MANILA, Philippines – If there’s anyone who knows how to take care of a dog (aside from a veterinarian, of course), it’s the owner of a champion dog.
While there is a debate surrounding how ethical dog shows actually are (the way they promote purebred dogs is questionable), one thing’s for sure: many of the dogs that are entered into these competitions are perfectly groomed, well-fed, well-taken care of, and very much loved.
At the Philippine Canine Club Inc’s (PCCI) Philippine Circuit 2023 held last January 12 to 15, competing dogs and their owners took over the Araneta Coliseum, and in between shows, many of the hardworking puppers got hugs and pets from their furparents.
On the sidelines of the event, we asked owners of champion dogs – a Corgi and a Boxer – about their best tips for taking care of your dog. As it turns out, whether you’re taking care of a majestic champion dog or a derpy freeloader, the advice is pretty much the same.
Here’s what they say:
Know your dog’s breed
Whether you’ve had your doggo for years or are still just considering what dog to bring home, knowing everything about your pet (or potential pet)’s breed is important. That way, you’ll know exactly what they need in terms of training, exercise requirements, and even what kind of discipline style works with them.
For instance, Albert and Marilen Chan, furparents of a Boxer named Freddy, shared that despite their fierce looks, the breed is actually very affectionate (in fact, Freddy who was named PCCI’s Top Dog of 2022, continued to ask for cuddles as his furparents spoke to Rappler).
“Boxers are very friendly and affectionate. They love to hug, see? They love to hug. They just look fierce, but they’re good family dogs. They don’t bite. They just want to hug, smell, and lick. They’re really such gentle giants,” Marilen shared.
Because of this, they give extra affection. “I treat them like my kids. I talk to them like I talk to my kids, Total TLC,” she added.
Meanwhile, Ronnie Laborada, the owner of a show Corgi named Cinnamon, shared that the breed is actually a herding dog, so they benefit from having a lot of exercise.
“Requirement sa Corgi dahil working dog siya, kailangan maburn yung mga pagkain niya. Kailangan mamaintain mo yung walking every day (Because Corgis are working dogs, they need to burn what they eat. You need to walk them every day),” he said.
Exercise is super important
Speaking of exercise, it’s one thing that ALL dogs should get regularly, regardless of their breed. Working breeds like the Corgi need more exercise because they’re genetically wired to have something to do. Ronnie shared that his Corgis get 30 minutes of walking in the morning, 30 minutes in the evening, and lots of playtime in between.
For Freddy the Boxer, a one- to two-kilometer run every other day and lots of free roaming in between is enough to fulfill his exercise needs.
A good diet means fewer trips to the vet
Any furparent will know that food is one of the biggest expenses that come with these adorable freeloaders. As tempting as it is to opt for the cheaper kibble though, parents of champion dogs advise against it.
“Maraming dog food na mura…pero may difference yan. Malimit yung mga mumurahin, mataas yan sa sodium, kaya gusto ng aso kasi maalat. Problema mo naman, after a few years, may kidney problem na yung aso mo. Yun yung mga kailangan iwasan,” Ronnie said.
(There are lots of affordable dog food brands, but there’s a difference. Often the cheap ones are high in sodium, and dogs like them because they’re salty. The problem is, after a few years your dog will get kidney problems. That’s what you should avoid.)
Albert also suggested mixing up your dog’s diet so they don’t get bored of their food.
“Pag medyo nagsasawa na siya sa kibble (when he’s tired of kibble), we do raw food, raw diet. We mix it up, pwede ding combination, may konting kibble may konting raw (you can also do a combination, some kibble, some raw),” he shared.
Consult a vet to know what brand of dog food they recommend, and what veggies and meat are safe to mix in with your pet’s food.
Control your dog’s exposure to other pets and places
Dogs are pack animals, so allowing them to meet and play with other dogs should be a priority. However, Ronnie suggests being mindful of who you allow your dog to mix with, and ensuring that they are up to date on all their vaccines.
He also reminded owners to keep them from being exposed to environments that are dirty, or places where they may potentially catch diseases. Even the vet could be a potential breeding ground for illness, so he suggests limiting your time there.
Blow-dry them after a bath!
Here’s something most dog owners might not pay attention to – air-drying your dog after baths might not be enough. It doesn’t matter whether they are shorthaired or have a long coat; giving them a proper blow-dry should be part of their grooming and bathing routine.
“If you don’t dry the dog, kahit anong dog, pag pinaliguan mo, basa, pagnagstay ng basa yung skin niya, magkakaroon yan ng mga fungal problem (no matter what the dog, if you bathe it, it’s wet and if his skin stays wet, he’s going to get fungal problems),” he said.
Train them young and train them consistently
If you want your dog to be a well-behaved member of society, your best route would be to start training them as early as possible – even as young as two or three months, as Albert and Marilen did with Freddy.
Albert shared that he trains his dogs daily, but is mindful not to overtain them.
“Five to ten minutes daily lang or every other day hanggang sa sanayan lang…. I do shorter training time but mas madaming frequency kasi pag bored na, di na sila natututo,” he said.
(We only do five to ten minutes daily or every other day until he learns…. I do shorter training times with more frequency because when the dog is bored, he doesn’t learn.)
Being consistent with teaching them and practicing comands is beneficial in more ways than one. A trained dog is easier to trust, and also training sessions make them super tired, which helps prevent any naughty behavior.
If you aren’t already practicing these things, try incorporating them into your dog care routine bit by bit. After all, it doesn’t matter whether your dog is best in show, or simply best in siphoning all your money – at the end of the day, our best friends deserve only the very best care. – Rappler.com
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