centuries dogs have proved invaluable to man in many
ways. They have been used as draught animals, warriors, sporting
companions, guide dogs, hearing aids, farm workers, guards, policemen
and soldiers among other things. But one of the main roles of the dog
in today's society is that
Thousands of people own dogs simply as household pets which provide a
welcome when we return home from an outing, a walking friend, or
childhood playmate. There are also of course many who derive pleasure
from showing dogs and entering them in obedience and agility classes.
A dog is
not judgemental, he will love and remain loyal to you
whatever you look like, whatever your mood. He is not hypocritical,
talking about you behind your back but being nice to your face. A dog
is constant. He accepts you for what you are and never lets you down.
He can comfort
when you are sad, share your happiness, and wants nothing more than to
with you, joining in with your activities. He seems to be telepathic,
knowing your mood. No one knows you better than your dog does as you
to confide in him, confessing those things that you cannot tell another
You are never alone
when you take a dog into your life. He is an
affectionate creature, always willing to please his master, but you
that he needs you as much as you need him. A dog
is a living
who must be properly cared for, not just until the novelty of his puppy
wears off, or until he chews your best training shoes, but for
at least ten years. He cannot be discarded without
he didn't quite understand you. He needs attention, physically and
every day of his life with you, whether you fell well or feel ill,
your time is limited or not. Basic training, a little discipline, a lot
understanding, good daily care, some exercise, playtimes and lots of
will turn that little rascal into a well adjusted family member. Your
trusts you and in return will remain faithful to you.
Do not think
lightly of getting a dog, particularly if you are a
first time dog owner. Consider the responsibilities, the cost and
maintainence, your environment, how much time you are able to spend
with him. Can you
afford the initial price you would pay for the dog? Vaccinations? Food?
treatment from time to time? Securing the garden so he does not stray?
classes if necessary? Is your accomodation suitable? Do all family
want a dog as much as you do? A dog in your life is your
responsibility. He must be properly cared for and loved.
Ask yourself these
questions before you decide to take a dog into
at home for most of the day?
No dog, especially a puppy should be left on his own for more than just
a few short hours a day. If you work full time and there is no one at
to check on the dog, to let him out several times, then consider
a cat instead.
afford to keep a dog?
Apart from the initial cost of your dog, which could be several hundred
pounds for a pedigree, there is also the cost of his food, kenneling at
holiday times, essential vaccinations, other vet expenses from time to
time, which can be very costly, although pet insurance schemes are
available, and if you
qualify, charity organisations such as the PDSA offer free emergency
treatment for the pets of needy owners. See the link in the left hand
margin for more information. Some breeds need regular professional
grooming which should also
be taken into consideration when adding up the cost.
have time to exercise a dog?
Happy, healthy dogs need regular exercise. A dog loves to run and
have access to fields or a park where he can chase a ball around, apart
organised walks on the lead. If your garden is large he would romp
all day , but a walk with you is still beneficial. Many toy breeds
do not require long daily walks and are quite happy on short trips or
around at home. If you cannot, due to health or other reasons exercise
dog, but still feel the need for his companionship, then consider
an older dog which might be content simply spending time with you and
need vigorous jaunts.
dog fit in with your family circumstances?
Most children and dogs get on well together, but considerations have to
be made when taking a dog into a home particularly one with young
Puppies have very sharp claws and teeth and a playful nip could
hurt a very young child. A boisterous young dog can easily knock a
over, and frighten or cause harm to the child. On the other side, young
do not always realise that a puppies are living creatures and often
them as if they were cuddly toys. Puppies can be very badly hurt, even
fractured limbs through children picking them up and dropping or even
them. Just like human babies, puppies need lots of sleep and children
be discouraged from waking the puppy, or teasing him while he's
Do all your family members want a dog in your home?
It can be
disatrous if one partner, particularly if it's the partner who spends
most time at home
with the dog, does not want a dog. The dog would be resented causing
within the family. Prospective dog ownership should be fully discussed
cope with hair, and grooming and dirt?
Long coated breeds of dog need regular daily grooming which can be very
time consuming. If you cannot provide this, then choose a short haired
breed. As already mentioned some breeds which shed little or no hair
need professional clipping or stripping which can be costly. Even if
grooming is not essential to your chosen breed, the dog will shed hair
on your carpets and furniture. It sticks to your clothing and clogs up
your washing machine. Even small short
haired dogs can shed surprising amounts of hair which is disagreeable
many people, so warn visitors that their new dark coloured
be covered in light coloured hairs by the time they leave your
If you or your partner are very houseproud people, can you cope with
the inevitable messy times that come with dogs living in your home?
Muddy pawmarks on the newly cleaned kitchen tiles, splash marks up the
walls after a dog has shaken when coming in from walkies on a rainy day
all have to be cleaned.
the Law. (U.K.)
A dog must wear a collar bearing your name and address
on a disc.
Microchipping is also becoming popular - ask your vet.
Dogs should never be turned out to exercise alone.
They can become a danger or nuisance to themselves or people.
Dogs should be on a lead at all times when walking
Many traffic accidents are caused by motorists swerving to miss a dog,
and of course there is also the danger that your dog could be run over
and killed or badly injured.
Keep your dog on a lead in the countryside when there
Every year dogs cause terrible damage to sheep and lambs and a farmer
has the right to shoot any dog on sight if it is not under proper
Clean up after your dog.
It is an offence to allow your dog to foul pavements or areas
Keep your dog under control.
Not only among livestock, but at all times
be under your control. Big dogs in particular can frighten people and
dogs. Never allow your dog to approach anyone or any other dog
It is also a good
idea to check local bye-laws concerning dogs and
dog owner responsibilities.
It's not all fun
and frolics and nursing little Foo Foo on your lap
while you watch TV in the evening. Dogs can be hard work and a
commitment for many years, but if you don't mind that, and are prepared
to take the
trouble to care for him, then you will find you have an ideal and very
So you still want a
dog? Then it's time to choose The
Dog for you.
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