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Dogs are wonderful animals with the capacity to be perfect companions, dogs are nevertheless not for everyone and there are things you need to think about before you add a dog to your home.
They’re everywhere, those wonderful four-legged animals affectionately known as ‘Man’s Best Friend.’ With their hairy faces, ready kisses, and eyes that range from soulful to mischievous, they may seem like the perfect companion. And, for many people, they are. But before making the momentous decision of whether or not to add a dog to your home, consider the following:
Before you add a dog to your home, have you considered…
Is a Dog Really Wanted?
Dogs get lonely. Dogs get bored. Sometimes they need to be entertained or distracted. There will be messes (from both ends) to clean up, especially during the puppy phase.
Carpets, shoes, tissue paper, furniture legs – even walls and doorknobs, sometimes –are all possible ‘chew toys’ until that particular stage is outgrown, coupled with the dog being taught proper house etiquette. Dogs, like humans, need their nails clipped. Need their teeth brushed. They need their hair combed and their ‘doctor’ visits.
If a great vacuum cleaner is not already a household appliance, it will need to be, and even then, all the dog hair will not be eliminated from the sofas, the chairs, the floors, the blankets, and the air.
A Dog is Not a Child, But…
Dogs, like children, go through the growing stages of baby, teenager, and adulthood. The ‘baby’ and ‘teen’ stages are crucial in a dog’s development and will determine what kind of an adult he or she will be. An owner needs to be prepared to guide the dog emotionally and behaviorally through these stages in order for the animal to reach its greatest potential.
Dogs need to be disciplined gently but firmly. They need to be praised and rewarded. They need to be extensively socialised with other animals, people, and things (loud and/ or unfamiliar noises, for example.) In short, dogs take a lot of work. Although dogs are not children, having one entails some strikingly similar responsibilities.
Dogs are Social
Dogs are social creatures. Even the most independent should not be left at home alone at all hours of the day. Those that are often developing destructive habits in order to relieve anxiety and/ or boredom. Although crate training is an effective way to temporarily curb these habits (and provides the dog with its own ‘safe’ zone,) a dog crate should not be used for excessively long periods of time.
Dogs are Unique
Another thing to be aware of is that different breeds have different characteristics. A golden retriever, for example, is different from a cocker spaniel not only in looks and size but also in character and behaviour traits. In addition, each individual within a breed is unique, with his or her own quirks and habits.
Before making the decision to bring home a dog, consider the reason behind it. If the desire is for a dog that will guard the home and be good with children, then a medium-large to a giant dog would be ideal.
Some of these larger breeds are gentle giants and are, in reality, mainly a deterrent to unwanted house ‘visitors’ because of their size rather than temperament. Others will truly defend their home and loved ones in times of need but are extremely gentle and affectionate otherwise. Careful research is needed to find the perfect fit.
If, on the other hand, a lap companion is wanted, then a teacup to the medium-small dog would obviously be an ideal size. But there again, each breed is different. Some are more aloof with strangers, others are yappy, and still, others are happy to cuddle bugs.
A Cherished Friend
Dogs make a wonderful addition to a household. Loyal and forgiving, they ask for nothing more than a place to sleep, a bowl of food, and to be included as an active member of the family. They love unconditionally but need adequate emotional and physical support to become the best they can be, and they depend on their owners for achieving this.