Friday, July 3, 2009

Surviving Dog Ownership

Surviving Dog ownership is all in the hands of the owner. Dogs can be molded and re-taught, bad habits are easy to get rid of in a dog; in a person...not so easy. One thing that irritates me is the off handed manner people go about deciding on dog ownership or any pet for that matter.

The first step to surviving ownership is figuring out if you should even have a dog. There are people in my community who buy a dog, ignore it for a few months decide it is a pain in the ass and get rid of it. I want to throw a bag a flaming dog poop on these people’s front porches.

Of course your dog is a maniac you keep it locked in a crate all day and then chain it in the yard when you get home.

Of course you dog is going to pee and poop in your house if you have to initiate WWIII every time someone has to take the dog for a walk (not me, I did it last, not my dog). I would love to lock that person in a cage for a day and watch them plead to use the bathroom…do you see now you knuckle head, your dog is a living creature that needs to empty on a REGULAR SCHEDULE?

Of course house training a dog takes time and patience but anyone will soil themselves if you don’t give them the opportunity to go the right way.

There is a couple in my community that has gone through three dogs in the last year. That dog won’t stop barking, this dog pees on the carpet, that dog nips…I think it is the owner…not the dog. Here is a news update to them, you shouldn’t own a dog.

Owning a dog is a commitment, seriously, this is not a joke. You are promising that animal that you will take care of all of its needs even if it inconveniences you at that particular moment. There is no drop everything and go away for three days to Las Vegas…you need to plan for the dog and who will take care of it. If you want a dog, think LONG and hard about it before you do.

Now that all that negative nonsense is out of the way I will be the first to tell you owning a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. That dog will look at you like you are God; the universe revolves around the two of you and only you two. The dog will never stand in judgment of you and will give its affection to you unconditionally. The dog does not care if you are Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, when you open that door after murdering a group of pot smoking teens stranded on your property while they were traveling cross country, the dog will be there ready to show you how much he/she missed you.

To own a dog you must have patience, dogs are VERY teachable but it takes repetition and more importantly CONSISTENTCY. You and your family need to decide on the vocabulary you will be using with the dog. The words and phrases should be short and easily identifiable for the dog. Once that is decided upon STICK TO THOSE WORDS. Dogs will listen for key works but if you change the words or the way you ask they learn to associate your speaking as something they can ignore because it is nonsense.

Use words like:
Good boy (or girl)
Leave it
Drop it

If you want the dog to stay and you use the word “Stay” and your wife uses “Wait” your dog will most likely be confused and not respond correctly to any of the commands.

Use food to teach them initially but then wean them from the food reward and move to strictly praise. They should want to please you and believe it or not most dogs really do want to please you.

We treat our two dogs like family, they can do and go wherever they want in the house but if you can set some rules if you like. Make sure you consistently enforce them though otherwise more confusion. If you don’t want them on the couch make sure you always shoo them off the couch if they happen to jump up there.

Lastly play with your dog, they enjoy the interaction and you will keep them interested and more importantly tired so they sleep well and respond favorably to your commands. Dogs with pent up energy are harder to control and also don’t have that mental peace that dogs need to be happy.

Owning a dog is a lot of work but I would not give up my two for the world. They add richness and joy to our lives. They keep us thinking and they keep us moving. It is a win-win relationship as far as we are ALL concerned.

...that is all.

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  1. Great post Flea. I hate to see dogs that people get and don't take care of them.

    Kentucky Preppers Network

  2. All pets should be treated with the same respect we expect from them!

    In my opinion, people that raise dogs for fighting should be jailed with the pedophiles for long, long time!

    I do want a dog, but I don't think it's fair for me to get one right now while I'm in the city! Now, when I make the move...then I can get oe as a friend and member of my tribe!

    Good post!

  3. Great post. I want a dog so badly, but it would be cruel to shut him up in an apartment. Did all sorts of "breed tests" to see what was compatible with my lifestyle, energy, needs, wants, etc. and they all came up with Boxer. ::sigh:: Someday...

  4. Excellent post. As my former dog trainer used to say, it's all in the follow through.

  5. Jim,

    Vick got off easy in my opinion. Dog fighting is a disgrace if you ask me and those people should be put and cage and forced to fight to the death with each other!


    There are dogs that do very vell in apartment settings...don't give up. If you are willing to put in the time and love you should get yourself a dog.


    Your former dog trainer is spot on. They can teach you but you need to follow through or nothing will work.

  6. I'd also stress that once you have thoughtfully decided to get a dog do some research and get a breed that will fit with your temperment, family and activity level. My sister has helped rescue several dogs from different owners where the dog breed was choosen by looks (Weinmeraner) which is just about as wrong as not thinking the commitment through. Vegans can marry Atkin's Diet but it isn't going to be easy - same with some breeds.
    Unfortunately animals have become as disposable as most everything else in life.

  7. Flea my man,

    This Osterholt clown, still hasn't learned his lessons. He ripped this post of yours yesterday.

    Its at:

    The Mark Osterholt Files has tons of information on this lowlife, as does

    The SOB is pissing me off...
    The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

  8. We got a little dog (a Bichon-Poo) two months ago. I am convinced that a dog is a great survival tool. Our little 10 pounder is a great sentry - she is quick to wake up and bark when any of us approach in the middle of the night. Stick with the simple commands; stick with the training regimen, and all will be fine.

    One issue with the article - for people who work during the day, it is OK to crate your dog. Dogs used to live in caves, and they actually do not mind the close quarters and seclusion. In fact, many experts say that they take great comfort in it. (Just be cool and try to keep this at a minimum; give them their attention when you get home, etc.)