.
9. Never leave your dog in a parked car. Even in the shade, a car retains more heat than an open area. Plus, a dog may get overexcited in the car because of passersby or panic from claustrophobia, making dehydration more likely.
10. Be aware of the weather. During the summer, carry a bottle of water on walks and watch for signs of dehydration. In the winter, protect your dog with doggie boots and gear made specifically for cold weather.
11. Dogs get bored just like humans. Provide mental challenges like a game of catch, an agility course, or a reward-oriented obedience game. 12. Project balanced energy. Dogs feed off your energy, so if you are frazzled, your dog will be too. Always remain calm and assertive!