Cincinnati is home to a variety of resources for your feline friends and canine companions. It offers dog-friendly bars such as Neon’s Unplugged in Over-the-Rhine, exclusive dog resorts such as WagsPark, in addition to a Cat Club and K9 Country Club, Dog Jogger, PhoDOGrapher, Pet Nanny, Pet Butler, Pet Pantry and our very own online publication for pet owners.
The area also offers a wide variety of experts, who go above and beyond the howl of duty. If you’re new to pet ownership, Kyle Maushardt, owner of Professional Pet Nanny, Inc., and Megan Gourlie, owner of Dogtown Cincinnati, both have advice on caring for new dogs for first-time pet owners.
Pay attention to the breed of the new part of your family
It’s important to research how active the dog will be, based on its breed, and for the house and yard space to correspond with this. "If you’re adopting, you want to make sure that the pet you adopt can fit the house. Sometimes the smaller ones are pretty active, and they need a large yard and space in the homes to run around," Maushardt says.
Get into a routine with your pet
Puppies have small bladders – typically lasting them about four hours, Maushardt says – which require having a potty schedule. "The pet has to communicate when it wants to go out at regular intervals," she says. "You want that puppy out on a regular basis every four hours."
Be firm, and establish a role as the leader
Something that may seem like a minor factor in getting dogs to be obedient is actually very important in a dog’s development, Gourlie says. "When you tell a dog to do a command more than once, they’re going to learn that they can not sit – or do the action – until the fifth or sixth time," she says. After getting the dog trained, which Gourlie says is best done by a professional, owners must continue to be firm.
Don’t baby your dog
Dogs can tell when their owners are stressed about leaving them at home when they leave the house, Gourlie says. "If you’re thinking that they’re going to be fine, the dogs will think that, too ñ it’s not what you say to them, it’s how you act," she says.
Keep your pet healthy
This entails both dental and nutrition, Maushardt says. "One thing that I do with my pets is take care of dental. It’s the gateway to good health," she says. Additionally, it’s important to choose the right kind of food for the dog, she says. There are two main groups of different food: grain versus grain-free. Whichever owners choose is really dependent on preference.
Your companion also needs companions
Socialization is vital to raising a happy, healthy pet, Gourlie says. "My dog grew up hanging out in a bar; he can roll with anything," she says. "He went to doggy day care and dog parks. All of that is important for socialization and building up immunities. He’s been exposed to dog viruses and bacteria, so he’s healthy now.
Make sure the pet fits well with the family
All the other points are moot if the new pet doesn’t fit well in its new home. "It’s all about finding the right fit – there are so many misplaced pets in the world, and I get a lot of calls from people who are trying to work through issues with their pets," Maushardt says.