Being a pet owner means consistency and commitment…just like being a parent.
We are all about prevention. If there is something you can do as an owner, to prevent a disaster with your pet..than just DO IT.
This means use “Common Sense”.
Below are the easiest things you can do to keep your pet safe.
Make sure your yard is secure.
This means all gates are locked, no holes exist in the fence, all iron gates are laced with chicken wire or some other type of close knit wire to prevent your pet from escaping.
Puppy proof your yard & home.
Just like child proofing, poisons are the number one killer of puppies, next to viruses. Make sure all chemical, cleaning agents, nail polish and removers, makeup, paints, thinners, plaster, powdered and liquid mixtures, people medications not meant for ingestion, snail bate and poison, rat poisons, etc, are kept either locked up, or well out of reach of your puppy/dog. Be careful not to use any fertilizers, insecticides, or other garden/lawn improvement supplies that are harmful to pets and children. Check with your local nursery and make sure you do not have any poisonous plants in your yard or garden that your pup has access to . Use only products proven to be safe to use around pets.
Beware of swimming pools & your puppy.
Puppies will fall into pools and drown. Even adult dogs need to learn where the steps in and out of your pool are, and practice getting in and out. Even better, to have your pool fenced. Only allow your dog into the pool with you supervising, and/or participating….just like a child.
Don’t allow your dog to run loose anywhere remotely near any traffic, passing cars, or even a country road.
Unless your dog has a solid and trained , “STOP”, “WAIT”, “DOWN”, that has been trained and tested by a professional, just “DON’T DO IT.”.
Treat your dog like a small child. Don’t let them play near the street.
Enroll, attend, and complete all 3 levels of obedience training.
Starting at 4 months old complete and pass your Good Canine Citizen if you have purchased a pup bred for that use.
First reason to train: Your dog needs a job.
They need mental and physical stimulation. They also need to be well socialized in public places. Training with your dog will not only help your dog become a welcome and obedient member of the family, but it will help the two of you and / or your family members bond with the dog, and visa versa.
The dog needs to respect family members, and have a “pack leader“
You need to be that person/people. We happily refer to all and any of “The Dog Whisperer – Ceasar Milan” tapes and books. These books and tapes are inexpensive, smart ways to approach dog training, dog psychology, and owner training. Ceasar is also on T.V. on the National Geographic Channel various times of the week .
We mandate dog training because in case you have to return the dog to us for any reason, the dog can be re-homed and be a welcome member of a new family. This is an insurance policy for your dog.
We recommend PetSmart Training, as long as you get a good trainer.
I like to interview trainers, watch a class they are teaching, before I make a choice in trainers and schedule. PetSmart is inexpensive, (about $110.00 for an 8 week class/once a week), and you can return as often as you like to re-do the class if you feel your dog needs extra support..at no additional cost.
We also like PetSmart because it puts your dog in social situations , off your property, with a educated trainer available to help you teach you and your dog the correct responses and choices.
DO NOT LET YOUR PET OFF IT”S LEASH IN AN AREA NEAR PASSING CARS FOR ANY REASON.
Until your dog has learned safety commands, which means to “come on command, stay, sit, wait”.
Allowing your dog off leash near or around traffic areas is a death wish.
Make sure you are in a fenced in area such as a dog park, or a beach that is away from vehicles before taking your dog off leash.
It is recommended by trainers universally that your dog know the safety commands inside and out before being allowed off leash.
Work and play with your puppy at least twice a day for 20 minutes. This means doing your homework from your trainer, and playing ball, frisbee, running, etc.
Have fun with your puppy after you finish your “homework”…This is their reward…
Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.
Vaccinate prior to your pups 4th month to prevent deadly illnesses that pups are susceptible during their first year of life. Do not introduce your pup into public areas until all of their vaccinations have been completed (not prior to their 4th month). Have your vet put your pup on a monthly and then a yearly vaccination program to ensure your dogs health, and well being. Just like a child.
License your dog at 4 months with your city or county. The license requires certificate of a rabies vaccination. Spay and neutered animals are much less expensive.
Play time and exercise with your dog is crucial to it’s well being, understanding, and social learning on a daily basis.
When your pup stops being cute, don’t throw him/her outside and forget about them. They are a member of your family. They need to continue to be treated as such. Daily walks, runs, frisbee, catching a ball, interacting with you and your family, are all important to your dog.
Allow them inside your home, stick to the rules of your house.
Such as whether or not they are allowed on furniture, and have relax time with them…in front of the T.V., listening to music, playing with the kids friends, etc. Allow them in durning bad weather, fireworks, New Years Eve, to keep them safe, secure and relaxed.
Unless you are going to show your dog in club affiliated shows (ASCA or AKC), or plan on breeding (to the same breed, and a registered animal), it is best to spay or neuter your animal. Every day in animal shelters, in any given county in the U.S. a minimum of a hundred dogs and cats per day are put to death only because they cannot find a home. Doesn’t matter is they are registered, purebred dogs or not.
Every time your female comes into heat, you will have to diaper her, keep her away from other dogs , and visa versa, and her temperament will change during her heat cycle. She will whine to get out, and may possibly jump or dig to get out to seek out a mate. You will also be visited by male dogs who will repeatedly mark your property, howl, whine, bark, etc. until she is out of heat. A heat cycle can go from 10 days to 3 weeks. With each passing year she goes un-altered, her chances increase for developing breast and uterine cancer. This is also one of the reasons we spay our females after their 3rd litter. Aside from being breeding stock, they are also our pets…first. We invest money, time, energy, and effort in training each and every one of our dogs, to help them become stable, welcome and well adjusted members of our family.
Male dogs who are un-altered tend to “mark their territory”. This means they will want to mark your furniture, all around your (their) yard and home. They may even mark you and your children. It is a natural instinct, and a trait of dominance, and much easier to curb and control with early altering. They also tend to be less aggressive and territorial, making them better family members.
Micro chipping your dog will ensure that if it’s collar slips off, is chewed off, falls off, that your pet can still be identified as your animal. Since Hurricane Katrina, many cities and counties around the U.S. are now requiring that all licensed animals be micro chipped for identification purposes. In the event of a catastophic disaster, such as a fire, earth quake, flood, etc, your dog will have a better chance of being reunited with your family, if it is micro chipped. Many Counties in California now have mandatory “micro-chipping” laws. Riverside is one of them. See your vet for details. Make sure you fill out, and send in, the micro chip information after the procedure, otherwise your dogs micro chip is of no use to him or her…or you.
For training referrals, visit your local PetSmart, parks and recreation catalog, veternarian, CesarMilan.com or Dog Whisperer.com, or a private trainer (yellow pages). An 8 week training course in a group, typically costs between $80.00 and $99.00. Private lessons usually run somewhere between $55.00 and up per session. Private lessons are usually a minimum of a 6 week contract.
Just like children, your pet needs to be kept safe, healthy, and happy. This includes exercise, discipline and affection…..in that order…every day.