This has little to do with photography, but I do love dogs, and I’m glad that there are many responsible pet owners out there….unfortunately, for every one of those, there are 2 irresponsible ones. Whether you are an individual household, couple, or a family, there are many things to research and learn before buying a dog. The most ignorant thing anyone can do, is for a first time dog owner to bring a dog home on a whim, without knowing how to do basic obedience and house training, and having researched the breed. Like for example, someone thinks a Beagle is cute, and lives in the suburbs with a small yard, but would get upset when the dog escapes the fence and roams for a day before coming back. That breed needs to live in the country with lots of land, ideally. Certain breeds need certain precautions taken to optimize their health, like some breeds don’t do well in the heat, some are not generally as good with children, some are high energy and need regular exercise. As a general rule, mixed breeds are less prone to health issues than pure breeds. And puppies are cute, but you are starting from the ground up. Remember, dogs are a commitment that you make for their whole life, not something you can pawn off if it becomes too challenging.
The first thing to research is a dog’s temperament and ease of training. Also level of being territorial, not every dog is compatible with every person and living situation. Also, don’t always believe the media and public hysteria about “bully breeds” like Pit Bulls. My next door neighbor has a Pit Bull that he rescued as a stray puppy, and he’s a big baby, and listens very well. I have seen stickers that say punish the deed not the breed. Unless a dog has been house trained, it won’t know what it’s supposed to do. If he or she messes on the rug, beating will only make him ashamed he had to go at all. The best way to train a dog is with a crate. Only let a dog have supervised run of the house, and be crated when not supervised. Or have a secure outdoor fenced area for the dog to get exercise. But crating is not mean. It’s so that the dog will learn bladder control, they will not go where they sleep. Unsupervised run of the house is earned, pushovers shouldn’t try to raise dogs. And never take a dog to bed that you don’t want sleeping in that bed with you for their whole life. Dogs having “accidents” or chewing on furniture are an owner’s accident, not the dog’s. If they are watched and stopped in the act, and rewarded and praised when they go outside, or chew on their toys instead of the couch or your shoe, they will see a pattern. Dogs are creatures of habit. Sure, they can be hard headed and insistent sometimes, but you have to be the master, and follow through with the training. For a first time dog owner, even Pet Smart obedience classes are a good idea.
Furthermore, I love the idea of rescue dogs. My Male Boxer, Oscar I got from the local Boxer rescue. www.mtbr.org And rescuing a dog, they will be so grateful. Those kennels and shelters can be awful and scary for them….like jail for dogs. They are a family pet who lives for human affection and interaction, not a lawn ornament to be left outside and ignored, or kept in a cage it’s whole life. It takes work. But it’s very rewarding. The hard part is at the beginning. The good thing is rescue animals are usually spayed and neutered, which they should be anyway….there are enough dogs without homes, why create more? There are some great resources that help many great dogs become united with their permanent home. www.petfinder.com and another wonderful advocate is http://petpardons.com and their Facebook link is http://www.facebook.com/petpardons Happy dog hunting! Here is my almost 11 year old female Boxer, Roxie, having some fun with a 2 year old who had just finished with a family portrait session with me.