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How to Raise the Perfect Puppy

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Choosing a family dog can be a tough decision when you realize how many different dog types and breeds that have proliferated over thousands of years.  This wide variety gives you plenty to research – unless you already have the pet of your dreams in mind – when you decide to adopt a new puppy. Here are considerations to help you find and raise the perfect pet.

Purpose of a Pet

Some people want playful dogs to add excitement to their lives, while others simply have a natural ability to communicate with animals. There are many other reasons to own a pet, but whatever your reason is, you must take responsibility to ensure not only the dog’s safety, but the safety of others, especially children. Even if you decide to raise a “watch dog,” you need to create a friendly environment for your dog so that they treat guests kindly.

Once you determine the reason for having a pet, your next move should be to explore animal shelters. It may help to make a list and call it something like “kennels and their puppies for sale near me.” This type of list can help you save time and money, as you accelerate your research on dog availability and prices. Be sure to ask yourself if you are in a good financial position to provide food, medical and other care for the dog.

Decide Your Puppy Type and Breed

Some dogs are pure breeds, while others are cross-breeds or mixed breeds. Today there are 339 pure dog breeds recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), also known as the World Canine Organization. These breeds are divided into the following 10 groups, based on purpose, appearance or size:

  1. Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (besides Swiss Cattle/Herding Dogs)
  2. Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossid, Swiss Mountain/Cattle Dogs
  3. Terriers
  4. Daschunds
  5. Spitz and Primitive Types
  6. Scenthounds and similar breeds
  7. Pointers and Setters
  8. Retrievers
  9. Companion/Toy Dogs
  10. Sighthounds

These 10 breeds are further divided into subgroups based on geographic origin, where there is usually a breed organization for the dog. Certain countries are responsible for creating specific dog breeds, but sometimes country names of dogs are inconsistent with where the breed originated. So try to educate yourself on your breed selection to develop a better understanding of your dog. Here is a partial list of popular puppies:

  • Boston Terrier
  • Cavachon
  • Dachshunds
  • Havanese
  • Lhasa-Poo
  • Maltese
  • Morkies
  • Poo-chon
  • Shih Tzu
  • Shorkies
  • Yochon
  • Yorkies

Training Your Puppy

You will probably want your puppy to an upbeat lifestyle, since that’s one of the main attractions to dogs. But keep in mind dogs can be very messy animals, so if you have expensive items to protect, such as carpet, rugs and furniture, it pays to train your dog to adapt to people world. The major keys to successful dog training are consistency, patience and positive reinforcement.

Usually it takes at least four to six months to house train a puppy, but for some dogs it may take twice as long. Previous living conditions and bladder size are key factors that will help you predict the time frame for proper training. Small bladders mean more frequent “bathroom” or outdoor elimination experiences. Offering rewards such as treats for good behavior help speed up the learning curve. Here are essential house training steps:

  1. confine the dog to a space, such as a room or crate
  2. give the puppy more freedom as he or she learns proper elimination
  3. develop a regular feeding schedule
  4. restrict access to food between meals
  5. take the dog to a designated elimination site after waking up, throughout the day and before sleep

It’s best to avoid punishing your dog if he or she has an “accident” because then they develop fear of their master. Clapping loudly followed by taking the dog to the “bathroom” area is a more effective alternative. Once again, treats are a great form of positive reinforcement.

When it comes to animals, there is such a thing as perfect pets. A perfect pet is the one that brings you, your family and visitors happiness without hassles. Find a kennel that offers the puppy you desire then give your pet the attention and care it needs – along with rewards – to establish a great relationship.


Farewell, Sweet Friend

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Sorry for the radio silence this week! I felt like I needed a couple personal days before returning. I promise this will be my last Rocky post. Next week I’ll be back with more of the regular financial/work/life posts. So indulge me in just this last one.

The short story is that we said farewell to our sweet furry friend on Wednesday.

It still kind of blows my mind how quickly things went downhill.

Last Monday we were at the vet for a routine check-up. We literally had NO CLUE anything was wrong with our fur-baby. He had recently stopped jumping up on our bed, but I thought it was due to arthritis. He’s a large dog and 11 years old, so it didn’t alarm me that he was showing potential signs of joint problems. Plus, they were real recent. I thought it was no big deal.

