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BEFORE BUYING A DOG
Owning a dog can be very expensive and this should be taken into account before buying a puppy. Costs to consider are the weekly food bill,bedding, toys and other equipment, veterinary care, boarding kennel fees, enrollment fees for training classes, grooming/clipping fees.
Dogs demand a lot of time and attention, particularly as puppies. You will need to take your puppy outside hourly. Puppies have very weak bladder control and will need to relieve themselves at least twelve time throughout the day. There is a fairly set pattern.
Choose a breed that will suit you and your lifestyle. The lifespan of a dog is approximately thirteen years. Are your current circumstances likely to change during this time? If so, will owning a dog be a problem, such as starting a family or going to another country?
Will you be able to devote a lot of time to your puppy for the first few weeks when he arrives home?
Are you going to be away from home for long hours during the day?
If so, it may be unwise to buy a puppy. Do you go away frequently?
If so, will you be able to take the dog with you?
Will you have time to attend training classes?
Will you be able to take him for at least one good walk a day?
The next step is to consider what type of breed will suit you, think about your lifestyle, size of home, facilities for exercise and time available.
Does you tenancy or leasehold agreement allow pets?
Ask about different breeds at your local vet or dog training club. As other owners of the breed that you are considering, for their advice and opinions. Meet dogs of all ages and both sexes of your chosen breed. This will give you an idea of what to expect. Research the breed by reading books and gain as much information as possible. When you have made your choice of breed, contact the breed club secretary through the a recognised Kennel Club (there is a regulating Kennel Club in most countries).
The Kennel Club (UK) 1-5 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London W1Y 8AB.
Tel: 0171 493 6651
Spanish Kennel Club (Tel 2290237) Insist on seeing the mother and if possible the father with the puppies. You should have easy access to the puppies and be able to handle them. Request a written agreement that the purchase is subject to a satisfactory examination by your veterinary surgeon within 48 hours of purchase. If you are unsure about buying the right puppy, make enquires with the local vet to see if he is willing to attend the viewing to check the puppy for visible health problems — this could save money and upset in the long-term. ..As quoted by the RSPCA and National Canine Defence League
” Never buy a dog from a pet shop or any retail outlet . Never take one from street markets, or from any place where you cannot see the mother.” If you wish to obtain a dog from a Shelter, Visit your local Animal Rescue Society for advice and to discuss the options of adopting a rescue dog or puppy. All Animal Rescue Shelters are obligated to furnish you with a signed Veterinary Health Certificate. Like humans, dogs need company, so do not leave him alone all day. Dogs that become lonely and bored are more likely to bark and become destructive. If you really care for your dog you will train him properly and learn that play is one of the most essential ingredients in a good owner.
In an ideal world every puppy would have a suitable home to go to and a caring owner. Sadly this is not the case. Many thousands of unwanted and abandoned puppies and dogs are destroyed each year. Neutering in the only guaranteed way of preventing unplanned puppies being born, if you consider the horrific alternative methods of population control for dogs, it really is the kindest cut.
DOGS FROM ANIMAL SHELTERS/RESCUE KENNELS
I always recommend that one should try to adopt a rescue dog from an animal shelter. These dogs have so much love and companionship and are so easy to train.
Before taking a dog from an animal rescue shelter, it is wise to visit the shelter with the whole family and no decisions should take place on the first visit. On the second visit after family discussion and of course making certain that you will not fall foul of any agreements you have with a rented property. Also if you live on a council/local government run development, then it is best to check with the landlords if dogs are permitted.
To avoid future heartbreak and heavy veterinary bills do insist that a medical certificate is given with your new pet and that your new pet is neutered. If this is not available at the time of collection do not take the pet and return when the medical certificate is ready. Unfortunately many dogs have an assortment of viruses, distemper and Parvo entering the shelter, and local shelters do not always apply quarantine rules before rehoming dogs and cats. This is in the interest of your family and any other pets you may have in the home.
I recommend that as soon as the dog arrives at his new home it is taken out of the car on a leash and walked quietly around the outside area, allowing plenty of time to absorb all the new sights, sounds and smells. A drink of water should be offered as soon as possible.. Introductions to all members of the household should be done whilst still outside in a gentle manner and the dog made to sit before being patted, It is best to start basic obedience immediately. If you have an existing pet it is better to introduce them away from the home, maybe up the road.
Dogs will no doubt want to urinate fairly early in the proceedings. If it performs in an acceptable area then praise is essential. Unfortunately a dog which has been kept in a shelter even for a few days will have learned to relieve itself on a hard floor, so he may well need some housetraining.
The dog should be allowed to inspect the whole house ( still on his leash) and prevented from doing anything undesirable. Lingering slightly in the dogs proposed sleeping area where his basket should have been placed and offering a small food reward is useful.
