Think you can’t raise a perfect dog, think again. I have two. A female German Shepherd named Heidi and her friend, a miniature long haired Dachshund male named Fritz. I love them dearly. We are a pack. And it is very clear; I am the leader of the pack. There are many factors in canine development. But if you follow these simple rules, you too can have the dog you always dreamed of.
1. Genetics: If your budget allows, find a reputable breeder. Do your homework. There are people out there that produce puppies and call themselves breeders. I think not. There is much to successful breeding. If you can, meet the parents and you should be able to get a reasonable idea of what you’re getting. If you get a dog from a shelter, make sure to spend some time with the dog or hire a canine professional to assist you in your choice.
2. Training: Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish. Hire a trainer. Again, do your homework. There are allot of good trainers out there, and allot of bad ones too.
3. Exercise: There are two forms of exercise: mental and physical. Your dog is a social animal and needs to interact with you. A good game of fetch, once a day, is worth its weight in gold.
4. Management: For the first two years of a dog’s life, their home should be a crate. If you’re not supervising the dog, they are in a crate. Reason is you have to save them from themselves. If a dog tears something up in your home, than he/she has to be reprimanded. That is a negative. If all his interaction with you is on a positive note, than you will have a better relationship with the dog.
5. Food: There are allot of dog foods out there that are junk. Again, do your homework. There are many web sites out there that rate dog food. Once more, don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish. Also educate yourself in canine nutrition. Dogs are omnivores. That means they can eat anything. I feed my dogs a varied diet of kibble, fruits and vegetables as well as ground turkey, chicken and beef.
6. Patience: Some people think that when a dog is 6 months old it is grown up. Wrong. Depending on the dog it can take up to 2 years for a dog to mature. Don’t expect adult behavior from a puppy, you’ll be disappointed. Enjoy them while they are young.
There is so much more to dog ownership. This should be fun. A dog should be an enhancement to your life and not a second job. But if you follow these rules, you too can have a perfect dog.