Hi, so you are here reading this, you must either have a dog or a puppy, or you are looking at dogs and puppies. This page will tell you the basics about what you need to know about dogs and puppies. As I add more content (Posts) to this site about dogs and dog care, I will have links from this page to particular posts on those topics in greater detail.
Just some things to think about before you get a dog
Having a dog is wonderful. They will love you more than you could ever imagine. They will do bad things, just like children and need to be taught just like children. They can be a lot of work, but usually adapt pretty quickly. Different breeds are known for specific behavior traits. So check those out before you choose a breed. Also depending on where you live makes a difference on the amount of work that they require. If you live in an upstairs apartment in a town/city a dog will be a lot more work than if you live in the country with land for them to roam.
Before you start looking for a dog, think about what size dog that you want. How big of a dog can your home handle? Dogs range in size drastically. For instance a Chihuahua weighs an average of 4-6 pounds, and are on average 6-10 inches tall fully grown, and then you have the Mastiff that can weigh up to 250 pounds (Average a little less than that), and they get 30 inches tall.
The larger the dog, the more it will eat. How much dog food can you afford? A Small dog will generally be fed 1.5 cups per day of dog food, and a Large dog can be fed up to 7.5 cups per day, depending on the breed. But using this as an example, if your dog food costs an average of $0.22 per cup, it will cost you $10.00 a month to feed a small dog, and $50.00 a month to feed a large dog. That is something to think about before choosing a size and breed.
There are also other things to think about when choosing the size and breed of a dog. I have always wanted a Saint Bernard or a Mastiff. They are huge!! That’s what I want, but I know that I cannot handle the drooling. That would make me sick, so as much as I would love a Saint Bernard or a Mastiff, I will not get one because of that. I have read that some are bred not to drool, but I am not going to take that chance. I just know that I cannot handle that. So with most large breeds, they are going to drool. If you won’t be able to deal with that, then choose a breed that wont drool.
Also, some breeds a prone to specific health problems. Make sure that you can afford to take care of these health problems before you choose your breed. Some dogs always have an odor, can you deal with that? Spaniels have problems with their ears if you don’t keep them trimmed and clean. Saint Bernards common health issues are Heart problems, eye diseases, orthopedic diseases, cancer, epilepsy etc… Not all Saint Bernards have these problems, but some do and if you get one that does, it could cost you a lot in vet expenses. I just used Saint Bernards as an example because that is the type of dog that I really wanted. They are sweethearts!! Wonderful dogs for all ages. Any dog can get sick at any time, it doesn’t have to be a breed that is prone to it, but if you do your research, you will be more prepared for the possibilities.
Other important things to think about
First I would like to tell you that I currently have 3 dogs. As I explain my dogs, you will see that dogs can be a lot of work. But also, that they are worth every bit of it. But you will need to make sure that you have the patience and understanding to deal with all of their mistakes while you are raising them to be the dog that you want. It takes time and effort, and sometimes you have to change your ways too.
Dogs also need their owners (or Parents as I feel I am to my dogs) to spend time with them, training them, playing with them and just plain loving them. They cannot be left alone all of the time and be expected to have good social skills and good behavior. If you don’t have time for your dog, please don’t get one. I am not saying that you shouldn’t work, we all have to work, and everyone’s dogs stay home while they are at work. But if you are gone more than the average person, please consider that before getting a dog.
Another thing that happens a lot (with dogs and cats) is that people see an adorable puppy (or kitten) and want it, but then when that puppy (or kitten) grows up they don’t think it is so cute anymore because it isn’t little. Please don’t get a puppy (or kitten) if you are not going to want it when it gets bigger. Look at the pictures to the right, you will see an adorable puppy on the top and you will see that same puppy as a full grown dog. I personally know this dog, his name is Bocephus. He is such a sweetheart. He is huge!! All I can think of when I see him is a horse. Obviously he isn’t as big as a horse, but that is all I can think of when I can see him. He weighs 153 pounds. I am 5’3″ and his back is as tall as my hips. When he sits on the floor his entire face and head is above the table. He is a wonderful dog and his family love him very much and would never think about getting rid of him, but some people would because they maybe didn’t realize that he would get so big.
A little bit about my dogs, and their personalities
My dogs are Buster, (Springer Spaniel) Shiloh and Ruger, (Both Beagles). I love my dogs, they are part of my family. I did not plan to have 3 dogs. I had 2, and then a relative couldn’t keep his dog any more (Ruger) and asked us if we would take him, as he couldn’t think of anyone else that would give his dog a better home. So we decided that we would take him, as he deserved a good home, and we didn’t want him to end out somewhere that he wouldn’t be happy. Now we couldn’t imagine life without them. They all have their own personalities. They are all wonderful, sweet, loving, mostly well behaved fur babies.
We have had Ruger since October 2015. He is very happy, and playful. He is just an all around wonderful dog. His only issue is that Beagle odor. Some are worse than others. He usually starts to smell bad within 2 days after a bath. My other Beagle, Shiloh is usually odor free for about a week and a half after a bath. Ruger is 7 years old.
Before we got him he was most always on a dog lead or leash when brought outside. He used to get away sometimes, and when he did you didn’t know how long it would be before you found him. Shortly before we got him, my nephew started training him to go outside with him without a leash, and he was fine, and didn’t run away.
We have a doggy door, so that the dogs can go in and out at their leisure. This is possible because we have the PetSafe wireless fence. Ruger wouldn’t leave the porch at first, like most dogs as they are adjusting to the collar. He took the longest to adjust. But we just played with him outside, and each day we would go further away from the house until he started testing his boundaries on his own. Within 3 weeks he was all set and running all over the yard.
