There is a reason why they say dogs are man's best friend; nothing beats coming home to a wagging tail and friendly face. Prior to dog ownership, it is important to understand the responsibilities that coincide with being a canine owner.
Before choosing a breed of dog, it is important to recognize: the affect a dog's size will have on your personal space; how much attention and exercise a dog requires; the coat type in regards to the grooming needed for some breeds and or shedding; costs associated with owning a dog, including veterinarian expenses and food; and the potential that residents within the home may be allergic to certain breeds.
The average lifespan for dogs is between 8 and 16 years. During their lifetimes, dogs will require breed-specific grooming, including nail-trimming and bathing, which should be routinely performed throughout the year. Also, in most cities, some pets are required to be licensed and must follow the specific requirements in order to be certified, typically regarding vaccination and their temperament. Be sure to check with local government agencies about their particular requirements, prior to getting your dog.
Supplies a new dog owner will need :
Selecting the right breed When selecting your new dog, its breed will play a large role in the dog's temperament and needs. The following CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) groups give information about each classification:
- Collar with ID tags
- Dog bed
- Food bowl (Metal aluminum is preferred to avoid bacterial build-up)
- Water bowl
- Dog Toys (Please speak to your veterinarian for safe toy options for your pet)
- Dog toothbrush
- Dog toothpaste (Human toothpaste contains fluoride which is highly toxic for dogs)
- Nail Clippers
- Dog brush (different styles for different hair types)
- Training crate
Herding Group such as Australian Shepherds, Border Collies and German Shepherds possess the ability to control other animals and are often used on farms to round up livestock. These dogs are very easy to train and will often herd people or children if other animals are not present due to their high energy levels. They make great family dogs.
Hound Group such as Greyhounds, Beagles and Basset Hounds are skilled at hunting because of their remarkable scenting abilities. They have great stamina and can run long distances. The thrill of the chase is in their DNA.
Non-sporting Group such as Chow Chows, Bulldogs and Dalmatians have varied personalities but are generally strong dogs. Not as active as the sporting group.
Sporting Group such as Gold retrievers, American Cocker Spaniel and Irish Setters are instinctively active and highly alert since their ancestors were bread to find, flush-out and retrieve their preys . Skilled at finding game in water, woods, or bushes. Ideal for hunting. Require daily, high-energy exercise.
Terrier Group such as West Highland White Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers and Airedale Terriers have a large amount of energy and are quite aggressive. Require a strong-willed owner to properly train them and keep them in line. They have the urge to dig, so if you wish to have a garden, you may want to consider a hanging garden!
Toy Group such as Chihuahuas, Malteses and Pugs are small in size and are perfect for families living in tight spaces. They will capture your heart with their charming wits.
Working Group such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, Boxers and Alaskan Malamutes are generally used for pulling sleds, executing water rescue, or guarding an owner's property. Highly intelligent and are fast-learners. Most are large to very large in size which should be taken into consideration by potential owners.
What do dogs eat
- Commercial Dog Food (Contact your veterinarian for his or her professional nutritional opinion)
- Homemade Dog Food (Contact a canine nutritionist before feeding your dog a homemade diet)
- Vegetarian and Vegan Diets (Contact a canine nutritionist before feeding your dog a vegetarian or vegan diet)
Foods that are dangerous
- Baby Food
- Candy and Gum
- Uncooked Eggs and Fish
- Grapes and raisins
Common dog behaviors
A dog's temperament is genetic; dogs have a fixed personality based on their breed. Because of this, it is very important to fully understand a breed's temperament, activity levels and trainability before purchasing a particular dog. With training, a dog's temperament can be altered, but they will still be inclined to revert back to their innate disposition. When purchasing an older dog or adopting one from a shelter, consider the dog's behavioral characteristics and be sure they coincide with your lifestyle.
Dogs communicate similarly and have several gestures that have very specific meaning:
Barking : dogs bark to alarm an owner of a present threat or to scare away the menace. A dog may also bark when they are scared, angry, anxious or excited.
Biting : like barking, biting is a form of communicating with a human or other animals. Dogs bite when they are nervous, scared, or angry.
Chewing : it is normal for puppies to chew through anything and everything. Puppies chew to relieve the pain of incoming adult teeth. Chewing beyond the puppy phase can indicate separation anxiety.
Digging : most dogs dig to hide food. On occasion, they will be uncovering hidden food, usually small game such as rodents or rabbits. A dog may also dig to uncover a cool surface of dirt on which they want to lay.
Jumping : when a dog jumps up on a human, it's an attempt to proclaim their dominance. Discouraging this behavior affirms a pet owner as the boss.
Panting : dogs sweat very differently than humans. Heat is released through their feet and by panting; panting also helps a warm dog regulate their body temperature.
As with any pet, prior research and understanding of a pet's needs ensures a happy life together.