The start of a new year is always a good time for reflection and change; hence the established tradition of setting New Year’s Resolutions. And while many of us humans are focusing on eating less, doing more, and attempting a booze-free ‘dry January’, what about our canine chums? Bruce Casalis founder and director of Bruce’s Doggy Day Care gives his advice
Clearly, they can’t set their own agenda, but now is a good time for all dog owners to consider the following five New Year’s Resolutions for their four-legged friends:
1. Neutering: controversial but a recognised aid for better behaved sociable dogs.
2. Exercise: get the balance right – under-exercise leads to unfit obese dogs and over-exercise can cause joint problems.
3. Socialisation: integration and socialisation with other dogs is core for a rounded well-balanced pet
4. Breed matching: is your lifestyle suited to your dog’s breed? Are you lively enough for a Labradoodle or as chilled as a Cockapoo?
5. Commitment: like children, dogs are for life, and the responsibility should not be taken lightly.
Since opening my dog crèche business six years ago, I’ve encountered every type of canine, and in almost all cases those with the biggest problems stem from the above five issues. Dogs need direction and discipline, but they also crave routine and stability and a caring and appropriate home environment to fit their needs.
For example, some male dogs that are not neutered can be aggressive or possessive. And puppies not socialised at a young age (ideally as soon as they are fully vaccinated at around 11 weeks) will lack the social skills required to interact well with other dogs and humans.
Incorrect exercise – too much, as well as too little – is also regularly linked to unfit animals. Joint problems, particularly in Retrievers, and obesity in less active breeds such as Pugs or ‘greed-breeds’ like Labradors, is, surprisingly and sadly, a common occurrence. And aside from the all-important time and financial commitment, choosing the right breed to suit your way of life is equally imperative. After all, Great Danes rarely live in small flats and it’s not often you find Miniature Poodles herding sheep!
So why not start 2015 with a full assessment of your own dog’s needs, and resolve to address any issues that have fallen through the cracks. They’ll thank you for it in the end.
Bruce Casalis is founder and director of Bruce’s Doggy Day Care, an award-wining dog crèche offering London and Surrey dogs day care, boarding and grooming services. 020 7205 2230; brucesdoggydaycare.co.uk; facebook.com/brucesdoggydaycare; Twitter @brucesdogdays