Saturday, 18 December 2010

A dog for life

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas. This slogan was created in 1978 by the Dog Trust and is still relevant today. At this time of the year people involved with dogs should raise awareness of the consequences of treating dogs as gifts or toys. Every year hundreds of thousands of children plead to receive a dog for Christmas and every year thousands of parents yield to their children’s whim. And yes, dogs make perfect gifts because they come up to everyone’s expectation. They are affectionate, cuddly, responsive, playful, receptive, easy to please, the latest fad, the coolest toy, the fashion statement par excellence but what happens when the novelty wears off? When the toy becomes a burden?

Dogs need structure and leadership. Rough games, shrill cries and cheers from children too young to take on the role of pack leader make training difficult. A young dog should be introduced in his new family with a calm and assertive energy so that he can get used to the new family hierarchy. Affection should be saved until the dog has settled. Cesar Millan says that it is sometimes a good idea to hold that affection until several days into your new relationship with your puppy; as much as a week is recommended. Now this sounds harsh when you want to take your new puppy to bed with you, to carry it in yours arms wherever you go or to cuddle it constantly.

Remember: a dog cannot be taken back to the shop and exchanged if the size does not fit. The new owner must be prepared to make a commitment for the dog’s entire lifetime and be prepared to accept the responsibilities that come with their new family member. There are many factors to consider. Can the vet’s bills be met? Can dog food be bought? Is the house dog friendly? Can the dog have his own space? Can the dog go on family holidays? Can the dog have regular exercise? Can the dog be properly trained? Can the dog receive sufficient attention? Will the dog have to spend long periods on his own because his new owners work out of the house all day? Is the chosen breed suitable as a family pet? Many questions which often remain unanswered and lead to dogs being discarded and abandoned and ending up in shelters. And then what?


Rob said...

Well said! When you think about getting a dog in my opinion you should look at it as though you are having a child because you are just as responsible for its well being. just because its an animal doesn't let you off the hook. Training is vital because a good dog is a happy dog simply because it can particpate in more family outings etc. If your dog is badly behaved it’s your fault and not that of the dog. What you say about being strict in the beginning is often seen as being cruel but I disagree with that. I think its more cruel in the long run to let your dog run riot and have its own way because you can never take it anywhere in case it causes trouble. So teach it manners because when you can take it to the local or to the seaside or anywhere else dogs are allowed your dog will be far happier than being left at home while you go out and have all the fun. I took to Tommy as a stray and he was well out of control but with love and understanding and teaching him his place in the family he now goes pretty much where we go, the people who kicked him out don’t know what they had.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

A timely post. Merry Christmas, Eurodog.

Flowerpot said...

Oh very well said ED. Let's hope more people pay heed to it.

Winchester whisperer said...

Are you going to get one, ED?

Eurodog said...

Yes, Rob. I agree.
WL and FP, thank you.
WW, yes we will but I want to join Mr eurodog on his travels first. We will get another Border Collie in Cornwall. Perhaps from a farm?

Winchester whisperer said...

Hurrah! I'm going to Cornwall week of 29 May