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)
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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