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Starting Off On The Right Paw


DOG1I wanted to share an article by one of our readers Matthew.

A great companion and friend, a dog can be these things and more in your life. Think of yourself as a new parent. There are numerous things you will need to learn, organize and buy. A dog is much more than just a thing like a new bike or television set. He/she is a living, breathing creature that you will have as a life companion and friend for as many as 7 to 18 years depending on the breed you have chosen.

Let’s start at the beginning: when choosing a dog I strongly recommend doing a little research first. This can be as easy as doing a Google search. Do you want a big or small dog? Things to remember, how big is your home or apartment? If you rent, does the landlord allow dogs? Does your backyard have a good fence? If you do not have room or live in a small space, a large breed is not the best choice. The larger the dog, the shorter the life span; this is generally a true statement.

We all see how cute puppies can be in the window of a pet shop or on television. Cute is great, but this little dog is going to be grown to full size in less than a year. Are you looking after the dog by yourself? Or is this a family dog, where everyone helps to take care and walk the dog? A dog is a great way for children to learn responsibility and the importance of taking care of something. For a family with small children learn what type of temperament the dog you are looking at will have. There are just some breeds that do not interact well with small children.

My family has had a dog or dogs for most of my life. My parents held off getting a dog until I was old enough to take some responsibility in caring for and raising her. Our first dog was a Husky. She was a very spirited dog and needed a strong lead and anchor to keep her from running off. If you search Siberian Husky, these are incredibly powerful and spirited dog’s. A number of years later the next puppy we got was a Golden Lab. This little ball of energy was able to run and be free and never traveled too far from where we were.

When I was on my own and just moving into my first home, a friend’s parent had a new litter of puppies. He offered the runt of the litter for half price. I knew that often the runt was the best choice. The thing was, I had a different picture in my head. He said Beagle, but for some reason I had a vision of a Jack Russell. On a side note, do not let a friend name your dog for you. I decided to call this little rambunctious Beagle Daisey. Only later did I find I had spelt it incorrectly. At first I thought I could let her run free and expect her to come when I called. Beagles by nature are hunting dogs, they trail animals and after several incidents of having to retrieve her from very far distances. I tried building her a kennel and doghouse. She would not have any of it. She found a way to wedge herself between a post and the wall and walk herself up the wall and over the fence. The final solution was a zip-line on a steel cable.

DOGOnce I met my wife, I knew I had the right dog. Daisey my little girl Beagle was a perfect match for Catherine’s little boy Beagle, Rocky. Even being the same breed, they had different temperaments. He was very protective and aggressive. Daisey was good-natured and accepted most anyone. We laugh about it now, but having a little cute Beagle really gave me some extra points in Catherine’s eyes during our early dating stage.

What I hope to impart with what I have shared, is the need to think through the process of choosing not just a dog, but also the right dog for you, your home and your family. Do not just limit your search to cute puppies. You might find that a grown dog is the right choice for your situation. One of the first and obvious benefits is the avoidance of bathroom training a puppy. The second and more rewarding point is that you can give a needed home to a rescue dog from a local shelter. A rescue dog can be just as good a partner and friend as a puppy.

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