Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Dog Poem

Found this poem today during my facebook browsing and thought it fitting for my first real post. :-) Enjoy! See my commentary afterwards.

Untitled Dog Poem

When I got my new dog I asked for strength that I might rear her perfectly; I was given weakness that I might feed her more treats.

I asked for good health that I might rest easy; I was given a "special needs" dog that I might know nurturing.

I asked for an obedient dog that I might feel proud; I was given stubbornness that I might feel humble.

I asked for compliance that I might feel masterful; I was given a clown that I might laugh.

I asked for a companion that I might not feel lonely; I was given a best friend that I would feel loved.

I got nothing I asked for,but everything that I needed.I got a dog.

From www.sheprescue.org

Getting a new dog is never what you expect it to be, but will always be better than you can imagine. When you first decide that getting a new dog is right for you, please take into consideration a few things first:

- Can I afford it? Bringing home a new dog is a lot like bringing home a baby. The initial set up cost can run you a pretty good chunk of change. You will need items like good quality food (that will be a topic for another time), a bed, food and water bowls, treats, etc, then you will need to pay for vaccines, spaying/neutering, dog training (always worth the investment!), and I would even recommend putting aside $10 a month for emergency care. People are often shocked when they find out how much an emergency x-ray, gastric lavage or sugery can cost, so don't take on the responsibility of caring for another living thing unless you can pay for their care too if something should go wrong. Pet insurance companies are also springing up like weeds and may be worth looking into. Just be sure they cover preventative care as well such as vaccines.

- Do I have time for a dog? If you think you can get a dog and keep it in the backyard and get by with just bringing it food and water every day, you would be WRONG! Dogs are pack animals and they not only need, but they crave human companionship. Dogs that are left in yards by themselves almost always develop behavior problems such as social anxiety, separation anxiety, dog/people/animal aggression, fear of change and new situations, chewing, barking, escaping, etc. The #1 most frequent thing I see dogs in my training programs for is for problems that develop due to undersocialization. Bring your dog inside and make them a part of your family pack and you significantly cut down on the number of behavior problems your dog could be at risk for. Its MUCH easier training your dog to live in your world and behave inside the house than it is to out-train behavior problems learned from living alone and neglected.

- Do I have enough space for a dog? If you live in a one-bedroom apartment, getting a great dane might not be the best idea for you. Dogs need to have a space to call their own. Since dogs are denning animals, a crate can provide them with a room to call their own. Space isn't that big of a consideration if you will be a single-dog household, but if you have more than one dog ask yourself if your dog will tolerate another dog on their turf. Territory disputes are amplified when there is not enough space to go around, so know your limits for yourself and for your dog. 

- Is my family/roommate/significant other okay with getting a dog? Raising a dog is a group effort. If not every member of the household adheres to the training regimen, dogs get mixed messages and have a harder time learning their role in the pack and what is expected of them. Be sure to make a decision as big as bringing home a new family member a family decision.

- What breed is right for my personality and my lifestyle? This is HUGE! Before you get a dog you should always research the breeds that interest you first! If you don't, you could be setting yourself up for failure before you even get your dog. Common scenarios I see include: when very meek people get breeds that are known to be stubborn or bully breeds who prove to be a challenge for them to train, stronger/louder personalities getting very shy dogs who may potentially develop fear or socialization problems, smaller framed people who get dogs that are too big or strong for them to handle, or quiet people who get breeds that are too energetic for them. Know the breed that you are getting yourself into and ask yourself if you can meet all of their energy, temperament, grooming, training and socialization requirements.

Getting a new dog is a fun and exciting time in a new pet owners life, but always be prepared. If you aren't, well don't worry, I'm always here to help! :-) 

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