The domestication of dogs is ancient, predating most of human history. The relationship seems reciprocal, with both dogs and humans benefiting from the arrangement. However, dog ownership comes with a great responsibility to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and well-cared for. Following are some tips that will help you make sure your dog is healthy and happy.

Make sure that your dog is spayed or neutered. This reduces the chances of cancer and helps keep the stray animal population down. Also, dogs that get fixed won’t feel the need to wander away so that may mean that they won’t get into accidents like getting hit by a vehicle.

If you take your dog with you on vacation, keep a photo of him on your phone. This way, should he get lost, you have a picture you can show others. You can also use the picture to hand our “lost” flyers.

In your backyard or in your house itself is the right place to start training your dog. This prevents some of the problems that are associated with training around a lot of other people. This will make it more difficult for your dog to pay attention.

Don’t take your dog off of your own property without a leash, no matter how well-behaved he is. He can be scared away by some wild animal, or an unforeseen provocation with another dog can result in an unpleasant situation. Your dog’s actions and safety is your responsibility.

Try using hand signals when training a dog instead of just using verbal commands. When you give your dog these kinds of signals, he may learn faster. Look at both options and see if one particular way works best.

If you want to keep your dog outside, build him or her a small shelter. If your dog happens to get his feet wet for a long period of time in cold temperatures, it can cause health complications. A roomy shelter that protects from the windy, rainy, and snowy weather is the best option.

Try not to force your dog to eat things. If you got them a treat and they aren’t interested in it, don’t make them eat it. Learn about your dog’s various likes and dislikes when you first bring it home.

If your dog behaves badly, correct the behavior immediately. If you ignore an unwanted behavior, it is as good as reinforcing it. It will become very difficult to correct the more time passes. The dog may harm somebody, even you, so control them.

Be sure your dog is physically active. Regular exercise is a necessity, as is playtime in order to keep him physically and mentally happy. Whether you decide to take the dog for a walk or if you’re just playing fetch, it will benefit both of you. This will create a great bond with your dog when performing these activities.

Make an appointment with a good vet right after getting a new dog. Don’t wait to long to make your appointment. The veterinarian will make sure your pet is as healthy as you think he is and also talk to you about vaccinations. In addition, consult your vet about spaying or neutering your dog. The shelters are already overcrowded, so you do not want to make that problem worse.

If you’re considering becoming a dog owner, but are unsure if you’re ready to take the step, you can foster one. There are plenty of animals sitting in homeless shelters who desperately need a home due to over-crowding and limited shelter resources. Not only will you be helping a dog in need, but it will help you figure out if you would like to become a dog owner.

To prevent the hair around a dog’s paws from matting, you should keep it trimmed. Use a comb and a small pair of scissors for this task. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, a professional can always step in to help.

As a dog owner, you need to repay your dog’s affection with responsible, reliable care. It is simple when you have the right knowledge, of course. Use the tips, and you will find your dog is much happier.