Dog’s Eye View: My Christmas wish list
My last article, “Eyes Wide Open,” offered tips about gathering information before choosing to get a dog. This article arrived in my mailbox with so much great information I wanted to share. The author, Dr. Nancy Kay, DVM, writes a blog I subscribe to. I also have both her books in my library.
Eight questions to ask yourself before getting a dog:
• Is there enough time to care for a dog? It’s very important that caring for a new dog becomes a top priority.
• Are there adequate financial resources? Responsibly caring for a dog requires a significant financial commitment.
• Will there be a commitment to training? Behavioral issues are the most common cause of the demise of a new relationship with a dog.
• Is the living situation suitable? If you or the person receiving your gift is a renter, double check with the landlord for breed or size restrictions. While a fenced yard is not an absolute must, it certainly makes life a whole lot easier and ensures the dog’s safety when outdoors unsupervised.
• Is there buy-in from everyone in the household? In an ideal world, every dog would be adopted into a forever home. Bringing a new dog into a household in which there isn’t buy-in from everyone living there is a recipe for significant discord and has the potential to turn a forever home into a temporary foster home.
• Are there children in the household? Youngsters are not capable of providing the consistent training and reinforcement a puppy needs.
• Are other pets involved? It can be difficult to predict how a new dog will fit in with already established pets.
• Will there be a move in the near future? If relocation is in the forecast due to work or other life circumstances, is there certainty that the new situation will allow for dogs? If not, it might be best to postpone adoption until the living situation is more permanent.
Thank you, Dr. Kay, for inspiring this article. The bottom line is to be mindful and think through, from beginning to end, just what changes need to take place to make this new or surprise arrival successful. The dog always pays the price for insufficient human attention.
My Christmas wishes are as follows.
• All puppies stay in their forever homes.
• Humans appreciate and hold dear the effect of a loving relationship with a companion animal.
• Communication, training and bonding become a guide for successful dog adoption.
• Breeders provided early neonatal stimulation and socialization prior to sending puppies into well screen families.
• Humans understand that learning cannot take place in the face of fear. Training should be teaching not punishing.
• All dogs deserve mental enrichment and the opportunity to learn. Let’s make that happen through education.
• Don’t believe everything you see on TV or the internet. Anybody can hang out a shingle claiming professional services.
• Choose a trainer who keep on learning through continuing education, current research and well-founded independent scientific studies.
What’s on your wish list?
Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with more than 25 years of experience. She has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, as well as Certified Nose Work Instructor through the National Association of Canine Scent Work. She owns Total Teamwork Training LLC here in Northwest Colorado.
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