You and Your Dog
Owning a dog can be a rewarding, life-enriching experience. Whether you’re a first time owner or have owned dogs all your life, the more dog information you have, the better you and your dog will get along. Through the course of owning a dog, various considerations come into play, depending on the dog’s age and your purpose for having a dog.
Getting a Dog
Before you decide to get a dog, decide why you want one. Your choice of dog breed will depend greatly on whether you’re looking for a family pet, a guard dog, a working dog for the blind or a good breeder. If you have small children or other pets at home, give careful consideration to the type of dog you pick.
While Labradors and Golden Retrievers make good family pets, more aggressive dogs like Pit Bulls are better suited for guarding. Similarly, if you’re interested in breeding, then buy a purebred dog.
However, before you go to a breeder to buy a dog, consider adopting a dog from an animal shelter or humane society. Countless numbers of dogs are abandoned at shelters each year. Although some of these abandoned dogs have been abused and may require special care, others are already trained and just need a good home.
Owning a Dog
One of the primary concerns involved with owning a dog is exercise. The size of your dog will dictate how much exercise he or she needs: although bigger dogs generally require more exercise, in certain cases, a dog may have a condition that limits the amount of exercise he or she should get.
If you travel frequently, decide whether to bring your dog with you. While many dog friendly hotels welcome your pet, business travelers may have to put their dog in a kennel or hire a dog sitter during their absence.
Remember to grooming your dog every weeks especially dogs with long hair.
As a dog gets older and develops more health conditions, every owner will have to prepare for the death of his or her dog. When the time comes, you may wish to call your local humane society to see if it offers a pet loss support group. If you have a child who also is having difficulty coping with the death of your dog, you could prepare a memorial for the dog. One of the most important things to remember is that grieving is a process: the best way to get through it is to express your grief.
A dog that’s kept as a pet can also be involved in more serious activities. Purebreds can do well as competition dogs. Or, if you’re blind or disabled, then your dog may be more useful as a working dog than a family pet.