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Basic Dog Ownership
(Things you Need to Know and Have Before your Dog Comes Home)

Basic Dog Ownership is much more than buying it, bringing it home, letting it out once or twice a day, or hooking it up on a chain in the back yard. You wouldn't do that to a new baby, so don't even think about doing it to your dog either. If you are not prepared to make a commitment of time, energy and money to make your dog a great member of your family ... PLEASE, go out and buy a goldfish.

If you are going to be a dog owner, you should at least be willing to spend a fair amount of time and effort feeding, training, cleaning, socializing and looking after the dog's mental needs.

Raising a dog from a puppy, older dog that you rescued, or purchased from a private owner requires an investment of time as well as money. Dog ownership is not unlike raising a child, in that, you will have several reoccurring expenses: such as food, medication and veterinarian visits. During the course of dog ownership you will most likely also run into a few unexpected expenses: like emergency care for the dog or maybe replacing some of the neighbors flowers after Fido chases a rabbit through their flower garden. The national average for a year of pet care is estimated to be in the area of $2000.00.

Another part of Dog Ownership is be realistic in your expectations. When bringing a new dog into your home, you need to understand that your new dog may be a little nervous and unsure at first. Yes, it may have an accident or two. You can expect your new dog or puppy to need a period of adjustment. That period will vary from dog to dog. It may last a few hours or up to a few weeks. How long this adjustment period will take largely depends on the dog's age, breed, gender, background and disposition. Other factors may also include the dog's new surroundings and the amount of time you spend with your new companion.

We suggest that you only pick up your new dog when you are able to spend a minimum of 24-48 uninterrupted hours with it. Obviously, the more time you spend in the first few days, the faster and easier the transition will be. The fastest way to bond with, and get your new dog to trust you, is to spend time taking long walks and playing together.

Beside the items mentioned above, here is a list of BASIC items that you will need to have around to raise you new dog the right way.

1). FOOD
This is probably a "no brainer" but a high quality food is a very important element of a happy and healthy dog. Once you start feeding a dog a certain type of food, Stick To it!!! Dog's do NOT like change. Changing there food from day to day or even bag to bag will cause your dog to have upset stomach or cause them to become finicky eaters. If you decide to switch types or brands of food, do it gradually so the dog will not notice the change. (Example: if your dog eats 10 ounces of food per day, begin the change by introducing 1 ounce of the new food and then every 3-4 days add another 1 ounce .... and so on.

2). TOYS
Toys are a kind of "gray area" as some dog's love them and others could care less about them. No matter what you buy, be sure to watch your dog when he/she is playing with them. If the dog chews the toy up and swallow it or parts of it, you may be spending some of those "unexpected expenses" sooner than you thought. A good rule of thumb is that you should by toys that the dog can chew and not destroy, such as "Kong" toys, Boda ropes, tennis balls, nyla-bones and so on. 

3). CLEANING SUPPLIES
Accidents Happen! In order to keep them from happening over and over you will need to clean up the area so that your dog won't confuse the accident site with the "right" place to relieve itself. First, make sure you have a non ammonia based cleaner. Most super markets and pet stores have specific cleaners for pet stains but using a product like Mr. Clean, Formula 409 or Castrol Super Clean will work just fine. Make sure you clean the area thoroughly to make sure the sent has been completely removed.

4). BASIC TRAINING / GROOMING ITEMS
Basic training and grooming items include a Collar, Leash, ID Tag, Food and Water Bowls, Grooming Brush, Toothbrush, Shampoo, Nail Trimmers and first aid supplies.

5). INFORMATION
Being informed is the first step in becoming a responsible dog owner. Knowing basic dog training techniques, and breed information are among the most important information you must have. There are literally thousands of books, pamphlets and DVD's out there. The more information you can find about your breed of dog or dogs in general, will make you better prepared when any kind of situation arises.

6). CONFINEMENT
Leaving your new puppy or dog running loose in a strange house when you are away can be dangerous for you and the dog. The dog may start to feel afraid, alone, anxious, or excited and rip your house apart and at the same time it may injure itself. When introduced correctly, a travel crate (the plastic kind) provides your dog with a den-like area to go to (a safe place) where it will feel safe and secure while you are away. It will also prevent unwanted messes in the house and/or senseless destruction of it.


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