Adopting a Dog
Adopting a dog is something that everyone should consider. It's as simple as heading down to your nearest animal shelter or adoption centre.
The best thing to do is go to the shelter without a breed in mind so you can see all the animals there and allow for a natural choice of dog that may be completely different to other family pets you have had previously.
It may break your heart to see all the animals in there and to hear why they are there. You may want to take them all home, but the adoption of even just one animal is satisfying and appreciated, and can make a difference.
Our New Dog
The dog of my childhood was a beautiful tan Great Dane cross. I wasn’t old enough to participate in her training, but my parents obviously put in a great deal of effort. She had the love and devotion of our whole family and even attended a few classes of guard dog training.
She of course became my ideal dog. She was well-mannered and beautiful. Although I miss her still, I have accepted that all dogs are different.
We recently adopted a six-month-old Australian Cattle Dog-Boxer cross. You can't see too much of either breed in her appearance, except that she has the build of a Boxer.
She has been with us for less than two months, but she has settled in well.
When she first came home with us there was quite a transition period. This meant digging lots of holes and chewing solar lights. We still have a long way to go, but already I am proud to be her owner.
The Importance of Training
She had had no training, so we had to start at the basics. To help us we enrolled in an obedience class. The class alternates between two instructors, both with different ideas about training, which makes it hard. Although all their tips are useful, they sometimes contradict one another.
How successful your training is depends on the time you put in, your consistency and effort and what works best for your dog.
The most useful book I have found is The Dog Whisperer – The essential guide to understanding and raising a happy dog by John Richardson and Leslye Sharon Cole. The author is an accomplished trainer and uses real-life scenarios in the book to illustrate his point.
When starting out it’s really comforting to know that your dog is not the only one with a few problem behaviours. They sit and behave one day but not the next.
Dogs from five months to two years are in their boundary-pushing teenage years. It's reassuring to know it’s just a phase and they will eventually grow out of it.
Best Thing in the World
Having a dog is the best thing in the world. They provide company and bring enjoyment.
If, as in my case, you are quite lazy, getting a dog changes this. They need routine and exercise, so you have to go on that daily walk. If you don’t then you will know about it when they get up to mischief in the backyard.
A dog can make you happy. Adopting a dog makes you feel good, too. You are providing a home for a dog that was abandoned.
Thousands of dogs are up for adoption each year. If you adopt a dog instead of buying from a pet store or breeder you can make a difference, not only to their life but yours as well.
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