Keeping a Dog


Once, when loyalty had gone lost in this world,
It found it's place in the Heart of the dog.


In first line this text is meant for Swiss circumstances, but I am sure all or a part of it will suit to other countries too.

Before you buy a dog
Generally
Meeting walkers, non-dog-owners
Meeting joggers, skaters, bykers, cars, horse-riders
Meeting prey etc.
Meeting livestock
Meeting other dogs
Meeting guide dogs for blinds
Dog droppings
Violations
Holidays
Conclusion
Spaying/Neutering

Before you buy a dog

The more I can understand, that someone wishes to keep a dog, the more I would really recommend to think over BEFORE, if and what kind of dog to take. A dog is bought fast and easyly, a young puppy, cute and pretty takes our conquest in a moment. But if he just came over Dad's Sunday shoes, has to pee at 3 am (can also use the Persian carpet), all vomating in the car, plays tug and war with junior's favorite sweat, decorates the house with his diarrhoea, runs thru the garden with Mom's bra (while all the neighbours are around) and his flatulences make us some difficulties to breathe, then this dog may not be as cute as before. A dog will change our whole life, nothing will be as it was. A puppy means lots of stress, specially in the beginning. Be careful that he doesn't destroy anything, doesn't run after the cat, that you can get him when he has to go out (what he doesn't know already) etc. The first week is a real stress, depending on the breed, this can improve. We just can't go quickly to a nice place just for a weekend. If we want to go out for supper, first we have to care for the dog. Holidays aren't that easy as before. If you don't want to take the dog with you, you have to find a good place for him. And every day, any kind of weather, if you are well or not, the dog needs his walk. A dog is not a thing you can throw away, if you don't have time or fun any more. A dog is a living being with feeling and he needs us. He gets himself in our heart and becomes a part of it. And we are a part of his heart. He can't understand, why he has been seperated from us and pushed away into a shelter. He is suffering from being parted. Maybe you think about having your dog spayed or neutered, if so don't buy one, spare him that (also see Spaying/Neutering). That's why you should think very well, BEFORE YOU BUY A DOG. If you really decided to spend the next 10 or 15 years with a dog, don't choose him just for its looks, but if he fits into your personal background and mostly in your living circumstances. Ask more than one breeder of the same breed, if that dog is suitable for you. To many dogs finally are in the shelters, because they are beautiful but too difficult to handle. At the end it you, who is responsible that your dog neither hurts or frightens a human nor another animal, that he doesn't produce unwanted litters and that the image of the dog in our society is a positive one.

Generally

More and more we live in a high populated area, where it is necessary that you can come along with other people to avoid unnecessary anger. No matter, if we like them or not, if they have the same interests or not. As a dog owner you might, like all others, get conflicts with several fields of professions or hobbies. The following advise would like to help you to have a good relationship with your neighbours and also to meet the requirements of your dog.

What needs a dog for living? Certainly regularly food (not spiced or salted human rests) and always enough water.

What needs a dog to be healthy? A well isolated place, appropriate nutrition and a appropriate grooming (what doesn't mean bathing), but brushing or combing, getting rid of varmint, thorns or burdocks etc..

What needs a dog to be happy? The dog needs a human partner. He would think of being punished and humilitated if he had to vegetate somewhere, somehow - in a garage or in a dark cellar. Also a kennel should not be a permanent solution, because this is increasing the feeling of isolation and that will confuse the original behaviour of the dog as a member of a pack. The dog is depending on community and in isolation his soul will get unavoidable spoiled. A dog is happy if he has a mission, otherwise he might find one by himself. Playing with the dog will support a good relationship with the dog owner.

The most importent requirement of a dog is movement. The dog as an original 'running predetor' needs at least 2 hours free running every day at every climate. It is not enough if you just let him run in the back yard. Little dogs don't need less, but big dogs often more. To be able to let our dog run offleash, we certainly have to be sure that our dog is no danger for people, dogs and other animals (prey or stock). That means we can only let him run offleash in the near of buildings, fields and woods, if the dog comes when called.

How will a responsible owner behave at meetings of different kinds?

Meeting walkers, non-dog-owners

If a Great Dane or a little Dachshund, if aged or a puppy, if someone is afraid of dogs, he is afraid of EVERY dog. Even if your dog doesn't bite, please, don't let him run towards strangers or even jump on them. Although if people think your puppy to be so cute, after having jumped on them, he normally isn't that cute at all. If your dog doesn't ignore strangers, take him on a short leash while passing.

