Adding a pet to the family circle should never be an impulse decision. Everyone in your household needs to willingly commit to responsible pet care before getting a pet, because, just like people, animals require love and attention, medical care, and consistent interaction. Of course, it is important that you can afford to properly feed and care for an animal, but even more important is that you have time each day to devote to your new friend, that you understand that he needs regular play and exercise, and that you are willing and able to offer a lifetime home to him.
With the crisis overpopulation of dogs, it is important to have your friend spayed or neutered, eliminating the “oops” accidental breeding that often occurs with dogs that are left intact. Altered pets not only live longer and healthier lives, but they also make better companions. The best age to spay or neuter a dog is about six months old, at the beginning of puberty, but it is important to talk to your vet about the right time for your specific dog.
Effective positive obedience classes are great and include people training as well as dog training. New pet caregivers need to be aware of the dog’s unique temperament and tendencies to help better control behavior. Having a well-behaved dog requires time and effort on the part of the human. Dogs are dogs, and many actions that humans consider inappropriate are simply expressions of natural behavior. Dogs dig; dogs bark; dogs chew. These are things that come natural to a dog, and even though our domesticated dogs no longer hunt for their food, they are still predators by nature, and they need to be busy. They do dog things… and will sometimes exhaust your patience, but inappropriate behavior is almost always the fault of the humans…too little interaction and too little training. Teaching what is and what is not appropriate behavior is YOUR responsibility, and every member of the family needs to follow the same rules. Dogs do not automatically know what is expected of them, unless rules, boundaries and limitations have been taught. Consistency is the key to having a well-behaved dog
September is National Responsible Dog Ownership Month, and the American Kennel Club includes these promises that responsible caregivers should make not just in September, but all year-round:
- I will never overlook my responsibilities for this living being and recognize that my dog’s welfare is totally dependent on me.
- I will always provide fresh water and quality food for my dog.
- I will socialize my dog with exposure to new people, places, and other dogs.
- I will take pride in my dog’s appearance with regular grooming.
- I will recognize the necessity of basic training by teaching my dog to reliably sit, stay, and come when called.
- I will take my dog to the vet regularly and keep all vaccinations current.
- I will pick up and properly dispose of my dog’s waste.
- I will ensure that the proper amount of exercise and mental stimulation is provided.
- I will ensure that my dog has some form of identification. This may include tags, tattoo, or microchip.
- I will adhere to all local animal regulations.
Life sometimes takes unexpected turns, and lifestyles and circumstances change. Adjustments may need to be made for the well being of both your two legged and four legged companions, but commitments, once made, should be honored, even if it is inconvenient or difficult. Your dog is a forever dog!
I am a forever dog, not an “until” dog.
I’m not an “until you get bored with me” dog.
I’m not an “until you have a baby” dog.
I’m not an “until you have decide to move” dog.
I’m not an “until you have no time” dog.
I’M A FOREVER DOG!
If you can’t give me your forever, then I’m not your dog.
IT’S REALLY THAT SIMPLE!