Dogs are wonderful companions! They are always happy to see you, can be a wonderful comfort after a long and difficult day and their playful natures make us forget our troubles and make us laugh.
They can most certainly teach us a lot about trust and loyalty, in fact a more perfect friend is hard to come by. But before you even start to look at possibilities of having a dog in your life there are important considerations to ponder, such as what effect the dog will have on your home and your personal life. It is paramount to think about why you want a dog and what your expectations are as for all their attributes, they are a 12 to 15 year commitment.
First and foremost, what kind of dog will you get?
Don’t be fixated on a particular breed of dog. Whether a pure bred or a mixed breed dog, you should never decide upon looks alone. Size, temperament and age of the dog should play a major role in your decision.
Do your research and find out whether the dog you are looking at getting will fit your lifestyle. If you are very active and want a companion to go running with you or accompany you on hikes, you will want a dog with a completely different energy level to someone who prefers a nice stroll around the neighborhood.
How much time do you have to devote to a dog?
Dogs are pack animals and live every waking moment to be with you and do things with you. When you are bringing your new dog home, try to take some time off to devote to bonding, setting house rules and getting your dog into a schedule. Dogs are routine orientated and once they have a good schedule they are happier and more balanced. Each dog has a different genetic makeup and personality, by adapting a routine that satisfies both mental and physical requirements you will avoid many behavior and destructive problems.
Living Environment for your dog
Having the right available space for your dog is another major consideration. Some breeds of dogs require more space than others and may not be suitable for apartment living. Having said that, even dogs who have a large garden to enjoy still need to get out for walks or other activities so they don’t become bored and start chewing up plants, digging, or develop a barking problem.
Where to keep your dog?
Many people share their main living space with their dogs, however if culturally it is not conducive and your dog does not live in the house, then supply your dog with a room with air conditioning to keep them cool, particularly in the summer. Your pooch will be happier and healthier! Remember to get them out often so the time they spend in their room will be a time of relaxation.
Caring for your dog.
Dogs can live long and happy lives if you follow simple guidelines of a good balanced diet that has suitable nutrition for your dog’s age and breed. Treat your dog regularly for parasites such as deworming and for fleas and ticks. A weekly nail trim and ear cleaning will help avoid discomfort and by brushing your dog’s coat regularly will make their coat look great and serves a wonderful bonding time for you. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the best health solutions for your pet and most importantly get to know your dog well so you can recognize when they are displaying a possible health problem.
Train them, don’t blame them.
Your dog won’t understand what you are expecting of him/her unless you show them. Train and reward good behaviors and avoid bad behaviors by not encouraging them. For instance dogs will jump up on you to display their excitement and solicit attention from you. If they receive praise or petting while jumping up you are reinforcing the behavior. Teach them that they will receive your attention but only once they are calm and polite. Use your body language and turn your body away from the dog, or walk forward into your dog making them back up. When they have all four paws to the floor ask them to sit and then praise for sitting.
Start training from a young age. We recommend starting to train name recognition and simple commands such as sit and recall from as early as 2 months old. By 4 months your dog is ready for basic obedience.