Beyond the Cute Factor: What Makes a Good Dog?

good dogEven the most stalwart cat lover can see that a dog works hard for the universal title of “man’s best friend.” Dogs are perceived across the board as intrinsically loyal, fun, and loving. Unfortunately, for various reasons, not all dogs fit into the good dog category right away – especially without the support and guidance of a responsible and loving owner.

So what’s a dog lover to do? Research the right breed for your family, train and socialize your dog, and never waiver in your love. With the right approach and mindset, that love will come back to you tenfold from the most adoring canine you’ve ever seen.

Fitting Together

Every single dog out there is special, unique, and deserving of a forever home. However, sometimes people adopt a dog without fully preparing for what’s to come. Dogs are often surrendered because an owner didn’t have enough room, time, or money to adequately care for their eager four-legged friend.

The first step to finding a good dog is being able to care for one. If you cannot come home at regular intervals to let your dog outside or provide nutritious meals and exercise, it’s probably not the time to invest in a long-lasting relationship. Please check out our previous blog on what it takes to be a responsible pet owner.

Once You Know

Adopting a dog can quickly turn south when:

  • There aren’t enough opportunities for rigorous physical exercise and mental stimulation
  • An owner doesn’t enforce discipline or employs substandard or inconsistent discipline
  • Too little or no socialization with strangers, crowds, other animals, and kids
  • There’s a significant lack of routine that leads to a reduced sense of security

On the Other Paw

A good dog is one that has had opportunities to learn, grow, and adapt. This is often done via:

Like us, dogs enjoy feeling a sense of purpose. Certainly, working or hunting dogs must have access to their “jobs,” but every canine will thrive when given something to do. A good dog will respond positively when they’re involved in what you’re doing and will continue the trend when rewarded for their behavior.

A Good Dog is Worth It

You can help reinforce the patterns and habits of a good dog with the following tips:

  • Spend time together. Whether you play, exercise, run around town, or snuggle, a good dog will enjoy every minute with their best friend.
  • Close physical contact can release the anti-stress hormone oxytocin and reduce heart rate and the stress hormone cortisol. Pet your dog, groom him or her, and enjoy getting covered in fur!
  • Invest in voice commands and consistent communication. Training is the key to a good dog.
  • Feed your dog the best possible food. The way to the heart of a good dog is through the stomach (or so they say!).
  • Research canine behavior to learn how to deal with yours. Stay calm, and practice building trust.
  • Don’t underestimate your dog’s preferences or proclivities. Knowing what he or she likes (or doesn’t like) can go a long way toward eliciting good behavior.

Often, a wellness exam can be illuminating for a new dog owner trying to understand how to cultivate a good dog. We’re always here to answer questions or concerns. Enjoy your dog; we’re sure with these tips, he or she will enjoy you!