He also took a while to get adjusted to the doggy door. We got him used to using it, but he wouldn’t go out or come in without us telling him to. He would just stand there staring at the door and keep looking at us. He apparently thought he needed permission every time. Then all of sudden he got it, and he would come in and run through the house and just look at you wiggling his butt, like “I did it, can I get a treat now?”
I have had Shiloh since December 2007. When I got her, she was tied to a huge chain that was frozen into the ice and snow, she had a tiny dog house that she could barely fit in. She was 1 & 1/2 years old and only weighed 14 pounds. She had no food or water anywhere nearby. My niece asked me to take her. She was friends with the girl that owned her, but the girl had moved out and couldn’t take the dog, so she was being starved and abused by the other people living there. I was warned that she would probably bite me, but she didn’t.
She was very afraid of everyone, but warmed up to me very quickly. As the years have gone by, she is much more sociable, even with people that she doesn’t know. She is still very shy, which I believe she always will be. I couldn’t imagine not having her now. She cries when I leave, and when I get home.
She is a spoiled baby. Not usually any trouble from her, but she does help Buster with the garbage when he gets it, and food that he gets off of the counters. I am sure that if she could reach the counters, she would probably be more trouble than Buster. Shiloh has itching problems, so we have had to change her food a few times. She also had joint problems, so we switched her food to one with glucosamine, and that stopped her joint problems. You can also get glucosamine tablets or treats.
We got Buster from the animal rescue in town in June of 2012. We thought that Shiloh would like someone to play with when we were gone to work. He was trouble when we first got him. I wondered for the first month if we had made a mistake. He is absolutely wonderful now. It took love, patience, understanding, lots of research, and friends advice. You have no idea how many things we tried and failed at in the process. He destroyed so many things. He ate most of our sons bicycle helmet, my clothes hamper, of course shoes, shampoo etc… This list would be very long if I put everything on here. He broke windows to get outside. He destroyed 2 dog crates (Metal bar type) He loves bread or potatoes, if you leave them on the counter.
We had to train ourselves to do things differently as we were training him. He was named Buster at the Animal Rescue because he busted out of every fence that they put him in. It even says in his folder that he jumped over a 7 foot building to get out. I don’t know how he did that, but like I said, he has broken several windows to get out of the house. We already had the PetSafe wireless fence for Shiloh, and when we got Buster, we immediately put the collar on him and walked him around. He never ran through it. He has always stayed in the yard.
We decided that we would put in a doggy door for him, so that he would stop breaking windows and cutting himself. The only thing that stopped him from eating the things that he wasn’t suppose to (like helmets and shampoo, lol), was a cloth muzzle. A friend suggested it when nothing else worked. He could still eat his dog food and drink water while wearing it, but couldn’t chew the big stuff. We had to make a few changes to it, as he was able to wiggle it off. So we put a small belt buckle on it, and sewed another strap onto it, so that we could attach it to his collar. It didn’t take very long before we were able to leave without using the muzzle. But whenever he would get into stuff again, we would use the muzzle for a few days in a row whenever we had to leave the house. After a few rounds of that, then we just showed him the muzzle whenever he did something bad, and that was all it took.
Now he doesn’t destroy anything, if we are forgetful and leave bread or potatoes on the counter, he will get them lol. So we usually don’t forget. He likes the garbage (What dog doesn’t). Our garbage can is in the staircase, which is closed from the everything else with a normal house door. He was getting it every time we would leave, so we put a video camera up to see how he was doing it, and to make sure that it was really him and not one of the Beagles. It was him, we have an old house, so doors are a little loose. He would jump against the door to release it and it would pop open. Well there was a hook lock on the door just above the handle, so we used that, and he still got the door open. So, we watched again. He is such a smart dog!! Lol. He would jump against the door twice to pop it open, and then, he lifted to hook lock with his nose to open the door. My husband refuses to put another lock on that door because he doesn’t want any more holes in our door or frame. So we simply wrap a bread tie around the hook so that he can’t lift it.
Now that I have told you a little bit about my dogs, I will tell you some of the basics that you will need to know about if you have, or are getting a dog or a puppy. Obviously everyone knows that dogs need access to clean water, everyone has different opinions about how much water. I make sure that my dogs always have water in their dish. Some people have to limit water based on how long between trips outside. I don’t have to worry about that because my dogs can go in and out whenever they want to.
Food and Treats
The kind of dog food that you choose for your dog will depend on a number of things. The size, age, breed, health and activity of your dog are all factors in the type and amount of dog food to feed your dog.
Fleas and Ticks
One very important topic is fleas and ticks. Nobody wants fleas or ticks, but if you have pets you have to worry about them. Sometimes even if you don’t have any pets, you have to worry about them. Prevention is the best way to handle this, but sometimes the prevention methods that are working will suddenly stop working, and then it doesn’t take long to be infested with these little pests. I have a post about fleas and ticks, as they can be a major problem. I know from experience how fast it can go from seeing 1 flea to an infestation. I hope that I can help you to prevent this problem, or to get rid of this problem without all of the stress and work that it caused for me. I will tell you about every different method that I used and how each method worked. I think that I tried every method that can be found on the internet.
Boundaries, Training and Exercise
Your dog needs exercise. This topic will be different for a number of you. It depends on where you live, and what your beliefs are. If you live in an upstairs apartment in a city, your dogs exercise plan will be much different than it would be for someone that lives in the country, and then of course there is everywhere in between. So for this topic, please read my post about “Keeping your dog safe while outside-Boundaries, Training and Exercise”
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments about dogs and puppies, please leave them in the comment section below and I will get back to you.