YOUR DOG IS A FRIEND, NOT A TOY
Dr. Lee helps you care for your dog with easy but important advice starting with the dog’s place and space in your home, and advice on feeding your new dog.
CARING FOR YOUR NEW DOG
I counsel young people on TV and in person so I know how important your private space is to you. Well it is just as important to your new pet also. Dogs like to feel that they belong and to help that feeling of belonging, you have to let them know that they have a space of their own.
So, with the help of your mom and dad, lets look for a good spot to put the bed for the new dog. This is something that you should decide now and hopefully, whatever the family agrees on now, it is going to stay in the same place all of the time. It would be confusing to the new dog if you kept moving his bed. Just as you like your own room and you wouldn’t like it if everyday it was in a different place, neither will your dog. Is that place going to be in your bedroom? Or is it going to be in a spare room? Maybe the porch or laundry room (never in the bathroom!) so here are some things to consider.
1. The dog's place should be a place where it will be warm in cold weather, but cool in hot weather.
2. His space will need with plenty of ventilation.
3. It should be a place that is easy for the dog to find, so he can go there when he wants to be alone or to take a nap.
4. It should be a place that will be quiet and secure to the dog.
5. It should be a place that will be easy for you to keep clean.
O.K. now that we have found just the right spot for the new puppy, let’s look at some do’s and don’ts about that special place.
1. Never send the puppy there to discipline them. After all, you don’t want them to fear his own space. Remember, it is supposed to be a place where the dog feels secure.
2. Don’t put their food where the dog's bed is. No water there either unless he is sick, and that is something entirely different, and we will cover that later.
3. Do make sure that the dog's bed has a special cover over the mattress so that it is easy to wash. Brush or vacuum it really well to cut down on the hair. Right, with all dogs there will be hair. It will also make flea control much easier, not to mention the odor. If you keep a puppy clean and healthy, it never smell bad. In fact dogs have a nice warm smell that only comes from a puppy. It is very special.
4. Make sure that you put that new, safe sleeping toy in the bed for your new dog. This to help him feel secure at night when you’re not there.
Now let’s talk about when and where to feed the dog.
1. Never, never feed them at the table where you eat, or when you eat. If you start this when they are young and you think it is cute, you will train them to beg for the rest of their lives. And that is not cute in an adult dog. It also will lead to a fat dog and being overweight can cause health problems just like in humans. So, it might be best to feed the dog in the kitchen before you sit down to eat. That way, puppy has a full tummy and you won’t feel so guilty when you say, with love, but firmly, “NO!” if he tries to beg and it must be reinforced every single time he ties to mooch food from you.
2. We already talked about the type of dishes to get for your dog but just to quickly cover it again, make sure that they are large enough for the breed that you are getting, and that the food or water bowl is easy to wash. Just as you wash your dishes every time you eat, or glasses every time you drink, the same should be done with the dishes for the puppy. At least once a day, the water bowl should be emptied and washed out thoroughly with hot water and soap, and then rinsed out with clear water, to make sure there is no soap residue left that might upset the puppy’s tummy. I recommend that filtered or distilled water be used because dogs drink a lot of water (and no soda!) so the chemicals that are in the city water supply could cause health problems for your puppy.
3. Now you have to decide where your puppy is going to go to the bathroom. If you have a home of your own, with a back yard, then I recommend that you take the puppy to out the same spot every time he eats a meal so he can have a bowel movement or urinate. This will train your dog to use the same area all of the time and make your clean up job much easier. This clean up job should be done daily. This keeps the flies at a minimum, not to mention the odor. Not only is this for health reasons for you, your family, and your dog, but in consideration of your neighbors.
If however, you have to walk your puppy for it to empty out, get a “pooper scooper.” They have all kinds on the market, and you can pick the type that is the easiest for you to use. But by all means, do pick up their solid waste (okay call it poop) because it is good dog owner manners and considerate of your neighbors.
If you haven't gotten your dog yet, I know by now you have decided on the Humane Society, a Rescue Adoption Organization, or found a really caring and capable dog breeder. You have decided on the breed of dog that you want and when you get to where you are going to pick up your puppy/dog, ASK QUESTIONS.
1. What is the background of the animal? If it is a rescue, the information may be limited, but get as much as you can. This not only shows that you are really interested in the welfare of the animal but that you are responsible. Any health information will be important when you visit your veterinarian as soon as you can make an appointment like all good dog owners do.
2. In most cases the animal has already been spayed or neutered, but if not, you will more than likely have to sign a document that states you will have this done in a certain amount of time. Please understand that it is done for the welfare of the animal. This is a topic that we will cover later in another column.
3. Parents will have found out if the animal is good with children. Even if you don’t have children as yet, this is important information in the event that you have relatives or friends with children who will visit you in your home. Remember, that even the most passive dogs can become protective of their territory. If you know in advance that this particular dog doesn’t like children, you can save yourself a lot of worry and the pain of potential dog bites.
4. Ask if the dog is good with OTHER animals, i.e., cats, other dogs, etc.
5. Any problem behavior? You may want the dog anyway even if it has a problem. It could be with a little attention and training, that you can correct the problem. However, it is better to know up front, rather than after you get home and discover that one end of your sofa disappeared overnight.
6. Is there anything peculiar to this specific breed that you should know?
7. Is the dog house-broken, (doesn’t potty indoors).
8. How do you go about grooming this particular breed and how often?
I think that this will cover the things that you need to know beforehand. The rest can be your own special adventure. Puppy in tow, you head for the car and home sweet home. You have just started the most rewarding, loving, wonderful adventure of your life.
I hope this has helped you sort out the basics. Click if you missed whether to Buy Or Adopt A Dog and Choosing The Right Dog has good tips even if you already have your new dog. And just in case you need some help, here is Housebreaking Puppy...
Thought to remember: “The most precious gift one can give to another, is the gift of love.”
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