- Your dog is
going to be a member of your family for at least twelve to fourteen
years. Make sure that you pick the right dog for the right reason. Some
dog owners, unfortunately mostly men, often want to get a macho dog
because they think it reflects their own personality. Do everyone a
favour, and lighten up. Small dogs also make great pets. If you want to
be macho, go work out at the gym.
- Sometimes, people
will also buy a dog to guard their home, especially after a break in.
Our advice is to get an alarm system instead. Although there are many
reputable dog trainers out there, you should be aware that there is no
licensing or monitoring system for dog trainers. A badly trained, or a
cruelly trained guard dog is a time bomb waiting to go off. If your
guard dog bites or even kills someone, you will never forgive yourself,
and you will be visiting tragedy on someone else, your family and your
dog. You will also be leaving yourself wide open to the possibility of
criminal charges and civil lawsuits.
- There are over
one hundred and fifty breeds of dogs and even more crossbred dogs. Your
local humane society or animal shelter has lots of beautiful crossbred
dogs, which need loving homes. We don't recommend that you buy dogs
from a pet shop because humane societies and animal shelters already
have to kill too many unwanted dogs and cats.
- If you
are determined to buy a purebred dog, then visit at least four
different breeders and make sure you see the mother and father, and see
the way the dogs and puppies react to the breeder, and look at the way
the breeder treats his/her dogs. If the breeder cannot provide you with
registration papers, or says they will mail them to you, then don't buy
a dog or puppy from them.
- Please, please do not allow
your dogs or cats, whether they are purebreds or crossbreds, to have
even one litter. An estimated one million unwanted dogs and cats are
killed each year in Canada because there are simply not enough loving
homes for all of them. Even if you think you can find a home for your
puppies and kittens, that means fewer homes for someone else who has
the same idea as you.
- Be aware that some dogs are
better off living in the country, rather than in the city. If you can't
spare more than two hours (or more) every day to exercise your dog
properly, then don't get a big dog that needs a lot of exercise. Even
smaller dogs should be walked two or three times a day, for a total of
at least an hour.
- In today's fast paced world, the
most precious thing we all have in short supply is time. Most of us are
also two income families and no one is home during the daytime. Make
sure that you adopt the right dog for your family. If no one is home
during the day, then do not adopt a puppy, unless you are willing to
take at least four weeks off to train him or her.
develop their personalities between the ages of 8 - 12 weeks, and they
are very social pack animals. They need and want attention.
going to give you some hard truths, which you may not want to hear. If
you are not around to give them attention, then you are only being
selfish and thoughtless. You will not be able to train your puppy and
will wind up causing heartbreak for yourself and your puppy. You will
wind up with a beautiful six-month-old young dog, who chews, barks,
defecates, urinates or is very aggressive and anti-social, or all of
- You will break your heart, and your dog's
heart, when you decide to call it quits and give him/her up for
adoption. You also place an unfair burden on your local humane society
or animal shelter because you expect them to find a new home for your
young dog, and will blame them if your dog has to be put to sleep. The
new owner also has to undo all of your months of neglect, and retrain
- Some pet shops and breeders say that if you
work all day, then simply put the dog into a cage or a crate and train
the puppy this way. In our view, this is absolute nonsense. Puppies and
dogs are social animals and members of your family. They don't deserve
to live in a crate or a cage any more than you do. No matter how
attractive this solution seems, it is a mistake for you, your family,
and your dog.
- You may be able to adopt an older dog
that is already fully trained, but had to be given up because a person
was moving or developed allergies. Even so, be prepared to take time
off to spend with your dog for the first several weeks, until he/she
becomes accustomed to your new home.
- Spay or neuter
your dogs. This will reduce their aggression and will make them a
healthier happier pet. Another message for the macho guys out there.
Whatever your hang-ups are about having your dog neutered, get over it.
Your dog will still be a real male dog and at the same time be more
obedient and won't be out roaming after females in heat and
contributing to the pet overpopulation crisis.
your dog using rewards of food and affection and encouragement. Never
use punishment because it doesn't work and is harmful. Carefully
investigate any dog trainer and make sure he/she really knows what they
are doing. Do not send your dog away to be trained without you. You
need to be with the dog and be trained alongside him/her. Visit other
dogs the trainer has worked with.
- Make sure your dog is socialized and familiar with people, animals, and the sights and sounds of your neighbourhood.
tease or play aggressive games with your dog. How is your dog supposed
to understand when and where he/she can be aggressive or what their
limits should be?
