Being a dog owner is an exciting endeavor. Our hope with this post is to highlight some ideas that make life easier with a furry companion. Thanks to the internet and social media platforms, there is a plethora of information and options regarding expert knowledge, toys, and treats. We will be rounding up some relevant topics along with well-reviewed products used by yours truly and other DailyBarker cohorts.
FIND A COMMUNITY
It is important to have people around you as resources. Whether you talk with them frequently and have puppy play-dates or shoot them a text when you have a question, it is good to surround yourself with others who have experience with dogs. This can also come in handy if you need someone to watch your pooch while you’re away or exercise them when you unexpectedly work a 16-hour day (speaking from experience, here.)
There are opportunities for formal dog meetups in cities, dog bars for socializing you and your pet, and social media groups to engage in conversation or swap cute photos. Getting out to dog-friendly environments is beneficial for both you and your dog. It can be great training and socialization for the pup and you may find a great group of dog-loving humans. Another route is by establishing your pet at a community vet, utilizing them as a resource for answers/guidance. Who knows, you may find a couple of pup friends through the vet!
- Pup Meetups: DailyBarker’s specific section dedicated to different cities and dog-friendly events.
- Dogs Meetup: A website that provides worldwide listings for groups with different meetup categories including off-leash recreation, dog playgroups, and dog training. This is a way to meet people with similar interests in an area.
- Dog Bar St. Pete: We have good friends who frequent this establishment in Florida (aka dog heaven) while they spend some weekend time together enjoying drinks (shoutout to Cappie for the recommendation).
MAKE TRAINING A PRIORITY
This should go without saying, but a well-trained dog is always a good thing. Training should begin immediately, regardless of whether you have a brand new puppy or rescued an older dog. Set limits, boundaries, and show your routine early on.
We try to make training fun. There is a lot of high pitch encouragement, belly rubs, and Fletcher even eats his own kibble as treats. The training is stimulation and can tire your dog out. We play hide and seek in the house by making Fletcher sit in the living room while we go hide small handfuls of food around the house (rainy day choice). It’s good practice for his sniffer, works his brain, and we are bonding all at the same time. Winning!
Another tip we mention to those who lend a listening ear is the “cross” command. Fletcher will now sit and wait at crosswalks instead of barging through the street. This suggestion came from a close friend and we cannot commend it enough. This works when hiking or being off leash as well. If we are in a territory that is new to him, we can simply say “this is a road” and he will slow down and stop before reaching the often dangerous path. Peace of mind and your dog’s safety is the best part about this command.
We haven’t been able to find a good YouTube or how-to about this, so if there is any interest please let me know and we will formulate an educational piece on the “cross” command!
ENJOY THE FUN STUFF
Now for all the fun things! Treats and toys can be a way to your dog’s heart. Toys offer an outlet for the dog as well as a way to bond with you through play. We encourage humans to get a variety of toys with different textures (to help your dogs teeth, see the variety Fletcher has below) as well as puzzle games. If you have a big-time chewer and destroyer at your house, you may turn to a more durable brand or stick to antler-type toys rather than soft plush. Better to have a dog toy they love than half eaten shoes, right? The options truly are endless! Here are some recommendations:
- Himalayan Dog Chew: All natural dog chews that are made from CHEESE (yes, cheese instead of bone). The bonus is you don’t have to worry about when your chewer gnaws down the bone to a small piece. Throw it into the microwave and it turns into a doggy cheese puff! DailyBarker founder and dog-mom to Nash, Christina, swears by these.
- Real Pet Food & Dog Box: This company makes customized treat and chew boxes for your dog made of single-ingredient, unprocessed, freeze-dried proteins. You can have a monthly subscription incorporating everyday bites and “super chews.” The other neat part is that they rotate what kind of locally sourced meat options they send out each month…and free shipping!
- Kong filled with frozen peanut butter. Yum! A handful of DailyBarker contributors promoted this toy/treat combo. These are durable toys and the addition of a frozen treat inside can be a huge reward to occupy your dog.
- Antlers: These are a strong option for big-time chewers. Make sure to monitor the time your dog spends chewing and take note if the antler piece becomes too small and a choking/swallowing hazard. Antlers are sturdy enough to help clean a dog’s teeth naturally and are full of calcium.
What are some tips and tricks to make life easier for you and your pup? We’d love to know your suggestions in the comments!
Hi! I’m Marleigh. I am a nurse, military spouse and proud human to @fletcher_the_pup. We are lovers of dogs and adventures, especially in combination. Fletcher is a shepherd mix who is a puppy at heart and loves being around others. His big ears only add to his even bigger personality. Fletch is definitely the most photogenic person in the family and we hope our experiences can bring some joy to other peoples lives.