“Dogs are our links to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”
~~ Milan Kundera
So have you found your link to paradise? Or have finally given in to the incessant requests of your kids of having a pet? Or were you overwhelmed by the innocence in a doggie’s eyes and decided that now you want to own one? Whatever the reason might be, it is definitely good to include a furry member in your family provided that you understand the responsibilities that come with it. A dog can be a really great companion and will love you more than it loves itself. However your day might have been, there always be someone who will greet you with such affection that your stress and worries will melt away. As you have made up your mind to bring home a furry- walking ball of joy, there are a few things you must keep in mind.
10) Researching about the breed:
You might have made up your mind to adopt a particular dog which appeared in some advertisement on television or might have fallen for some pup while looking around the kennel because it was cute, or maybe that some breed of dog was a fashionable thing to own. Okay, but make sure you have researched about the breed of the dog and it doesn’t have any special need that you can’t handle. Don’t just read one book or consult a single source, consider many books and know as much as you can about the traits, behaviour, needs and all the necessary things to bring up the pup. It will only ease the task of training the pup for the two- legged members of the pack (read household).
9) Check for allergies:
Before planning to bring home the puppy of your dreams, please check that none of your family members are allergic to dogs. Also, the puppy might act as a vector for allergens. It is advisable to make your puppy go through a thorough medical check-up at the vet. In this way, both the doggie and your family will remain healthy.
8) The cost of having a pet:
Bringing home a pet is a costly affair. It will cost your money, time, attention as well as patience. Buying the essential supplies, taking the pet to the vet – for routine checkups, for spaying or neutering and for getting them vaccinated will cost you money. The new puppy will have needs similar to that of a human toddler and it will require your time, attention and care to bring it up properly. Make sure you are ready for daily care and exercise, obedience training and many years of commitment.
Though a glittery tiara and an expensive coat are optional, you must get the basics before you bring home your puppy. The essentials will include food and water bowls. It is better to have steel bowls than plastic ones because the latter tend to absorb the foodstuff and then stink. A collar with identification tag is also a must. The collar must be 2-fingers snug, neither too tight so as the puppy feels suffocated nor too loose so that the puppy won’t escape and run away. Buying a leash along with the collar for the walking, jogging and running times is also necessary. Getting a crate is also a good idea, which is roomy enough so that the pup is able to turn around comfortably, lie and sit. Grooming tools like brushes and combs will also work fine. Last but not the least, get the kid some toys too, which are non toxic and won’t lead to choking and suffocation. Also, giving a soft toy to your fury friend won’t be a good idea, as he/ she might tear it apart.
6) Health care and vaccination:
Within a week of adopting the new puppy or dog, take it to the vet and get the necessary checkups and the vaccinations done. Attention must be paid to the diet of the puppy too. Keep feeding the puppy what it was fed in the animal shelter/ kennel, might it be of low quality. Suddenly introducing a new kind of food to a puppy may cause gastrointestinal problems. Divide up the duties for your family members as to who will take the puppy for the walk, who will take it out to do its business, who will bathe it and comb its coat and so on. Also, for the first 6 to 12 weeks, you need to be by his/ her side and constantly look after the puppy; else the puppy will feel anxious or depressed. Following all this will keep the pup healthy, inside and out.
5) Getting the rest of the “pack” ready:
Make sure all the family members are ready for the arrival of this new member in the family. Before the puppy arrives in the house, make list of the duties that everyone is going to perform for the puppy, which will be his/ her resting place, the spot outside the house where he will do his business, and who will clean up after he’s done, any rooms that have to be kept out of the limits of the pup, etc. Discuss the changes that might occur in the routine of the household. It won’t be a good idea to bring a puppy in a house where there’s any child below the age of five, because it will be cumbersome to take care of both at the same time. Also, the kids might not be able to handle the pup gently all the time. So, get the pack ready before introducing the new member.
Be ready to train the dog so that it is able to adjust according to the new surroundings. It will be unhealthy to keep the pup in the crate for more than 8 hours. You’ll have to take it out for walk and play. Train him for obedience. Set similar words for commanding the pup, that the whole family will use, else the pup will get confused. Don’t punish the pup, or it will get nervous. Control him through the sharpness in voice; they need someone who can command them. Scold him when necessary and appreciate when he/she does something good.
3) Socialising a new puppy:
Dog is a pack animal and will love to interact with the people and other pets around provided he has been able to adjust in the surroundings. Introducing the pup to new people and other pets straight away won’t be a good idea as it will just make the new puppy nervous. Give him a little time to adjust. Properly introduce him in to the new territory- your home. Take him to all the rooms one by one, make him sit at the threshold and then invite him in to explore. This will be like you are telling him that it is your territory but he is allowed to live with you. Otherwise, the dog may get scared in the first place, thinking that he is intruding in your territory and may get nervous. Secondly, don’t straight away start showing affection or look him in the eyes. The dog considers it to be a threat and may bite you. Let him first establish himself in the hierarchy of the household. Otherwise he might show aggression in the future and try to dominate.
Puppy proofing your house is a good idea before welcoming the puppy in your home. Pets have the abilities to go under the beds and narrow spaces and find you things that you don’t even remember you had! The negative side to this is, they might end up chewing it and cause themselves trouble (choking, vomiting, diarrhoea etc.). For puppy proofing, you might take the help of the kids in the house. They might tell you what looks tempting from a canine’s perspective and may help clear anything from their reach that might be harmful for them. Also, keep the chemicals away from the reach of the new pet (and the children as well!). Build a fence around your garden and check the possible places from where they can escape (else the dogs will find them themselves!). Keep the implements out of its reach and check for any uncovered wires.
1) Do you need the “woof-er”? :
Many people fail to answer this most important question. Do they actually need the dog?
It should be kept in mind that the dog is also a living being and will need as much attention and care as any other living being. That will require a lot of energy and time on the owner’s part. If you are a student or your work compels you to travel very frequently, then it will be good if you settle down a bit before you bring home a puppy or any pet. If you are ready to take the responsibilities that come along with adopting the pet, you sure are worthy of having the privilege of having a friend, a companion that will surely enrich your life.