The cutest thing ever. Your new puppy. This is the start of a long, close relationship. You need to be prepared to make the very best of this relationship. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. While nature plays a part, nurture is very important.
As far as the nature part is concerned, there are many breeds available for a family to pick from. Every breed has many characteristics, some may be good, others bad. When picking a pet, you should consider what your perfect pet would be like and choose either a purebred or mixed breed that fits the bill. Some breeds are known couch potatoes, others will never have a quiet moment in their lives. Some will love to chase balls and catch frisbees while others are content to just roll over to have their belly rubbed. Some dogs are known as barkers and might be a problem in a multifamily environment. Others are known not to be universally friendly, either with people or other dogs.
Once you have decided on what type of dog you want, you need to find him or her. There are many sources available where one can find a dog. The Internet is a good source for finding rescue dog organizations as well as private breeders of purebred animals. I recommend going to either the shelter or the breeder’s home. At the shelter try to interact with the pets needing homes. Realize that they are under stress and try to see through that. When visiting a breeder, you should see the mother dog. It is hard to know what you are getting in a puppy; you should go with your gut feelings.
Whether you get a rescue dog or a purebred puppy the first weeks in the home are very important. Everyone in the family needs to be on the same page as to how the puppy is dealt with. Feeding and walking should be done on a schedule. Everyone should be on the lookout for the signs that your dog needs to go out. Puppies tend to move in a little circle. Older dogs go to the door and give us a signal that they have to go out. With puppies, as soon as you see their intention to go, they should be scooped up, brought outside and then heavily praised. Feeding between meals should be discouraged. Training can either be at home with family members or through a trainer or training class. It is very important to be serious about the training as this can make your dog into a canine good citizen. Bad habits can be avoided at the beginning. If they’re not dealt with then, may be ingrained for life.
In my practice I see examples of both of the above. Many of my clients get pulled down the sidewalk by dogs, big and small, who were not trained to walk calmly beside them. Some people even wind up with broken body parts as a result of falling Careful work and the right equipment may keep this from coming to pass. While not every dog is trainable, most will respond and you will have the canine companion that you always wished for.
We in the Segall family have both the feline and canine companions that make our lives very happy. Tuni’s human mother trained her very well and, when she wants to, Tuni acts like the most obedient dog ever. She was also a show dog and is a champion who was shown at the Westminster Dog Show. Oliver seems to be trained to sleep between our legs.
Work hard everyone to make your dog the best family member.
Dr. Segall can be reached Tues thru Thurs mornings at The Hudson Valley Animal Hospital, 4 Old Lake Rd Valley Cottage, NY (845) 268-0089 ex 3.