- Be aware that when you pat your
thigh and tell your dog to jump up on your leg, you are being
submissive and encouraging your dog to dominate you. You are teaching
your dog that it is ok to be aggressive.
- Dogs chase
smaller animals because they regard them as prey. Encouraging this type
of behaviour teaches your dog that it is ok to chase anything they
regard as prey. Why shouldn't your dog then regard children or cats or
smaller dogs as prey?
- Dogs often bark when someone
comes onto your property or knocks on your door. While this is
desirable, do not encourage your dog to go overboard with his
protective behaviour. If you do encourage him, remember you may not be
able to easily get him to turn this behaviour on and off like a light
- If you don't know how your dog behaves around
children, then don't tell children that it is ok to pet your dog. Also
use your own good judgment. If the child seems nervous, or too
aggressive, or has food in his/her hand, don't let them pet your dog.
If you tell a child that it is ok to pet your dog, and their parent(s)
says no, don't take it personally. They are only looking out for their
child's best interests.
- Some dogs are also fearful or
aggressive around children. Don't try and break your dog's habits at
the expense of your own children or someone else's children.
you have an aggressive dog, the worst thing you can do is be in denial.
"My dog is just playing rough" or "My dog would never bite anyone" are
famous last words. If you have an aggressive dog then seek professional
help immediately from your veterinarian. Don't put it off for any
reason, and do not wait for your dog to "grow out of it." That simply
isn't going to happen. The problem is only going to get worse for
everyone involved, including your dog.
- If your dog's
aggressive behaviour cannot be eliminated, then you may decide to
purchase a humane muzzle when you walk him/her outside.
you do, if you have to give up, or even have a veterinarian or animal
shelter humanely kill your dog - do not under any circumstances rush
out and get another dog. Try and figure out what went wrong, and
honestly ask yourself if you were at fault. Be fair to yourself, your
family, your neighbours, and your next dog. If you have had a
particularly serious incident, you may even decide not to get another
dog. Whatever you decide, have a cooling off period of at least several
months and think the decision through logically and carefully.
well-meaning owners take their dogs everywhere with them. They tie
their dogs up outside of restaurants, outdoor cafes and stores - and
then leave them alone "just for a minute" or "just for a little while."
This is an accident waiting to happen, because your dog is surrounded
by a cacophony of sights, sounds, smells and people and children
passing by (some with food in their hand or their shopping bags). When
your dog is tied up, he/she has their movement restricted and they can
become more easily frightened or territorial or may refuse to take no
for answer when that child refuses to give up their ice cream cone.
Give everyone a break, especially your dog, and leave him/her at home
in familiar surroundings.
- Never put your hand in
between two dogs that are fighting with each other. You will only be
bitten by one or both dogs. Try commanding them to stop. If this
doesn't work, then grab one of the dogs by both of his/her hind legs
and pull hard. He/she should let go. If this does not work, try and
distract the dogs by whistling, throwing a ball or stick. Although it
may seem like forever, the dogs will actually stop fighting very
quickly if left on their own.
- Sometimes when a male
and female dog are having sex, the two may become stuck together. The
dogs may cry out in pain, and try and pull away from each other,
adopting unusual positions. All you can do is keep people away from
both dogs until they relax and separate on their own. If you try and
forcibly separate them you will only injure both dogs and will likely
be bitten for your efforts. Some people may suggest that you throw a
pail of water on the dogs, but this will not help. What will help is
having your pet spayed or neutered so your dog doesn't become involved
in one of these incidents.
- If you are not certain how
your dog will react under new and unfamiliar conditions (for example,
like taking them camping or to someone's home for the first time), then
make sure your dog is under firm, but very tight, control for
- Dogs bite due to a combination of
genetics, training and environment and this involves factors which can
include, but are not limited to: food, toys, aggression, defense, fear,
injury, illness, age, sex, and prey.
- Some pet owners
park their vehicle and leave their dogs in the back of their pickup
truck, or inside their car with the windows rolled down slightly. Your
dog may try to protect his/her new "territory" or may become
frustrated, angry or scared due to the unfamiliarity of his/her
surroundings and this can be dangerous for children or adults who try
to pet him/her.
Please leave your dog at home, or leave someone with your vehicle. Cars can be very dangerous places for your pet, in hot weather heat stroke can occur, as can hypothermia in the winter. Never carry your dog in the back of an open pick up truck - this is very dangerous for your dog and other drivers.
- No one expects that you can plan to prevent or control every situation. But you can be aware of potential problems and exercise reasonable care and supervision to prevent and reduce the frequency and severity of dog bites.
Remember to have fun with your dog. They are one of the greatest friends you will ever have.