Possibly the most difficult message to convey to a new owner of a rescue dog is that entering a new environment is stressful and as far as is practicable the dog should be allowed to have time to adjust, but also ensuring that “House Rules” are established and enforced early. If a dog is not going to be allowed to jump on chairs or be allowed in the bedrooms then it should not be allowed from the start.
In my experience providing a regular routine from day one is probably the best way to settle a dog into a new home. Regular walk times, regular meal times, regular fun times with the family, regular settling down. It takes about 12 weeks for a dog to completely settle into his new home. I always recommend that rescue dogs should be taken to your own vet immediately for worming even though you have a health certificate, and ask your vet for preventative treatment for heart worm and fleas.
A NEW BABY AND THE FAMILY DOG
It is essential to ensure that your dog has a basic understanding of good behaviour. The dog should be able to lie quietly for short periods, not jumping up, walking on a lead without pulling and coming when called are all essential.
Most dogs are used to being the “baby” in the family and may find it difficult losing this position. Get your dog used to being ignored and left alone for short periods of time every day. If it is your intention to exclude your dog from certain areas of the house after the baby arrives, establish these rules well in advance to the baby’s arrival. Ideally, the dog should be excluded from the baby’s bedroom.
It is a good idea to teach your dog to walk gently next to the pram, but never tying the leash to the pram, and never when unattended. The dog should also be accustomed to new items of furniture such as playpens, carry cots and high chairs before baby arrives. If possible get a tape recording of baby noises and play it in a tape recorder placed where the baby will normally be so the dog becomes socialized to these sounds. Also teach the dog the difference between his/her toys and the baby’s toys.
Make sure that you develop a routine and stick to it when the baby arrives. It is important that the dog receives sufficient mental and physical stimulation. Try not to make a big deal with the dog about the arrival of the baby. Teach the dog how to approach the baby properly and gently. Allow the dog to make initial investigations and approaches. Associate the baby’s presence with positive things. Give the dog titbits and lavish praise for desired behaviour around the baby. Do not place the baby on the floor with the dog and never shout at or hit your dog for approaching the baby incorrectly. Gently show the dog what you wish him/her to do and offer a reward for responding.
Due to the fact the a baby’s immune system is not strong, ensure that your dog is healthy and is up to date with worming and vaccinations before baby arrives.
If your dog has any behavioural problems, make sure that you resolve these before baby arrives or if you are in doubt about your dogs behaviour after your baby arrives, consult your vet who can refer you to a local animal behaviour counselor.
NEVER leave any baby or child unattended with any dog.
Of course all the above rules must also apply when Grandchildren or visitors come over here for a few weeks, where dogs are not used to being or living with children.
LEAVING A DOG IN BOARDING KENNELS
I always recommend that you DONT BOOK UNTIL YOU LOOK. If a kennel will not allow you to look around, then go somewhere else since they may have something to hide. If the kennels smell doggy try another place. Tell the kennels what food you are feeding, if they do not have it, you supply it. If the kennel will not use your proprietary food, try somewhere else. Always check they have screens to protect your dog against sandfly, in hot countries where this may be a problem.
All good kennels will ask for sight of your vaccination book, which must be up to date, also they will require details of any medication, and the name and phone number of your vet.
Provide the kennel with a list of your commands and pet phrases, like his special name, and take along his favourite toys. Pet owners worry that their pets will pine and be miserable, I would be miserable if I was allowed to sleep on my mummies bed and was now in a cage. However there are many things we can do to help our pets to avoid “separation anxiety”. It might be a good idea to put your dog into a kennel just for a day when a visitor comes from your home. If you go away for a weekend or for a holiday remember your pet is a creature of habit, he knows you are changing your routine, this might be the time to pop him into a kennel.
If you plan to go away, then you should be a bit cool with your pet and try to detach yourself..
One final tip, when you leave your pet at a kennels, do not start getting upset, this will affect your pet, and never arrange for a friend to go and visit.
IS A DOG HUMAN ?
Humans are capable of complex emotions like love, sadness, despair, jealousy, sympathy, hatred and loyalty. A dogs emotional state is more reactive, instinct driven and survival orientated. Instinct is something which is either there or not there, and it covers survival, maternal, hunting, guarding, pack, and self preservation.
Dogs are living in the present, they react to the immediate smell, sound, and movement. Dogs experience aggression mostly from their “Owners” who do not understand that the dog does not understand what they are talking about. Most weeks I have a client informing me that their dog is only able to understand , Spanish, French, Swedish and the other day I was well informed that a dog could only understand Japanese !
Logic is alien to humans, all animals have an ability to communicate with each other . I am able to communicate with a dog, since I am able to think like a dog, thats why I am called “The Dogman !
Dogs are unable to reason and when they lay on the floor are not capable of thinking “I wonder what mum is making for dinner”, the dog will react only to a sound, smell, and to the immediate situation.
Many owners of pets will punish their pet after an event just like a child. This is non productive, and is called “Anthropomorphism.” Try asking a dog what one and one equals ? or simply deduct one from two, I bet he cant work it out!
