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© Ralph Clever Working Dogs & Rehabilitation, LLC 2014

A New Family Member

 

Hello my dear readers!

 

Today I like to give you some advice, if you are planning, or dreaming about getting a dog. Please consider the following:

 

1) Do you have time for a dog? They have to be exercised every day; a huge yard is not enough!

 

2) You have to full- fill their needs as a dog, and train them, so they fit into your lives! Yeah, dogs are living creatures that don't automatically fit right into your life style, we have to teach them. I am sure you send your kids to school, and they don't become a rocket scientist in a 6 week course, so please don't expect your dog to learn that fast, or that he just knows everything automatically. (They also don't speak your language!)

 

3) Please do not pick a dog because he looks cute, remember what happened when you pick your dates just for the looks? Did you watch on TV a certain breed you like to get? Again, this is TV! In real life a working breed, for example, might not fit in your life. Those dogs need to work, be mentally challenged, or you might be in for a surprise, if they go to work in your house doing some "re-arranging", while you are gone!

 

4) What is your energy level? Are you a couch potato, or do you run a few miles every day? Pick a dog that has a lower energy level, than your own.

 

5) Do you have other pets? Your new dog should be also lower energy, than the residence dog(s). They have to be properly introduced, just "throwing" them together is a bad idea. You have to supervise them first, until you can trust them; you have to be their pack leader!

 

6) Forgive me for asking this, but can you afford a dog? They can get seriously sick, they need food, bed, toys, bones, may be a crate, leash, and collar, regular vet check- ups, training a.s.o. I think you get the idea! They also live around 10 to 16 years, depending on the dog, so in other words they cost a lot of money during their life.

 

7) Are you up for a puppy? They are a lot of work! You have to get up a few times at night to potty train them. They go through the stages from a puppy to an adolescent, just like your kids did. Are you up for this? If not, please consider an older dog. They make wonderful pets as well, might not need as much exercise as a young one, depending on the breed, and are often already housetrained, and know some obedience-- they can definitely make your life easier, if you are a busy person.

 

8) Please do not get a dog, so you have a baby sitter, and play mate for your kids. Dogs and kids have to be supervised! Dogs are no toys! They are living beings and have to be handled correctly, and with respect! Kids need to be taught these things. A child can't be responsible for taking care of the dog. Those are unrealistic expectations, however; there are some older kids that are good at this. But a 13 year old can't walk their Rottweiler through the neighborhood by himself!

 

9) If you already have a dog that has behavior problems, don't get another dog. The new one will not solve your problems. Hire a trainer or behaviorist for your old dog first!

 

10) Don’t expect problems to go away overnight!  It takes 30- 45 days for a dog to develop a habit, if you are consistent, and if we have a daily routine!  So, if you are in the middle of a rehab with your dog, and you go on vacation--- that is not consistent!  If you have company while your dog is in rehab--- that is not a routine, that’s change!  (If your dog has problems with fear, this is a trust issue, your dog may not feel safe etc., he has to be gradually and properly socialized, and will take a lot more time by the way!)

 

So, if you already got a dog that is too much dog for you, please don't give him up, without having been to training, or behavior rehabilitation! Dogs have feelings, too. Like us, they like to be with their pack permanently! Going from home to home is not something they enjoy! Re- homing should be a last resort.

 

If you plan to move soon, and you know you can't take your dog- don't get one now!

 

If you have no time for a dog (with all the needs they have), don't get one! There are other pets like birds or cats that are less work, and also need a good home.

 

And finally………..please consider adopting a pet from your local Shelter or Rescue Group!!!  There are so many dogs and cats in need for a good home that might be otherwise euthanized!  I was one of them- many years ago, and I am more than thankful I got adopted by my Mom and Dad!

 

All the best to all of you!  Wuff...Wuff...

 

Strudel