There is no experience quite like the enthusiastic greeting of a dog who knows and loves you — the wagging tail, the drool-soaked kisses, and happy whimpers are unconditional and unending. But dogs, like human children, also involve a lot of responsibility and dedication, otherwise, their behavior suffers, and their quality of life does, too. In some cases, poorly informed dog ownership can cause misery for both the people and the pups. But with proper love and training, the dog-human bond can be one of life’s most rewarding relationships. In this howling-good quiz, what do you really know about the basics of dog ownership?
Dogs are not cats. Dogs are not gerbils. Dogs are canines, with DNA that’s closely related to wolves. They have many of the same restless instincts — and thus, require proper training in order to peacefully coexist with families and other pets. What do you recall about the basic needs and behaviors of dogs?
Because dogs are pack animals, humans must treat them as such. That means firmly guiding the pups through life with intelligent and kind obedience training. What’s more, dogs need certain preventative care, otherwise, they can become sick, or worse.
Dig into this wild-eyed puppy quiz now! Let’s see if you’re a good dog owner or if you should maybe stick to goldfish.
Millions of people jump into dog ownership not really thinking about the lifestyle changes it entails. Carefully consider your schedule before you get a dog.
Dogs are needful, active creatures ... a lot like small children. They need emotional bonding time and plenty of attention in order to be well-adjusted.
Dogs, like kids, are all different. Some are kind of low-energy, some are wild with excitement. And breeds definitely have very different traits — understanding this will help you choose the right dog.
Some breeds, like border collies, require incredible amounts of exercise or they can become destructive pests. If you don’t have time for an active breed, consider a less energetic one.
You think it’s a lot of work mowing the lawn and cleaning the house? Get a puppy and you’ll see your free time dwindle to almost nothing — these baby dogs need a lot of love and training.
Puppies, like humans, undergo a teething process that can make them achy. You can give them chew-safe toys (in place of your shoes) to help them work through this stage of life.
Dogs are creatures of habit. They behave best when they have a regular routine that includes substantial exercise.
Dogs are pack animals that require a safe den area to retreat to when they’re tired or anxious. They’re also emotional creatures that require a bit (or a lot) of affection from their families.
Housetraining can be frustrating with some dogs. Very cold weather, though, is often helpful — because dogs won’t mess about so much before urinating, because they’re hurrying to get back to warm shelter.
Puppies under 12 weeks need lots of small meals. They should eat about four times per day in order to properly sustain their fast-growing bodies.
Many active breeds need hours — hours — of fast-paced activity to burn off energy and keep their minds engaged. Like children deprived of playtime, these dogs can quickly become destructive and hard to handle.
Mosquitoes often carry the parasite that causes heartworm, which can kill your dog. Owners can avoid this problem with preventative heartworm treatments.
Even tiny puppies benefit from short training sessions. The sooner you begin training, the easier it’ll be to shape your dog into a good family member.
It doesn’t matter what kind of animal it came from. Cooked bones of any kind can splinter when your dog chews them ... and potentially cause harm or death. Some vets spar on this issue but erring on the conservative side can spare you some serious grief.
Raw beef bones — big ones for big dogs and small ones for the little guys — are safe for your dog, since they are less likely to splinter. But it’s just a brief treat. Let them chew for a few minutes and then take them away before shattering and breaking begins.
It’s called "leash-reactivity," and it’s common. Many dogs become hypervigilant or even aggressive when they’re on a leash, and if this happens to you, consult an expert for help right away.
In many places, you can be fined for the mess. Clean up after your dog ... after all, if it was your yard, you wouldn’t want to walk into an animal’s feces.
Scoop up those puppies with both hands and cradle their weight. If you snatch them by the scruff of the neck "like the mother does," you’re putting the pup at greater risk of harm.
Older dogs are a major blessing for many families, in part because they aren’t as active as puppies. Some older dogs get by with a minimal amount of exercise.
Some dogs don’t like other dogs, plain and simple, but they’re fine with people. In other cases, the script is flipped, or features a combination of the two. You must monitor your dog’s behaviors carefully and consult an expert, if necessary.
Dogs love toys, just like kids. And you can keep them interested in those toys by rotating them every couple of weeks, rather than buying new ones all the time.
In America, it’s not uncommon for breeders to overbreed their dogs and generally treat them poorly in order to maximize profits. It’s just one of the many reasons you should consider adopting instead.
A crate or harness is vital to the safety of your dog ... and yours, too. Each year, dogs are hurt during hard stops because they’re not secured — or they cause accidents by jumping in a driver’s lap.
America is awash in abandoned animals caused by overpopulation. Unless you’re specifically wanting to breed your dog, spaying and neutering is vital to keeping animal numbers under control.
Many people don’t bother to brush their dogs’ teeth. But regularly scrubbing can slow down tooth decay and prevent expensive dental bills.
Most abandoned dogs are given away at around 18 months. Why? Because this is when all of that poor training comes back, manifested in behaviors that drive owners nuts.
Door darting, food stealing, extreme wildness ... these are your rewards for not training your dog. Both of you may wind up miserable.
Heartworm treatments kill the worms inside your dog ... and heavy exercise can break up the worms and cause heart problems. Dogs should rest for weeks until the worms are passed out of the body.
Overdoing the people food can cause health problems in many dogs. And feeding them from the table? It’s a shortcut to major behavior problems.
Many rescued dogs are spayed or neutered too young. This can cause thyroid problems ... and later, behavioral and health issues.
Quickly changing your dog’s food can cause major stomach upset. Gradually mix the new food with the old during this transition.
Dogs age faster than humans and their needs change. You’re responsible for understanding those changes and needs and making your dog comfortable.
Heartworm was once problematic only in the southern reaches of the U.S. Nowadays, this parasite can affect dogs in any area, meaning owners must practice prevention or risk the consequences.
Dogs can't tell us when they don't feel right. If your pup has a persistent cough, consider a vet visit -- this is one of the symptoms of heartworm.
Dog ownership is a privilege ...and the law can take away your dog if you’re unkind or irresponsible. Treat your pup with love and respect and you’ll have a mutually beneficial relationship that lasts for years.