The biggest problem that most owners encounter is “He wont come back” I wonder why ? after all the little fellow followed the owner everywhere when he was a puppy. Is it because he was treated like a child and punished for not coming back, or indeed punished when he did come back..? Owners will shout and shout, little wonder the little fellow does not want to know. Our pets are able to read and react to our posture, a prime example only the other day I had one of those looks from my wife and asked her what was the matter ? “Nothing” she said and marched away in a “bottom up style, “to me that body posture meant everything was the matter ! Most owners are apt to forget that dogs are dogs and cannot expect them to behave in a human way ,this must distorts the dogs true natural behaviour. Only the other day a lady attending one of my social classes arrived carrying her dog, I asked if the dog was ill, to be informed “My dog does not like to walk on stony roads .”
Our pets are still wolves in disguise, and still ninety five percent wolf, they will roll in mud, eat faeces, but have many qualities that humans could learn from. They will always greet you well, not answer you back, ask for nothing, and if you do not feed them they will still love you.
DOG AND CAT ALLERGIES
It is the Dander and top skin and certain proteins in saliva and urine that cause people allergic problems according to Emily Rothstein a resident in dermatology at Cornhill College of Veterinary Medicine. Any dog or cat that urinates or licks has the potential to be an allergic-type breed. Most research on pet allergies has centered on allergies to cats, maybe this is no surprise because they are twice as likely to make their owners sneeze as dogs. Longer haired cats tend to shed less allergen and consequently owners with allergies have fewer reactions. Cats that are short haired traditionally give off more allergen, it is not known if this is true for dogs.
HOW TO BEAT PET ALLERGIES
Dander collects in the carpets. upholstered furniture and bedding so for those suffering allergies it is better to be without carpets and have wooden furniture or leather. Bedding should be encased in plastic and if it is impossible to remove carpets then these should be steamed cleaned every three months to remove allergens. It is also advisable to wash walls and floors.
Animal allergens are very small and very sticky and once they are secreted they dry on the animals fur, become stuck on fur and become airborne during petting and grooming. According to Bonnie Eiche a spokeswoman for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation ” They are so small that they can stay airborne for a long time and because they are sticky, they adhere to walls, clothing, and heating and cooling ducts.”
About 7 years ago I gave up smoking and noticed that I was coughing and choking when handling dogs. After a few tests I was duly informed ” Mr. Dogman you are an asthmatic and allergic to dogs” “No not me……not possible thats my job” but sadly I now have to take all kind of things to help control my allergic symptoms from medication to inhalers and most important I wash my hands more than a surgeon and change my clothes about three times a day and wash my dogs every week. But with all my allergies I could not live without dogs because I feel that dogs enhance our quality of life and are worth having around.
MY DOG WON'T COME BACK !
Most dogs do not get sufficient exercise and the only exercise they get is to be taken out to relieve themselves. From the dogs point of view he is taken out, he “performs his duty” and then is taken straight back home as a punishment. If he has an extra sniff for a moment or two he is now punished with shouting abuse and as some owners do, by smacking the dog.
Lets think like a dog. He is looking forward to his outing, if and when he performs he is taken straight home, a simple change in our behaviour can alter all this. Dogs should be taken out for their walk, as soon as they perform their “duties dog should be taken for his walk as a form of reward. Dogs must be allowed to explore, sniff but must at the same time learn that they must come when he is called. We can start this training in the home, in fact it is not training it is fun. Whenever you call a dog always bend down in a crouched position, open your legs and arms, this is a warm posture, call your dog in a soft loving voice, when he comes give him a treat of food and a cuddle. This human behaviour will encourage the dog that to come back can now be associated as rewarding and is not a threat . Now he gets a treat and cuddle. However most important is to release the dog and walk away from the pet, we now turn the tables, we walk away from him.
If your dog is walking towards you always bend down, call him in a soft voice, give him a treat and again walk away. In the horse world it is a well known fact that horses are not fed until they get back to the stables, in fact they trot all the way back for their food, this is a also a good idea to feed a dog after the walk. A good idea when going for a walk is to take a toy like a ball and get involved in games, to encourage the dog to drop the toy, offer him a treat, by doing this he must drop his ball to obtain his treat, so the ball game can continue. In one easy lesson the dog can learn to bring back the ball, drop it for a treat. Now comes the real object of the exercise, when you are cuddling your dog, put him back on his lead and carry on the walk for one minute, then let him off the lead, after a few repetitions your dog will learn that the lead is no longer a threat that this is a signal that the walk has not come to an end, in fact the lead means nothing and certainly does not indicate that he is being captured to be taken home.
So to sum up do not make the mistake of catching the dog as soon a he has carried out his duties and taking him home, his reward is the walk. Put him on and off lead as much as possible, play games and then both of you will enjoy the walk and guess what ? He will always come back !