I love dogs… big dogs, little dogs, well-behaved dogs and naughty dogs. I think everyone should have a dog, with the notable exception of those fools who are either incapable or unwilling to provide the degree of care and love required by our four-legged friends. That said, I am the first to admit that dog ownership can be challenging and I am quite certain that Buster, my schnauzer, would agree.
Here are a few DOs and DON’Ts to help newbie dog owners survive the first year:
- DO buy lint rollers (And don’t be fooled by a breeder who tells you the dog is ‘non-shedding’ because a non-shedding dog is like a ‘non-snotty’ baby. There may be models with lesser degrees of hair/snot but no one gets away hair/snot free)
- DO NOT buy white poop bags (A tiny roll of white bags covered in miniature dog bones is adorable. A see through bag of dog feces is not)
- DO take your dog to obedience classes
- DO NOT expect your dog to be obedient (Dog trainers are like hairdressers. Everything looks great when the expert does it but when you get home and try it on your own…)
- DO provide your dog with a quality diet and ample access to clean, fresh water
- DO NOT be surprised when your dog eats your kid’s crayons then drinks out of the toilet (and later produces several poops filled with all the colours of the rainbow… see list item 2)
- DO make sure your dog has space in the home that he can call his own. Some pet owners use a crate. I am more of a doggie bed person, but that’s personal choice
- DO put an old blanket over the sofa and another over your bed because your dog (the one with the expensive crate and/or doggie bed) will inevitably prefer your personal space to his own
- DO give your dog a short, one or two syllable name (Think of him as a high school football jock… no matter how intently he seems to be listening to you, his understanding of those sounds coming from your mouth is very limited)
- DO NOT give your dog a name that is intended to be (a) super-cute, (b) funny, or (c) celebrity-based (unless you are comfortable running up and down the street screaming for “Mr Puffy Tail” or “poopyhead” or “Brangelina”)
And one last DO… Every day, even the days when your furry friend has put a tooth through your favourite shoe or grabbed your TV snack off the coffee table… take 10 minutes to sit on the floor and rub his belly. Because even if he can’t figure out what you’re saying most of the time, that dog adores you!