Dr Jo’s 10 Tips for Enhancing the Human-Canine Bond

Dr Joanne Righetti  is an animal behaviourist, based in Sydney, Australia. She is a zoologist with a PhD in animal behaviour and consults to pet owners and animal professionals such as vets, council rangers and shelter workers.

1. Choose your animal companion carefully. Select the species, breed, sex, age and individual temperament carefully to match your own personality, energy levels and lifestyle.

2. Spend time with your pet, feeding and carrying out normal maintenance routines but also spend quality time playing and nurturing your pet.

3. Encourage your animal companion to spend time with you. Generally, the more time you spend together, the greater the strength of the bond.

4. Learn all you can about your chosen pet, its origins, its health and its behaviour.

5. Fulfil your responsibilities towards the community. Then your friends and neighbours will also appreciate, and even enjoy your pet, making life easier for you.

6. Accept that there are disadvantages to living with an animal companion but the positives should outweigh the negatives.

7. Deal with problems as they arise and seek help for the more difficult ones.

8. Spend time with animals less fortunate than your own. Learn about animals in pounds and shelters and your heart will be touched.

9. Provide a little something extra for your pet – a training session, an extra play time or a special treat.

10. Realise that there is no perfect pet just as there is no perfect person!

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