Then last Wednesday we got official word that it WAS, in fact, a big deal. Rocky wouldn’t be around for much longer.

By Thursday morning it was like a flip had been switched and Rocky was SICK. I mean, he was really ill. We were told he might make it 3-6 weeks, but literally the day after the diagnosis he immediately stopped eating and drinking, stopped moving around much at all, and started vomiting multiple times per day. I don’t know the dog’s mind, but I think it’s reasonable to believe that he realized something was wrong with him and he gave himself permission to give into the disease that was ravaging his body (he’d been to the dog doctor twice within a single week, and we left with me sobbing my eyes out. Doesn’t take genius-level reasoning skills to know something is not good). I hired a photographer to come take some final family photos, but the soonest she could get out wasn’t until Tuesday and I was worried Rocky wouldn’t make it that long. So after a serious day of illness all day last Thursday, on Friday I started talking to Rocky and telling him what was going on. I told him that he needed to hold on for a few more days. And again, overnight, he seemed better. Well…better-ish.

He started moving around more, resumed eating and drinking, and stopped vomiting. To be fair though, he never did eat dog food again. Our vet literally said “feed him cheeseburgers” (just basically to say he could have whatever/we didn’t need to put him on a special diet). So during his last week he enjoyed pizza, quesadillas, peanut butter sandwiches, and Sonoran hot dogs. All of his favorite foods!

We had our photos done on Tuesday afternoon. I’ve only seen some initial images, but I do think there were some good ones. I’m still kind of sad because you can definitely SEE that Rocky wasn’t feeling well. I don’t think the photos accurately reflect his spunky personality because, at the point of the photos, he was just barely hanging on (in my own mind, he only made it this long because he loves me and I was asking him to hold on). Even so, there were some good ones that I’ll cherish forever. As a surprise, the photographer only charged us $100. It was a very short session (about 20 minutes) because Rocky really wasn’t feeling up to it and the girls kept having melt-downs (not about Rocky, but just the general run-of-the-mill toddler tantrums).

Wednesday morning, the girls went to their last day of preschool and Rocky went back to the vet one final time. Only this time, hubs and I came home empty-handed. I know it was the right time. Almost immediately after our photos on Tuesday night, Rocky showed signs of serious illness again. He refused food and water and resumed throwing up.

I’m telling you….I don’t even know that I believe in that stuff. And yet…it feels like there’s something to it. He was holding on just for me/for those pictures. When they were done…so was he.

I’m heartbroken and sad, of course. But I also feel at peace, knowing it was his time to go. I also like knowing that he had a full lifetime of many wonderful memories and lots and lots of love, hugs, and attention.

I want to thank you all so much for your comments, kindness, and virtual hugs. I really did feel each one! I also loved your tips!

A few of you suggested doing a doggy paw print mold. And thanks to the magic of Amazon Prime, I was able to get this package mailed same day this past weekend. I had Rocky do the mold imprint the same day. I haven’t actually matted it yet, so the picture below is just kind of sitting there (not properly matted and framed), but this gives you an idea of how it will look. This picture is one from 5 years ago at our baby shower for the girls!! I may end up replacing it with one of the professional photos but I love this shot because his eyes are so bright and he looks so happy (he was in the middle of playing ball, his favorite past-time). On the side with the paw print mold, I also plan to mount his name-tag (a bone-shaped tag saying “Rocky” with our phone number).  I LOVE it and I never would have thought of this idea on my own. It was only $20 and I think it was $20 well spent, in my opinion. Thank you to those of you who suggested this idea!

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Again, thank you for your kindness. If you aren’t a pet person I know how crazy this all seems. Before we had Rocky, I always thought people who referred to their pets as “babies” were a little weird. No offense! But when we got Rocky I totally became one of “those” people! Hands down! He’s been a huge part of my life the last 11 years! I got him when I was only 21 years old so he has been around for a significant chunk of my life! I know I will miss him always, but my heart will heal.

I hope you all have a great rest of the week and weekend. Thank you for indulging me in these Rocky-heavy posts the past week. Writing has always been healing for me, so I feel like I really needed to write about it as a way to help process the emotions (plus, there have been some serious financial implications, too!) I’ll see you all on Monday with a more “typical” post. Have a great weekend!

 

 


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