Among companion animals, dogs are unmatched in their devotion, loyalty and friendship to humankind. Anyone who has ever loved a dog can attest to its hundred-fold return. The excitement your dog shows when you come home, the wagging tail at the sound of the leash being taken from its hook, the delight in the tossing of a tennis ball, and the head nestled in your lap-those are only some of the rewards of being a dog owner. 

Owning a dog is not just a privilege-it's a responsibility. These animals depend on us for, at minimum, food and shelter, and deserve much more. If you are considering taking a dog into your life, you need to think seriously about the commitment that dog ownership entails. If you already have a dog, you need to consider if you are fulfilling all your obligations as its owner.

Cascade Northwest Bullmastiff Club is committed to helping dog owners raise happy, healthy dogs. This blog is certainly not exhaustive, but it contains some of the essential ways you can be the best dog owner you can be.


Please keep in mind- if you are reading these posts and find yourself thinking: "Maybe I'm not ready for dog ownership- this involves more than I thought- cat's are easier"  It's ok. Take more time.  There is nothing wrong with "waiting" to become more prepared- more sure.  We will welcome you to any events to be around the dogs and gain a better understanding glean important knowledge about so many things you may have not even thought of. 

  • 22 Apr 2014 7:44 PM | Deleted user
    Make That Tail Wag
    Your dog's tail is a barometer of his emotions. Do what you can to keep it happily wagging.
    1. Play! Dogs, of course, love to play. Set aside time each day for play sessions. Apart from the obvious benefit of having fun together, play also provides an outlet for your dog's energy.
    2. Go On Walks Take your dog on frequent walks. He will enjoy exploring the neighborhood and will benefit from the exercise. Make sure that you have a good strong leash and that you maintain control of the dog at all times.
    3. Talk to Your Dog  Your dog won't understand your words, but he will enjoy the sound of your voice. Talking to your dog will make him feel involved. You can also use different voice levels to praise or correct your dog's behavior.
    4. Give Treats  Your dog will always appreciate a treat, and treats can be used as a supplement to his regular diet, as well as an excellent training aid.
    5. Switch Out Toys  Keep your dog entertained by rotating his toys. Put "old" toys out of sight for a month or two and then bring them out again - your dog will enjoy them just as much as when they were new.
    6. Give Your Time  You are the center of your dog's world. You may be tired after a long day at work, but your dog has spent the day anxiously awaiting your return. Reward that loyalty with your time. Pet him, talk to him, play with him, laugh with him. Let your dog know you value his company.
    7. Find the "Spot"  Scratch your dog's belly often. If you find the "spot," so much the better.
    8. Leave the Radio On  Try leaving the radio or television on when you leave your dog alone. The noise will keep him company.
    9. Plan Activities With Your Dog  Include your dog in family activities. Take him to the park or on outings to the beach, or to special activities such as the "Dog Olympics" or dog parades. Your dog will love being out and about with you.
    10. Give a Massage  Dogs love to be petted, and recent studies have shown that structured massages may be beneficial to your dog's health and behavior. They may also be very relaxing for you!
    Love Your Dog  Your dog will love you no matter what. Return the favor.

    1. 22 Apr 2014 7:43 PM | Deleted user
      Ease Separation Anxiety
      Your dog will want to be with you at all times, but for most people that simply isn't possible. Help your dog get used to being alone. Leave him each day with a minimum of fuss. When you come home, greet him calmly. This will teach him that your leaving is not something to be concerned about.
    2. 22 Apr 2014 7:41 PM | Deleted user
      1 or 2? Which is Right for you?
      Dogs are pack animals by nature and generally enjoy the company of other dogs. Your dog may benefit greatly from having a companion to play with. Be as conscientious about getting a second dog as you were about getting the first; multiple dog ownership isn't for everyone, and some dogs do better as an "only."
    3. 22 Apr 2014 7:39 PM | Deleted user
      Don't Let Your Dog Down
      You aren't a dog owner just at Christmas, or on the weekends, or in the afternoon, or when you have spare time. You aren't a dog owner just when the dog is behaving, or when he's a cute fuzzy puppy, or when he's winning awards. When you bring a dog into your family, that dog is yours for life. If you can't keep that commitment, don't make it. And once you've made it, don't break it. Your dog's life depends on you.
    4. 22 Apr 2014 7:36 PM | Deleted user
      Be The Alpha
      Dogs need to know who's boss - and that boss should be you. You and your dog will be much happier together if you establish yourself as the leader of the pack.

      Teach Basic Commands

      Teach your dog basic commands such as sit, stay, come and down. Training your dog will not only make your life easier, but will also fulfill your dog's desire to learn and please you.

      Socialize Your Dog

      Expose your dog to different people and settings regularly. Take him to the park, to the pet store, on a walk through town. Praise him for accepting petting from friendly strangers, and for behaving calmly around other dogs. The more your dog learns of the world, the more comfortable he will be in it.

      Go to Class

      Obedience classes can be a great experience for you and your dog. You may even discover that your dog has a great talent for learning, and be able to compete in obedience, agility or tracking events.
      1. 21 Apr 2014 5:08 PM | Deleted user
        Prevent Nuisance Barking
        Don't let your dog's incessant barking annoy your neighbors. Teach your dog not to bark without real provocation. If your dog's barking is causing problems while you're away from home, try a silencing collar.
      2. 21 Apr 2014 5:02 PM | Deleted user
        Praise Your Dog
        Because your dog loves you, he wants to please you. Praise him lavishly for obeying commands and behaving well. Using positive, rather than negative, reinforcement will help your dog enjoy learning.
      3. 21 Apr 2014 4:58 PM | Deleted user
        Supervise Play With Children
        Children and dogs can be great companions, but they also require supervision when playing together. Your dog may be "good with kids," but what if he encounters a kid that is not good with dogs? Very small children should never be left alone with a dog, no matter how stable his temperament or his size.

      4. 21 Apr 2014 4:47 PM | Deleted user
        Give Your Dog a Job
        Keep your dog active and alert by giving him tasks to do. Teach him to fetch the paper, carry groceries in a pack or empty the dryer. Make him sit before getting a treat or lay down before going outside. Giving your dog a sense of purpose and accomplishment will increase his sense of well-being.

      5. 21 Apr 2014 4:37 PM | Deleted user
        Breed To Improve
        Breeding should only be done for the advancement of the breed. If you are thinking about breeding your dog, consult your breeder for advice. Consider all the consequences-and expenses-of breeding a litter before you do so. Consult AKC publications for more information as well.
        Spay or Neuter

        The Cascade Northwest Bullmastiff Club joins the AKC in encouraging pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs as a responsible means to prevent accidental breeding resulting in unwanted puppies.
        Contain Bitches in Heat

        If your female dog goes into heat, or season, make sure to keep her properly secured. Males can sense a female in heat up to five miles away. An accessible bitch in heat can lead to unplanned breedings, not to mention fights among dogs frantic to get to her.
        Perform Genetic Screening

        If you plan to breed your dog, it is very important to test for health and disease. Perform all available tests to rule out the possibility of passing on a genetic defect.

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