Excerpt: 'The Well-Adjusted Dog'

The Well-Adjusted Dog

In his new book "The Well-Adjusted Dog" renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman explains the best ways to ensure a happy and healthy lifestyle for your dog.

Dr. Dodman covers everything from exercise to environment, providing a detailed seven-step approach for caring for man's best friend.

In this must-have pet manual you will learn all the training and care tips that are the best for your dog.

You can find out about adopting the dogs seen on "GMA" as well as other animals up for adoption at Humane Society of New York.

Read excerpts from "The Well-Adjusted Dog" below.

Part 1 Basic Needs

Part 1 It should go without saying that a dog's physical and health needs must be taken care of as a priority to ensure his wellbeing and to provide a firm base for other, more sophisticated welfare measures. Ideally, every dog should receive an annual veterinary checkup, have any necessary blood work performed, and routine medications, like heartworm and flea and tick preventatives, prescribed. It is far better to take a preventative approach to dogs' physical well-being than to wait until things go wrong and then have to utilize a "fire engine approach" to deal with the conflagration.

What many dog owners don't realize is that routine veterinary care is not enough to ensure a dog's optimal health and happiness. Other factors essential for the dog's physical and mental health are sufficient exercise and a properly balanced diet appropriate to the dog's lifestyle, activity level, and temperament. Dogs also benefit from having a clear line of communication between themselves and their owners. They are at their best when they

have confidence in their owners' ability to exercise leadership – including the use of humane forms of restraint when necessary. They also respond well to having a clear understanding of what's required of them and what their place is in the family unit. Many dogs, at one time or another, exhibit fear-based behaviors that erode their confidence and can lead to other problems. Owners must be able to manage fearful situations and use behavior-modification techniques when necessary to assuage specific fears. Finally, dogs thrive in user-friendly environments that support their canine agendas. All of these factors contribute to a dog's achieving optimal health and well-being, and to a relationship between dog and owner that is enjoyable and mutually fulfilling. In this section, I deal with the seven physical and mental needs that I see as fundamental to ensuring that dogs lead happy, healthy, well-adjusted lives.

A Tired Dog Is a Good Dog Sufficient Exercise— A First and Necessary Step

If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise. —Unknown

Sometimes canine behavior problems are so severe, they threaten the ability of people to successfully cohabit with their dogs. Other problems, though troublesome, simply fall into the nuisance category. In one such case, a couple came to the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts complaining about their two-year-old Dalmatian's constant whining, pacing, and circling. Seemingly neurotic, hyperactive behaviors such as these may be initiated by many complex causes, but they often stem from an imbalance of energy input and output. As a starting point in what would be a lengthy consultation with numerous recommendations, I addressed the dog's need for vigorous daily exercise – suspecting, as I did, that he may not be getting enough, because few dogs are.

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