Meeting joggers, scaters, bikers, cars, horse-riders

A dog will be attracted by everything that moves and will consider it according to his temperament as a prey. Although if you know that it's not serious and just fun for him, for all others it is either uncomfortable and even dangerous. Avoid accidents and take your dog on leash or if possible disctract.

Meeting prey

Even if you have a dog that has no chance to kill prey, specially in winter the energy reserves of prey due to the less available food is limited. While pregnant a wild chase can cause abortion, during the time of birth and rearing special attention is required to avoid danger specially for doe and kid. Beside the gamekeeper, we also have to consider the traffic to be 'dangerous' for a chasing dog. A good recall is important for the life of our dogs.

Meeting lifestock

Even if it seems to be quite normal that dogs run after cats, there is maybe someone that loves that cat as you love your dog. Also the fact that a dog runs after cows, sheep or chickens, will not make a lot of friends. A good recall or a leash are also for this case the 'code words'.

Meeting dog owners

If you meet people with a dog offleash, you can let your dog run free too. But if the other person takes or has his dog onleash, this normally has a reason. Even if your dog is friendly, the other one might not be. If you want your dog to play, call him back first and ask the owner. Maybe he has a bitch in heat, or the other dog is a fighter etc. Ask first and avoid unnecessary anger and maybe a visit at the vet. By the way, if your dog hurts the other one that is onleash, you will have to pay the bill. At passing onleash try to keep the dogs as far away from each other as possible, as onleash most dogs show a lot more aggressive behaviour as normal. As often as possible you should try to give your dog the possability to run offleash with other dogs. This will give im self-confidence and avoid aggressivity and fear.

Meeting guide dogs for blinds

Guide dogs for blinds are trained to ignore other dogs. Take your dog onleash immediately and walk streight. Don't do anything that will distract the dog from his work.

Dog Droppings

Urinating of bitches is normally not a problem, with males it can be. Gardens, walls of buildings and wheels of cars shouldn't be marked by a male. Droppings in meadow-grass is a big problem for farmers. While mowing it will be spread over a quite big part of the grass and this will be useless as food for cattle. Please take droppings specially from meadow-grass and from ways frequented often by walkers. I beg, you won't think it's funny too walking into a dog's dropping?

Violations

Violation of poisoning can occur if your dog is drinking out of a water puddle beneeth a treatened field. Eating young wheat, freshly treatened is also dangerous. Actually you should not allow your dog to take or eat anything outside.

Holidays

Shedule your holidays early. If you will take your dog with you, you should insist on a written confirmation, that your dog is welcome in the hotel, on the camping place or in your holiday appartement. If you don't want or can take him with you, try early to find a good and honest place for him. Good shelters are often booked out early.

Conclusion

A responsible, tolerant dog owner and a well behavied and trained dog are almost everywhere wellcome and will leave a good insight even at a person that is not specially fond of dogs. Try to build a bridge with your behaviour between dog owners and the rest of the world.

Spaying/Neutering

Humans decide not only about life and death of an animal they also decide wether it may have a sexual life or not. The most simple solution, at least vets say (they do earn money with that) is spaying or neutering. Males are easier to handle (you can spare the training), bitches live longer thanks to early spaying, you don't have to clean after her and you don't have to pay any attention during her heat.
Sexual and other organs produce hormons, that are responsible for the physical and mental well-being. Hormons are contolling mechanisms that are needed by living beings. Certainly dogs life without their sexiual organs, it's just a question of quality. Males are no longer known as males by intact dogs but as females. Bitches can become a change of coat and they can loose urin that means you have to give her medicaments for all her life. Sexual hormons are responsible for mental growth. Being spayed or neutered early a dog cannot become mentally an adult. In an English Guide Dog School for Blinds they have been testing to spay bitches before the first heat for 10 years. After that they changed to later spaying, because most of the bitches could not be used as Guide dogs. Well, you don't let children work, don't you. A big argument for friends of spaying and neutering is certainly the uncontrolled breeding of dogs and their final station in the shelters. But there are not too many dogs around because they are not neutered or spayed, but because of their unresponsible owners. It isn't cruel for dogs, if they are intact but cannot mate. In wild dogs or wolf packs only the alpha dogs do mate and have litters, the other pack member don't. We have the full responsibility for our dog in every way. I don't want a creature half alive, that it only interested in food. I want to have a valid, grown up dog! Every animal on this earth tries to grow (physically and mentally). Why should we take our best friend this opportunity?

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Copyright 1998-1999 by Silvia Dierauer, CH-Egliswil. All rights reserved.
Last update July 16th,1999.