Dogs are fun to have; they’re wonderful pets and can really save your life. The well-brought-up, well-adjusted dogs, that is.

It might seem unusual, but dogs require almost the same level of parenting one would accord a child. Because of lackluster dog parenting skills, not all dogs turn out well. Some become bundles of anxiety, while others mature into broody, shy or angry fur balls.

This is a sharp contrast to what every dog owner wants their dog to be like. To avoid this mess, you need to become a better dog parent. The 4 tips below will help you make your best impression.

Introduce them to new social situations

Dogs, like young children, are always learning. This lifelong learning curve is very important for growth so it must be handled well. Experts recommend a few steps: introducing dogs to new situations is one.

They suggest that you take your dog on walks to different places regularly so they can discover new smells, colors and images on a daily basis. Having the dogs meet new people and other dogs is another suggested step.

Train them right

Training your dog is a very important part of its growth. In the same way that children need proper training for various tasks as they grow up, dogs should be introduced to the most necessary skills one by one.

Despite the necessity of dog training, many dog owners still think it useless. They prefer that a dog be a dog, but that’s exactly why many dogs turn out terrible and have to be discarded to shelters.

The benefits of training your dog are numerous; it improves the dog’s mental abilities, supports communication between you and the dog and makes the dog way more useful and obedient. Who doesn’t love a pup that ‘stays’ when ordered?

Give them a healthy, balanced diet

A dog’s diet is directly responsible for its proper growth into a confident, happy and useful being. Research shows that poor diets are a major cause of ugly behavior in dogs, including constant discomfort, mood swings, uncontrollable barking, extreme aggression and more.

For proper growth, your dog needs a steady diet that’s comprised of foods rich in proteins, minerals, antioxidants and other important nutrients. Make sure the diet is free of common additives like soy or wheat that are notorious for triggering negative reactions in dogs.

Additionally, make sure your dog gets the right amount of food daily – underfeeding and overfeeding are not good news.

Expose them to lots of mental and physical exercise

This might sound frivolous, but dogs need their fair share of mental exercise to grow properly. Physical exercise alone doesn’t cut it. Mental exercises are known to improve cognitive function in humans, and have been found to result in sharper dogs. The latter translates to dogs that are confident, alert and outstanding problem solvers.

So how do you improve your dog’s cognitive functions? Start with simple games. Hide-n-Seek is a good start, as are dog puzzles. Give him daily tests for better memory and resilience too. Don’t forget that all mental exercises work best when done on a regular basis.