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Number 6 of love is all year-round

How do you create a loving home for your dog?

"The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them." – Stanley Coren,

When you adopt a dog, you must prepare your house so he/she will feel safe and loved.

Dogs come across as extremely carefree and easy-going creatures, but in reality they are far more sensitive than most of us realise. Although less demanding than their household competitor, whose name we won’t mention (cough, cats) they still have some basic daily requirements to keep them content — get these right, and you’ll have one very happy pooch.

Somewhere to rest - Ensure your dog has their own cosy bed where they can sleep comfortably, a drink and food bowl and a sense that they have their own secluded area around your house. This may be a basket tucked away in their special corner or their favourite blanket laid out strategically on the floor.

Toilet area - dogs need to go to the toilet regularly. At least every few hours, provide your dog with access to an appropriate place where they can go to the toilet.

Safe space - your dog must be able to get away from things that scare them. Give them constant access to a safe hiding place to escape if they feel afraid, some feel safest in a crate, others (like Lily) under a blanket

senior dog safe space blanket
Lily and her blanket

If you have more than one dog - make sure you provide enough extra resources (e.g. toys, beds and hiding places) for each of them to stop them from becoming competitive and fighting.

Hazard-free environment - dogs are naturally inquisitive and can get into dangerous situations if they're left on their own. Make sure that your dog's home is safe, secure and free from hazards.

Lots of affection

Dogs need and love affection. They are sociable, pack animals who will want to be in your company as much as possible. Ensure you give them plenty of praise and positive feedback when they behave and indulge them with strokes and cuddles when they request them — the more you praise and pamper your pooch, the happier they will be.

Keeping your dog occupied

Exercise - Dogs need to exercise so make sure you take them out at least once or twice a day for a good walk. It’s also important that you let them out into the garden regularly throughout the day; this will allow them to relieve themselves. If you don’t exercise your dog on a daily basis the likelihood is they will become bored and act up which could result in destructive activity around your home.

Toys - Buy toys that they can chew on or a ball you can throw around with them. Daily play sessions with your dog will help relieve their boredom and provide them with mental stimulation.

Keep a routine

Dogs crave routine, boundaries and rules. Sensible rules around the home will help your dog to feel secure in their environment. Being consistent with training, helping your dog to understand what behaviour you want and providing a solid routine will be appreciated by your dog. They become more confident when they know their role and what you want them to do.

When you're away or on the move

If you're leaving your dog somewhere - make sure the size and temperature of any place you leave them (including your vehicle, but I would not recommend it) is comfortable for them.

When you transport your dog, make sure they're comfortable and safe at all times. Use a harness, crate or container that suits your dog's size, and read more about transporting dogs in cars.

Keep your dog under control wherever you go, and don't let it stray.

But above all, make them feel loved and wanted as part of your family.

"Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave, beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us, and make our lives a little brighter, and they don't waste time being afraid of tomorrow." – Dan Gemeinhart, author of The Honest Truth

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