While you're making the decision to get a dog, it helps make the decision a bit easier if you can compile a list of what you'd like or not like in a dog:
Choosing the Right Dog for You
The selection of available canine companions can overwhelm you! Man's best friends come in all shapes, sizes, and—of course—personalities.
While almost any dog can make a wonderful, lifelong companion for you and your family, some of those bundles of energy will make less appropriate pets for you than others. The key is knowing what to look for. Here are a few things to think about:
What's your lifestyle?
Choosing the right dog generally means identifying the type of animal who matches your lifestyle. If you live alone in a small, third-floor apartment, for instance, adopting a large, active retriever-mix might not be the best choice. Conversely, if you have a family of four and are looking for a companion to match your active lifestyle, such an animal may be perfect. A dog's size, exercise requirements, friendliness, assertiveness, and compatibility with children should all figure into your decision.
Breeds and mixes
How do you find out which dogs have the qualities you're looking for? Information is the key: learn about various breeds by reading some dog breed books, talk with your acquaintances who have dogs, talk it over with your veterinarian (or if you don't already have a veterinarian, most vets would gladly listen to your questions), visit with animals at the local shelter, and speak with an adoption counselor at the shelter for guidance.
Dogs fall into one of two categories: purebreds or mixed breeds. Most animal shelters have plenty of both. The only significant difference between the two is that purebreds, because their parents and other ancestors are all members of the same breed, are similar to a specific "breed standard." This means that if you adopt a purebred puppy, you have a good chance of knowing about how big he'll get and what general physical and behavioral characteristics he'll have.
Of course, the size, appearance, and temperament of most mixed breed dogs can be predicted as well. After all, mixed breeds are simply combinations of different breeds. So if you know the ancestry of a particular mixed-breed puppy or can identify what type of dog he is (e.g., terrier mix), you have a good chance of knowing how he'll turn out, too.
Mixed breeds offer several advantages over purebreds. When you adopt a mixed breed, you benefit from the combined traits of two or more breeds. You also get a dog who's likely to be free of genetic defects common to certain purebred dogs. Mixed breeds, in fact, are often considered the more "natural" dog. When you adopt a mixed breed, you adopt a unique companion.
Visit with shelter animals
If you are able to visit a shelter, keep in mind that it is a stressful place for any animal. Quite often, a dog's true colors won't show until he's away from other animals and the shelter environment. So even if you walk past a kennel with a dog who isn't vying for your attention, don't count him out. He may just be a little scared or lonely.
An adoption counselor can help you select canines who will match your lifestyle. When you spend time with each animal, consider the following questions:
Most dogs can provide you with boundless love and companionship, and every dog certainly deserves a lifelong home. But some dogs are better for you and your lifestyle than others. That's why you should take the time to make a thoughtful choice. After all, you're choosing a pal likely to be with you 10 to 15 years—or even longer. Select the right dog, and you and your new companion will enjoy those years to the fullest.
Adapted from: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/choosing_dog.html
Once you've made your selection, it's time to take the new dog home. As simple as that might sound, there are several considerations to remember
Bringing Your New Dog Home
The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being patient. It can take anywhere from two days to two months for you and your pet to adjust to each other. The following tips can help ensure a smooth transition.
Prepare the things your dog will need in advance. You'll need a collar and leash, food and water bowls, food, and, of course, some toys. And don't forget to order an identification tag right away.
Try to arrange the arrival of your new dog for a weekend or when you can be home for a few days. Get to know each other and spend some quality time together. Don't forget the jealousy factor—make sure you don't neglect other pets and people in your household!
Animal shelters take in animals with widely varying backgrounds, some of whom have not been previously vaccinated. Inevitably, despite the best efforts of shelter workers, viruses can be spread and may occasionally go home with adopted animals. If you already have dogs or cats at home, make sure they are up-to-date on their shots and in good general health before introducing your new pet dog.
