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Did I hear you say that you were planning on celebrating a dog day today? Fantastic!

The canine of your choosing won't mind that at all, especially when he is the sole object of your attention for the day.    

Here are some dog day tips for owners.

"My dog barks all of the time when he is outside."  

If you have a dog that is always barking when he is outside, it may be because he wants to be closer to you and not left alone outside, all of the time. Your dog will probably be calmer when he is relatively close to you, as his owner. He may think that he has the responsibility to watch over you.  

Let your dog decide where he thinks he should be, in relation to where you are, if possible. Make a habit of giving him a place where he can still see you, if you need your own space, either inside the house or outside. He will start to learn that people need space too and he will probably be much happier and quieter.  

Gradually teach your dog that you do not want him to bark all of the time, when he is outside. Reward him when he is quiet, not when he is barking. Consistently use the same word for "quiet", when you are teaching him that you want him to be quiet. Positive re-enforcement works much better than punishment.              

"My dog is continually chewing up my furniture and carpets."

You dog may be teething and chewing is a natural instinct for him. Most dogs love to chew on bones, or whatever else they can find to cut their teeth on.  Ask the butcher at your local meat market, if they are able to provide some bones for your dog, on a regular basis. They will probably give you the bones free. Be careful not to give your dog chicken bones or fish bones.

You may have a few things around the house that your dog can be allowed to chew, like an old slipper, or a heavy wool sock etc. Pet stores also have special things for dogs to chew on, like artificial bones, or different kinds of dog toys. Make certain that whatever you let him chew on is safe for him.    

"My dog crawls up on the living room chesterfield, when I am not looking."

Dogs, like people, instinctively seek comfort and your living room chesterfield is probably quite comfortable. If you normally spend a lot of time in your living room with your dog and he is allowed to sleep on the chesterfield during that time, you can expect that he will instinctively go there to sleep, when you are not around. That may be the place, where he feels the closest to you when you are absent.  

Gradually, in a gentle and loving way, begin to teach your dog that the living room chesterfield is off limits to him, all of the time. Show him where you think he ought to be. Tell him repeatedly, "This is your bed."  He may not be too happy with it at first, but he will begin to understand in time, especially if you have provided a warm, comfortable place for him to sleep. Reward him when you find him sleeping there. Do not reward him when you find him on the living room chesterfield. Always reward good behavior; never reward bad behavior.          

"My dog is so hyperactive at night that I can hardly get any sleep at all."

Your dog, just like you, needs to have a regular amount of exercise on a daily basis. If you have been at work all day, your dog has probably slept the day away. No wonder he has so much energy at night!  

Begin an outdoor, exercise regime that also includes some good, healthy exercise for your dog. Make a point of always having your exercise time, just before bedtime. For example, go jogging, take a long walk with your dog, or play ball with him. Let the dog do the running for the ball. You might also try cycling and teach your dog run along beside your bicycle. It will burn off some of his excess energy and you will both sleep much better.

"My dog is forever digging holes in my flower beds, for some reason."

Dogs love to bury things, particularly bones. Your dog probably does not understand that flower beds are off limits to him, unless you have taught him that. It can be really costly for you, if your dog digs up all of the new flower bulbs that you just planted in your flower bed, or ruins your other trees, shrubs or perennials by digging.  

If you are planting bulbs, also consider building a fence around the flower bed. Show your dog where he can dig in the back yard. You might have a perfect spot for him in a corner, right beside the fence. Once he learns to put all his bones in that area, you never know what else you might find 'planted' there too. Remember that when you dig in your flower bed, you are teaching your dog to dig too, even though you may not realize it.        


What you teach your dog is ultimately what he knows! Make certain that he knows that you love him. Enjoy your dog day!


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