• Dogs


    Everything you need to know to raise Dogs

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Raising Dogs
"I want the one with the happy ending," said a little boy to his mother at a pet store I was visiting last Thursday. He was referring to a little puppy whose tail wiggled furiously from side to side, as he eagerly licked the boy's hand in playfulness.

Dogs are like that. They're friendly, faithful and fun, and that's why they're called man's best friend. I'm sure you've had a pet dog before or at least know someone who has a pet dog. I've had lots of dogs as pets over the years. Dazzle, a dachshund, Bonzo, a cairn terrier, Ringo, a mongrel, and Shadow, a fox terrier, were all my bow-wow buddies as I was growing up. My mum practically wrote the lyrics to the song, "Who let the dogs out!"

If you have a large apartment or villa, and are allowed to keep dogs as pets, then bringing home a pup from a pet store or a rescued pooch from a dog shelter might be a good idea. The second option is what I'd recommend if you're familiar with dogs and have a heart big enough to care for an abandoned doggie.

A name for your dog

The thing about the usual dog names is that they're soooo boring! Rover, Fido, Spot and Lassie make it to the top of this 'boring' list, so be creative when choosing a name for your tyke. Here are some you might want to think about.

Some interesting names for male dogs:

  • Scamp (for a mongrel)
  • Slim Jim (for a greyhound)
  • Doglas (as in Douglas)
  • Al (for an Alsatian)
  • Tyson (for a boxer)
  • Mr. Sausage (for a dachshund)
  • Yorkie (for a Yorkshire terrier)

Some interesting names for female dogs:

  • Vixen (for a fox terrier)
  • Polka (for a Dalmatian)
  • Golda (for a golden retriever)
  • Spaniella (for a cocker spaniel)
  • Oodle (for a poodle)
© 2004 - 2020 Leonard Rego

Before you buy

Keeping a dog is a lot like looking after a younger brother or sister, because it requires attention and care. You just can't take a dog for granted, you know. You can ignore a fish, and he won't complain, but Rover can get lonely if you don't play fetch with him and take him for a walk every day. Simply put, you'll have a part time job on your hands with your new canine chum, so be prepared to put in the time.

Like I said earlier, you need to have a large-enough apartment or villa for your dog to frolic about in, and anything less than a one-bedroom apartment is probably too small for your dog (unless, of course, you get a tiny Chihuahua!). Your tyke will also need a fair amount of training, routine veterinary treatment, grooming, and daily care and exercise, so make sure you can make that sort of commitment.

Talk to your mum and dad about getting a dog, and see if they like the idea. If they do, you can buy your pet from a pet shop or reputable breeder, or select one from that rescue home or dog shelter, but whatever you do, make sure you bring home the kind of dog that you will be able to care for, for a long time to come.

At the very least, your new dog or puppy will require a feed bowl, water bowl, collar and lead, dog food, a dog bed and some suitable toys. You will need to make some home adjustments before your pooch wags his way in, like keeping electric cables and wires out of the way, removing small objects he might be able to swallow, and putting up fencing around your garden if you have one. A kennel is not really necessary, unless you plan to keep your dog outside, but don't do so in the summer.

Before you begin the ride home with your dog, remember to purchase a dog guard or travel harness for the car, or even a travel box.

Choosing your pet

Different dogs are different - some have a more friendly temperament than others, some require a lot of space to move about, and some are harder to train than others. Make sure you know enough about the breed you want to buy before you snap on the leash! A good book on choosing and caring for dogs will be a big help.

Some information that will help you choose wisely:

  1. It is easier to predict the temperament of a pure bred dog than a cross breed or mongrel
  2. The bigger the dog, the more expensive it will be to keep
  3. A puppy will need several feeds throughout the day and needs supervision all the time
  4. Your dog, whether a pup or fully grown, should be bright eyed, curious and non-aggressive.
  5. It should have a clean coat, and should not have a runny nose or eyes.

Care and feeding

Most dogs live for about 10 to 15 years, and like any best friend, they deserve to be treated with love and respect. Care includes not just routine feeding and exercise, but also the right kind of treatment that only a vet can give when the dog is ill. Dad and mum have to be prepared to spend for this treatment, as well as for vaccinations when the dog is 8-10 weeks old. They also need to be de-wormed every six months, and so there are regular medical costs involved.

Pups can be kept in a cardboard box with one side cut down, and this can be easily replaced as the pup grows and the box becomes soiled and damaged. Newspaper with an old blanket on top will provide the puppy with comfort and warmth. Whatever the size or age of your dog, its bed should have a little space around it once lined with soft bedding.

Use separate bowls for food and water, and make sure that the water bowl is full at all times, especially if you don't want Fido drinking out of the toilet!

To keep your doggie looking healthy and happy, use a grooming mitt to prevent its hair from matting, and to remove loose hairs. Remember, wiry-haired and long-haired dogs will require a stiff brush, while short haired dogs will need a soft brush. You can also get a rubber mitt that fits over the hand to let you groom the dog while firmly stroking it. You should check with your vet about grooming - he or she will be able to guide you with the same.

Also pick up a pair of nail clippers to clip the dog's claws every once-in-a-while to keep them from over-growing. Let your vet tell you what, how much and how often to feed your dog. Dog food usually includes canned meat food, dog biscuits, complete dry diets and semi-moist diets. Puppies generally need 5 small meals a day in the beginning, and you can bring this down to four meals a day at the age of 3 months, then 3 meals a day at 8 months. Dogs of 12 months or older only require to be fed once a day, usually in the evening. Still, there are dogs, mostly the small breeds, who may only eat a small amount at mealtime, and so it may be necessary to feed them twice a day.

You should give your dog enough exercise every day, and most dogs are willing to play for as long as you'll let them! Treat your pooch to a few toys, which should keep it entertained for hours on end.

Dog Trivia

  • Dogs have been wearing collars ever since Egyptian times!
  • Dogs have three eyelids - an upper eyelid, a lower one and a third one inside of the other two, called a 'haw'.
  • In the middle ages, Rottweilers were used to hunt wild boars.
  • A dog's temperature is between 100.2 and 102.8 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Dalmatian puppies are pure white when they are born and develop their spots as they grow older.
  • The famous Lassie was actually a male dog!