The Rottweiler Club wishes our members a very Merry Christmas and the Best of Luck for the New Year.
We have a guest blog this month, Jessica Brody from http://www.ourbestfriends.pet/ Jessica has written a piece on how to choose a dog to suit your lifestyle and how to prepare for a new dog to join your family. Enjoy!
Preparing for Your First Dog
For many people, a family doesn’t feel whole without a dog. But if you’re itching to add a dog to your household, you shouldn’t drive to the shelter just yet. By preparing before you bring your dog home, you can create a more pleasant transition for everyone.
Choosing the Right Dog for You
Not all dogs are the same — far from it! Dogs vary widely in their personalities, energy levels and grooming needs. It’s important to understand why you want a dog as well as your ability to care for one. That way, you can choose one that suits your wants and your lifestyle.
Dogs bred as working animals tend to be independent and energetic. They’re good fits for active families who don’t prioritise a snuggle buddy. Dogs bred for companionship, on the other hand, are happy to lounge on the couch as long as they get a little exercise each day. Meeting the dog you’re interested in is the best way to get a feel for its personality, but be aware that a dog that appears fearful in a shelter environment may be happy-go-lucky in a home.
Some people want a dog for therapeutic reasons. Dogs make excellent emotional support issues for people dealing with mental health issues. They’re increasingly popular with people in addiction recovery, as dogs provide non-judgemental support, healthy distraction and a sense of purpose through the recovery process. Before getting a dog to help cope with a mental health issue, make sure you’re able to care for your pet long-term.
Preparing Your Home for a Dog
To help your dog be comfortable in his new home, set up all the gear your dog needs before bringing him home. For the first week or two, keep your dog in a quiet, secluded area to reduce anxiety and misbehaviour related to being in a new environment. Create a puppy-proofed nook with a dog bed, food and water dishes, treats and toys. If you’re adopting an older pup, you may need to make a few changes around the house, such as building a ramp at your entrance or adding non-slip treads on stairs.
As tempting as it is, avoid overwhelming your dog with attention at first. Instead, start with brief but positive interactions and increase your dog’s integration into the family as he grows comfortable. This also gives you an opportunity to identify problem behaviours like chewing before giving the dog access to your entire home. Of course accidents will happen occasionally, so make sure you have the right cleaning supplies to remove odours and stains.
Finding a Veterinarian
Dogs can’t communicate health problems to humans, so it’s important for owners to develop a relationship with a veterinarian. When the same vet sees your dog repeatedly, they understand his normal disposition and can recognise when something is wrong. Having a relationship with a veterinarian also helps you avoid high emergency vet fees if your pet suddenly falls ill.
Once you’ve found a vet you’re comfortable with, schedule an appointment for a check-up and any needed booster vaccinations. If your pet isn’t yet spayed or neutered, schedule the surgery at this time.
Training Your New Dog
Whether adopting a puppy or an adult dog, expect to spend time training your new pet. Even a dog with previous training will need guidance to learn how to behave in his new home. If possible, take a few days off work so you can work on house training and basic obedience commands like sit, come, and stay. If you find that your dog has bad habits you’re unable to break, or he’s not picking up on commands as quickly as you’d like, turn to professional training. Professional dog trainers understand canine behaviour and have the experience to turn your new pet into a well-behaved family member.
There’s a reason dogs are known as man’s best friend. Dogs are loyal companions, enthusiastic playmates, and nonjudgmental listeners all in one furry package. But if you head into pet ownership without a plan, you could be setting yourself up for a struggle. For a better adoption experience, give thought to these four items before taking the plunge into pet ownership.