So you are thinking that you should get a puppy. Our canine buddies have been part of our lives for thousands of years. Sometimes they are our loyal companion, play mate, a guide for a person who can’t see the world, a watchful guard of our property and sometimes they are out there in our borders with our armed forces.
They cheer us up, fill our home with joy, and provide unconditional love. But (of course there is always a but) there are certain things to consider before bringing home a dog. Don’t worry it’s not rocket science. Just a few things to know and consider so that you and your dog can have a bond to be cherished forever.
In India, lack of knowledge and commitment make things pathetic. People, most importantly the dog suffers. Some heartless and cruel individuals even end up abandoning them. Let’s hope that never happens to anyone! If millions of people can have a dog and raise well, you can have one too. Here are a few things you should keep in mind – – –
#1 BEFORE BRINGING A PUPPY
A) Having a dog is not fashion or lifestyle. It’s a commitment and bonding. A dog needs equal care like a human kid.
B) Try to adopt rather than buying. Indian street dogs are highly intelligent, trainable and loyal. For your effort, a stray can get a home. Also, they are easy to keep and quite healthy compared to most of the foreign breeds.
C) If you want to have a pure breed dog, do your research on the breed. Every breed was bred for different purposes and thus carries different characteristics. Ask yourself whether you are ready for that specific breed or not. Don’t decide just because you found a certain breed cute. Cuteness is welcomed but should not be a deciding factor.
D) In Europe or the USA, breeders investigate the customer whether they can provide a good home for the pup or not. But here in India, it can be seen that most of the times(not all of course), it’s all about money and making profit. If you pay a pet shop well enough, they will give a snow dog like Siberian Husky to a customer from Delhi! That is also one kind of animal cruelty. But you have already done your research on the breed you want reading our point C! You are all set!
E) If you are a first time dog owner, guard dog breeds like Rottweiler, Doberman, German Shepherd Dog etc. may not be a clever choice. But don’t worry! If you can give time, training, exercise and socialization, they turn out to be wonderful pets. Retrievers, companion dogs, Indian street dogs are easier for first time dog owners.
F) Know if there is a vet clinic or a good vet near you.
G) If you are a student, not sure where your job will be after graduation, or in a service where you move to different places constantly but you love dog, feed the stray dogs. Care them. It’s rewarding.The contentment is equal like having a dog at home.
#2 AFTER BRINGING THE PUPPY
A) Needless to say to follow the vaccination and deworming schedule! Follow the diet plan provided accordingly. If you have adopted a pup, ask the vet during vaccination what you should be feeding your dog.
B) Never, ever, ever allow a single tick or flea on your dog. Besides skin infections, they can cause a fatal disease called ‘Tick Fever’. There are many products available to prevent and get rid of those tiny monsters.
C) Socialize your puppy with other people, places and other animals. Introduce him/her to guests.
D) A bad dog is just a great dog ruined by a bad owner. Getting a dog is easy but thereafter many new dog owners forget about the training part. Training is fun and a great way to develop a bond with your dog. GOOD NEWS! You DON’T NEED a professional dog trainer for basic obedience training. You can learn watching a few videos on Youtube. These commands are enough to have a disciplined dog – – ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘stay’, ‘heel’, ‘leave/let go’. Train your dog or you’ll soon become his/her pet! ‘Food permission’ training is also important. Keep your training sessions short, about 10-15 minutes, twice a day. Have patience and be consistent.
E) Daily exercise is important. If the dog doesn’t get his energy released, he will create a mess in your house. Walking, fetching are some easy activities. “A tired dog is a happy dog”.
F) While working on potty training, make sure you don’t leave things behind in the main street to add discomfort to others!
G) If you are not breeding and there is no chance for the dog of mating, neuter (spay in females) your dog. Don’t worry it’s not a cruel process. Not neutering and not getting what his/her hormones demand can cause many behavioral and health problems.
H) Don’t keep your dog tied up. This can lead to serious aggression. Let him stay free inside your house.That is where obedience training is going to help you! No matter what, every Indian household, at least for one day, will have to host guests who are afraid of dogs and don’t even like dogs. For those hours you can keep your dog in a room with his/her favourite toys. If you want a private area for your dog, you can crate train him. Make the crate a happy place for your dog, not a cage! Use a leash on walks.
Remember there are many foods which we consume are poisonous to dogs. Some examples are – Chocolates, onion, garlic, ice cream etc.