Take your new dog to the veterinarian within a week after adoption. There, the dog will receive a health check and any needed vaccinations. If your dog has not been spayed or neutered, make that appointment! There are already far too many homeless puppies and dogs; don't let your new pet add to the problem. Most likely, the shelter will require that you have your pet spayed or neutered anyway. If you need more information about why it is so important to spay or neuter your dog, read our online information on spaying and neutering.
Work out your dog-care regimen in advance among the human members of your household. Who will walk the dog first thing in the morning? Who will feed him at night? Will Fido be allowed on the couch, or won't he? Where will he rest at night? Are there any rooms in the house that are off-limits?
Training and discipline
Dogs need order. Let your pet know from the start who is the boss. When you catch him doing something he shouldn't, don't lose your cool. Stay calm, and let him know immediately, in a loud and disapproving voice, that he has misbehaved. Reward him with praise when he does well, too! Sign up for a local dog obedience class, and you'll learn what a joy it is to have a well-trained dog.
Assume your new dog is not house-trained, and work from there. Be consistent, and maintain a routine. A little extra effort on your part to come home straight from work each day will pay off in easier, faster house-training.
A crate may look to you like the canine equivalent of a jail cell, but to your dog, who instinctively likes to den, it's a room of his own. It makes house-training and obedience-training easier and saves your dog from the headache of being yelled at unnecessarily for problem behavior. Of course, you won't want to crate your dog all day or all night, or he will consider it a jail cell. Just a few, regular hours a day should be sufficient.
The crate should not contain wire where his collar or paws can get caught, and should be roomy enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably in normal posture.
If a crate isn't an option, consider some sort of confinement to a dog-proofed part of your home. A portion of the kitchen or family room can serve the purpose very well. (A baby gate works perfectly.)
Let the games begin
Dogs need an active life. That means you should plan plenty of exercise and game time for your pet. Enjoy jogging or Frisbee? You can bet your dog will, too. If running around the park is too energetic for your taste, try throwing a ball or a stick, or just going for a long walk together. When you take a drive in the country or visit family and friends, bring your dog and a leash along.
A friend for life
Finally, be reasonable in your expectations. Life with you is a different experience for your new companion, so give him time to adjust. You'll soon find out that you've made a friend for life. No one will ever greet you with as much enthusiasm or provide you with as much unqualified love and loyalty as your dog will. Be patient, and you will be amply rewarded.
Adapted from: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/bringing_new_dog_home.html
Obviously, Holly was well-prepared for her arrival home with her new pup. Helpful Buckeye knows you're already looking forward to the section on introducing your new dog to your household. When Holly has accumulated enough to write about that, we'll address that topic for you.
Ohio State's basketball team, still ranked in the top 5, played #20 Michigan today in Columbus. Being tied with Michigan and Michigan State for the Big 10 Conference lead, we needed to get some separation from those guys. The Buckeyes broke open a close game in the 2nd half to win convincingly by 15 points.
Helpful Buckeye is on track to total more than 400 miles on the bike for the month of January...the first month to be over 400 since May of last year. The difficult situation with Dad's deteriorating health and ultimate death, soon followed by my torn calf muscle seriously reduced my biking miles and racquetball playing. It feels great to be again pushing the pedals (as a spoke jockey) and smashing the ball around the racquetball court...I fully expect to be at 100% in both areas very soon.
Helpful Buckeye and Desperado will be spending 3 days in the Phoenix area this week, as part of our "Get To Know Arizona Better" quest. Helpful Buckeye has a lot of places lined up for the 3 days...so whatever we can't see this time can wait for the next time...and there will be plenty of next times.
In reviewing all the quotes I used over the past year, these four, taken together, really illustrate how things have been for me since May 2011 until the present time
"Midway upon the journey of my life,
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost." Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
"Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They're what make the instrument stretch -- what make you go beyond the norm." Cicely Tyson, American actress
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” J. Nehru, Prime Minister of
“Will you join me…for a roam through wonderland?” William Wallace Bass, entrepreneur in the
~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~