The dog owners guide to survival

Welcome to the world of dog ownership. If you’ve done your due diligence and research, then you probably are confident that you have selected the right breed for your home. Guess what? The education is about to begin. Let me introduce you to what I refer to as the “Dog Owner’s Guide to Survival.” It’s not a book, but it is a common sense approach when it comes to canine ownership.

Making a few common sense decisions regarding your new dog can be critical when it comes down to laying the foundation to a good relationship with the animal. One of the first considerations is the position that dog will occupy from an interaction standpoint. You should also think about that when it comes to the animal’s relationship with friends, neighbors, and (especially) strangers who show up unexpectedly at your home. You will find that in most instances, the relationship will work if the dog and owner adapt to the situation that the decisions have mandated.

Another point here is that you need to treat this relationship the same way you would treat any other relationship, especially relationships that you have with loved ones. Use the philosophy of making the relationship work for all parties concerned and you will have a much easier time of things. The key aspects are adaptation to the relationship, amending the rules, and the act of decision making.

To reflect back momentarily, what if you haven’t decided on the breed of dog that you want and are just starting to do your research? Here’s some suggested reading for you:

* Choosing a Dog for Dummies by Chris Walkowicz/Trade paperback/2001 * Your Purebred Puppy : A Buyers Guide by Michele Welton/Paperback/2000 (second edition)

* The Complete Dog Book (20th Ed) by the American Kennel Club/Hardcover/1997

These three books are excellent reading. The one published by the AKC is my first choice if you are getting that dog as an investment (as in breeding) as well as a pet. The origin of the breed, reasons for its development, personality, and physical attributes is what I call critical need-to-know information. So the first consideration is to select the breed based on studying it from all angles and making sure that it will adapt to the family lifestyle and temperament.

Personalities of breeds come in all shapes and sizes. Do you want a dog that can hunt or pull a sled? Or do you want a dog that is calm and loves to just hang out and relax? How about the coat — long-hair or short-hair? Obviously, if you really love that animal, grooming will always be an issue. And by all means, think about the climate zone that you’re living in. Here’s a thought. If you live in the dessert, don’t get a sheep dog. Do you catch my drift?

Just remember that the physical and psychological aspects are everything. Never take them for granted. Never assume that you are doing all you can do for that animal’s well being. Their mental health controls their physical health, just like with humans.