How to Enjoy Owning a Dog
Nobody loves their dogs more than I do. I surprised our companions on our honeymoon camping trip when I mentioned firearms in an unpleasant manner to the owner of a large dog which was viciously attacking mine. I don’t usually give in to temper like that, but I loved that dog as much, well, almost as much, as my new bride.
Here are some suggestions for enjoying dog ownership instead of being frustrated.
Don’t get a pit bull or a blue heeler if the dog will have opportunities to be around other people.
Dogs are bred to be trained to be obedient. You want obedience. This is common ground. This means that you have to spend time training that new pup to be obedient. Teach it to sit, come, stay and heel. These are the basics, and they must be consistently reinforced.
Do you want your walk to be a half-hour wrestling match, straining at one end of the leash against a powerful dog apparently trying to choke himself to unconsciousness?
Training to heel requires many consistent walking exercises, and then the lesson stays, with refreshers, for life. You too can do this; it’s not difficult, it just requires a little patience.
If your dog needs a pill, wrap it in a tablespoonful of cream cheese. No trauma. Dogs can take aspirin but never acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Clean up after your dogs. Your neighbors will be favorably impressed.
If your dog barks a lot, get a bark collar. They are not inhumane and your neighbors will be grateful.
Trim your dogs’ nails. Instead of using those mechanical cutters which create split nails, bleeding and trauma, use a Dremel with a small sandpaper drum attachment. The dogs do not like it the first several times, then they become accustomed and willingly submit.
Do not overfeed your dogs. If you choose to be fat, that’s a personal choice; don’t impose that fate on your pet. Large dogs develop joint problems with too much weight; dachshunds get back problems.
Exercise your dogs. This is when you appreciate the good job you did training them to obey. I take my Springers to a public park and show people how much fun it is to have dogs who heel, sit and stay on command, then have wild fun when they can.