Dog Owners

Owning a dogis much like having the best roommate of all time and can be a truly rewarding, life-enriching experience. Whether you”re a first time owner or have owned dogs forever, the more dog information you have, the better you and your pet will get along.

Getting a Dog

Before you decide to get a dog, you need to decide why you want it. Your choice of breed will depend greatly on whether you”re looking for a dog to breed, a family pet, a guard dog or a working dog for the blind or disabled.

If you have small children or other pets at home, it”s important to give serious consideration to the type of dog you pick. Some dogs take to little ones better than others.

Good Breeds for Dog Owners with Kids

Here”s a list of some dog breeds that get along well with children:

  • Airedale Terrier
  • American Bulldog
  • Basset Hound
  • Beagle
  • Bichon Frise
  • Boston Terrier
  • Collie
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Golden Retriever
  • Irish Setter
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Poodle
  • Pug
  • Samoyed
  • Siberian Husky
  • Weimaraner.

When it comes to being kid-friendly, some breeds are better than others. While poodles, collies and golden retrievers are extremely affectionate with children, some pugs are friendlier than others, and Weimaraners are often too energetic for small babies. Therefore, it”s good to do your research before bringing home a new family pet.

Good Watchdog Breeds

Similarly, if you are looking for a good guard dog, it”s wise to find a breed that will suit you and your family. Be extra careful when choosing a guard dog if you have children in your home.

Here”s a list of some dog breeds that make good guard dogs:

  • Akita
  • Bulldog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Boxer
  • Bullmastiff
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Great Dane
  • Rottwheiler
  • Saint Bernard
  • Thai Ridgeback.

While some larger breeds automatically lend themselves to being good watchdogs, some small or medium-sized dogs are also good to get for general protection. American Staffordshire terriers and boxers are medium-sized breeds that make wonderful watch and guard dogs. If you are interested in breeding your dog, you”ll want to buy a purebred, but never underestimate the love of a good mutt.

Before you go to a breeder to purchase a dog, consider adopting a dog from an animal shelter or the Humane Society. Countless numbers of wonderful dogs are abandoned at shelters each year. Although some of these abandoned dogs have been abused and may require special care, others are already trained and just need a good home. Most shelters will update shots and take care of any medical issues the pup may have prior to putting him up for adoption.

Owning a Dog

One of the primary concerns involved with owning a dog is exercise. The size of your dog will generally dictate how much exercise he needs. Although bigger dogs often require more exercise, a pooch may have a condition that limits the amount of exercise he should get. Either way, exercise is good for both you and your dog.

Time is another real consideration for you and your dog. How much time do you have to commit to a relationship? While many breeds can be independent, others require serious quality time. If you travel often, decide if it might be wise to bring your dog with you. The United States is becoming more and more dog friendly, and it”s getting easier to find a place where both you and your pooch can stay. While many dog-friendly hotels welcome your pet, business travelers may have to put their dog in a kennel or hire a dog sitter during their absence.

As a dog gets older, every owner will have to prepare for its death. When that time comes, you may wish to call your local Humane Society to see if they offer a pet-loss support group. Grieving over a pet is common and that understanding has helped to create pet-loss support groups in many American cities.

If you have a child who also is having difficulty coping with the death of your dog, you could help them understand by preparing a memorial for the dog. Children can become confused about the loss of a pet and that, compounded with grief, can be very difficult. Be truthful with your child. Creating a memorial will help youngsters understand what has happened and will offer them a place where they can go to “visit” their old friend. Grieving is a process: The best way to get through it is to express your grief.