Top 10 Gifts That Last a Lifetime. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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Check out Linda’s book, Do No Harm™ Dog Training and Behavior Manual, available to download here.

The lingering aroma of hot cider, eggnog, and evergreen, sparkling lights that brightened each night, and my great hope for a wonderful new year, stir me to share a list of “gifts” that can enhance the quality of every dog’s life. Your thoughtful choices make a big difference– from adoption to the twilight days.

1. Adoption
Consider adoption as a first-choice. There’s a wide array of deserving dogs that need families. You may find an already house-trained, obedience-trained, and socialized dog that fits in easily in your home.

2. Veterinary Care
Be pro-active about your dog’s health and ask questions. Personal recommendations from a trusted friend or professional are best. Consider integrative care that combines both standard and holistic treatment, and importantly, look for a vet that practices gentle handling. Check out pet health insurance, and don’t forget to take care of those pearly whites.

3. Spay/Neuter
Help stop the over-population problem by choosing to spay or neuter early and don’t breed except with excellent reason and planning. Reliable research tells us that spay/neuter prevents or decreases many behavior problems and has some medical benefits as well.

4. Training
Begin training at 8 weeks or as soon thereafter as possible. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior advises: “Training should be based on positive reinforcement with frequent rewards, praise, petting, play and/or treats. Positive and consistent training is associated with fewer behavior problems and greater obedience than methods that involve punishment and/or encourage human dominance” (2008). Socialize, socialize, socialize!

5. Nutrition
Be careful about what you put into your dog. Read the ingredients list. Feed a super-premium grade food with a specifically named meat as the first ingredient and avoid, fillers, by-products, artificial flavoring, preservatives, coloring and sugar. Rotate between meats and brands to achieve variety. Provide supplements of Vitamin/mineral and Omega 3/6 and feed at least a little wet food each day or soften kibble with broth or water.

6. Exercise
Provide your dog with sufficient exercise for her size, breed and activity level. Most medium, large and giant breeds need to run. The health and behavioral benefits of a happy, well-exercised dog are priceless.

7. Grooming
Please search out a gentle groomer.

8. Environmental Enhancement
Your dog needs and enjoys novel scenery, sounds, objects and activities just as people do. Provide a toy box, food-toys, chew items, a window with a view, and activities that will keep your hound stimulated and out of trouble. Consider re-landscaping a dog-friendly yard for your Bowser.

9. Twilight Days
In-home end of life procedures provided by a mobile veterinarian are often the kindest choice for an aged or sickly beloved pet.

10. Love…infuse all of the above with a big dose of your love!

Dogs are our closest, most beloved animal companions, so it behooves us to consider every aspect of their care and well-being carefully.

Learn more about pet parent problem-solving, teaching classes, and private consultations in the Do No Harm Dog Training Manual.

Dog Training Manual Do No Harm Force Free Positive tranier san diego del marThe Do No Harm™ Dog Training Manual was designed as my own personal guide for teaching basic manners classes, and evolved into a reference manual for my private behavior consultations. Created as a practical guide for either or both training formats, it is also helpful for pet parents who want an inside look at dog training and behavior, as well as for those who seek force-free solutions for specific problems. Written with love for the “heartbeats at our feet”. You can purchase and download the PDF ebook dog training manual here.

Linda Michaels, “Dog Psychologist,” M.A./Psychology a Top Ten Rated U.S. Dog Trainer — Del Mar Dog Training, may be reached at 858.259.WOOF (9663) or by email: for private manners/obedience instruction and behavioral consultations near Del Mar and the San Diego Coast. Please visit us at  All rights reserved.

Lorine Wright, Executive Editor.


Linda Michaels, M.A. Psychology, Del Mar Dog Training, serves clients in Del Mar and San Diego County from La Jolla to Carlsbad, plus Rancho Santa Fe, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. Linda Michaels was recently rated one of the top ten dog trainers in the United States, by Top Ten Magazine. Linda has a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology (Hons), and is the creator of the Hierarchy of Dog Needs™ (HDN). She focuses on the psychological aspects of dog behavior that often mirror human psychological conditions, such as: fear, separation/attachment disorders, and aggression toward humans and other dogs. She also teaches private, customized basic manners/obedience lessons for dogs of all ages and every breed.

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