It’s a Dog’s Life

 

Bow-wow!  You’ve heard the expression sometimes you’re the dog, sometimes you’re the hydrant.  I have spent the past three weeks trying to housebreak a puppy. Meet Casey the newest addition to our clan. The housebreaking is going relatively well because I got her from a breeder who began to train her with a bell. But I’d be as “crooked as a dog’s hind leg” if I didn’t admit that I’m finding having an energetic puppy tough.  I  had more pep in my step when I got my first dog back in 1996.  She was a Scottie named Belle who died of cancer after 13 years.  I loved her like a child and needed time to grieve.  I bought that dog on an impulse in a pet store and wanted to plan ahead better this time.  I found this new dog after spending months researching breeds. I even read a book by dog expert Cesar Millan on How To Raise The Perfect Dog. I found his advice on how to be a “pack leader” helpful.  You can watch videos of him on National Geographic’s Dog Whisperer reality series.  I think picking the right breed is key.  The American Kennel Club publishes a  list of the most popular dog breeds in America.  The family-friendly Labrador Retriever has just topped the list for the 26th year in a row.

I personally like small dogs.  I picked the mini Goldendoodle – a hybrid of  two purebred breeds –  Golden Retriever and Poodle.  Goldendoodles are  known to be good with kids and hardly shed.  The popularity of this dog is obvious on my cul-de-sac where four homes have one. Casey even has a mini pupper playmate the same age one door down who is a Goldendoodle.  My only bone to pick is that Casey is a digger.

When I unexpectedly bought my first dog  I was looking in a pet shop during a school vacation with my kids. I highly advise against looking  in a pet store with your kids unless you want to come home with a pet.  The kids begged me saying, “Pretty please,” and I buckled.  It’s also how I ended up with two hamsters and a fish.  The pet store was eventually cited for serious violations.  After the store closed, a pet rescue told me that the owner bought dogs from puppy mills and that they were left in cages.  It took me over a year to get the dog housebroken and calm.   My vet says rescue dogs can be hard to train too.  
He says to only take a stray from rescues that foster first so that you know the dog can get along in a family.  Even with a breeder, the puppies are young and take work. I’m completely exhausted getting up before the crack of dawn. So if you’re dreaming of getting a dog, get some rest now.  It’s amazing how good six hours of sleep look when you’re only getting three taking the pupper out for potty breaks. They say doggos are the new cats and run the internet now, so maybe it’s time to buy a litter box and call it a night.

Heads or Tails: Picking the Right Family Dog

Any mother knows that having a puppy is like caring for a newborn baby.

 You’re lucky if you get in the shower by noon. Dogs are a lot of work.  You need the “patience of Job.”  They get into everything.

But having a dog is good for kids.  It teaches them responsibility and experts say it has health benefits too.  Before adopting a furry friend you need to make an informed decision.  No matter what the kids say, it’s your dog so you better make sure of two things – that you actually want a dog and  like the  breed the kids want.  If you don’t, dogs have incredible senses and will know if you don’t like them.  I’ve been in the process of searching for a puppy myself over the past few months and found a website that I think is very helpful.  At PetBreeds by Graphiq  you can compare breeds, read reviews, learn about ownership costs and see which breeds are good with kids and are growing in popularity.  I have also been picking the brain of several veterinarians, pet owners, and members of kennel clubs. The veterinarians I talked to all suggested the same family favorite breeds:Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever for people who want big dogs, and Poodle, Goldendoodle, or a Maltese for people who like smaller dogs. They say all of these dogs  are great with kids, tend to be gentle and are easy to train.  They also mentioned Pomeranians but did say they yelp and do need a lot of grooming.  The whole key is to find the right dog for you. In my next post I’ll show you which dog I picked and let you know how it’s going.  It’s a big commitment. The dog is going to be with you for a long time. Did you know that small dogs tend to live longer than big ones? According to the American Kennel Club the average lifespan of a small dog is 10-15 years.  Chew on that if you’re on the fence about getting a dog.  Or better yet get a fence first so your life will be easier from the start.