What every new puppy owner needs to know…

The Puppy, seen in Megalochori of Santorini

The Puppy, seen in Megalochori of Santorini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ahh, puppies.  Almost everyone loves them.  They have those beautiful endearing eyes, they squeak, they are amusing, and there’s something about the puppy smell that just draws you near.  Puppies are great, they make people happy, they make other dogs happy, they are the stuff of little kids dreams.  Puppies are incredible, but they aren’t forever, as I’ve pointed out in previous posts.  There are a lot of things new puppy owners can do to make sure they have and keep an awesome dog, so, in the spirit of my puppy filled day, I bring you a list.  A list of the best things new puppy owners ought to know.

  • Large dogs and little dogs are different.  As a matter of fact, each and every dog is different from one another.  They all have unique learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses.  It’s up to you, as the puppy’s person, to develop those strengths and weed out the weakness. To put it in terms of breed example, a Border Collie is not going to be happy being pushed around in a baby carriage.  While I’m on the term baby carriage, please, please, stop pushing your little fru fru dogs around like babies.  They are dogs, they can, and should, walk. 
  • Know your stuff.  From vaccines to food, dogs are not simple creatures. Playing on the every dog is different theme here, you should be aware that certain types of dogs have different issues. For instance, Border Collies, and most collie breeds are known to have a mutant gene making some of them sensitive to Ivermectin products.  Ivermectin is found in the most common form of Heartworm prevention. Another example, smushed-face (brachycephalic) dogs like Pugs, Boston terriers, and Bulldogs, have a sensitivity to heat resulting from a functionally deficient cooling system. These things are important. Ask your vet a thousand questions, he or she won’t mind, as long as you are willing to hear the answers. I can’t even count the number of times a well-educated owner has pointed out a problem the veterinarian might have overlooked.  You, as the dogs person, see them everyday, you should know what to look for.
  • Training is the key to your survival   I don’t care if you have a Chorkie or a Irish Wolfhound, you need to do some kind of training with your dog.  That was, WITH your dog. Every dog should know how to sit, and how to pee outside or in the place you deem appropriate.  I’m a little tired tonight to go digging up the details but it’s safe to say that there are far less trained than untrained dogs in the shelters looking for a new home, and of those shelter dogs, the ones that have been trained are far more likely to find a permanent home than be euthanized.          Training is especially important for thinking dogs.  They can come from any breed, but commonly are dogs who were bred to perform work of any kind.  Working dogs, herding dogs, and hunting dogs need a job to do.  They are big, and it’s your job to let them be big but well mannered. No excuses.  You get a big dog, it’s got to be trained.  You get a small dog, and please just make sure it doesn’t hump my leg or pee indiscriminately. Oh, and teach it to sit. 🙂
  • You are responsible for your dogs actions.  Sorry, you can’t blame it on the dog even if you are in a situation where the dog is protecting you and bites someone or something. You are the person who claims this animal, it is your responsibility to know how to live with it and how to have other people and animals live with it.  All the more reason for lots of training. Sometimes this topic comes up with specific breeds, like our friend the Pit Bull, not to be confused with the American Staffordshire Terrier, or the American Bulldog. All dogs should be trained, all of them have teeth. And again, you need to know your dog’s limits.  Don’t bring a dog that kills cats to a cat show, or a dog that’s prey driven to a kid’s party.

I’m sure, with a little more thought I could continue on this subject for a while.  I didn’t even begin to delve into technical aspects like choosing a dog, socialization, what to vaccinate for and when, or nutritional choices.  I barely made a dent in curbing the sometimes odd behavioral issues dogs have, and I definitely didn’t do justice to conditioning for veterinary visits, but someday I will.

Just in case this is the first blog post of mine you’ve read, I should point out that I am a Veterinary Technician and have achieved national certification as such by completing  a two year AVMA accredited degree program and passing state and national tests.  I cannot offer you any services further than education, advice, and technical knowledge, but I’m always up for some good questions!

That’s all Folks – Jamie

PS- Puppies are not children! More on that later.

**If you are reading this in your inbox, thanks! You make me happy :)**

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