Dogs Choosing a dog for a pet needs careful thought. It isn’t enough to decide, “That’s for me!’ when a friendly puppy in a pet shop rolls his eyes at you and licks your hand. What you have to consider is the size he will reach, the amount of exercise he’ll need, and the amount he is likely to eat. You also have to make up your mind whether the desire to have a dog is just a passing lancy or a teeling that will remain, for when you have bought or been given a dog not only does that dog belong to you, but you belong to him. Dogs have as intense a feeling of loyalty as do human beings, and an unwanted dog lecls just as lost as an unwanted person does.
There are many breeds from which to choose a dog that suits your requirements; or you may preter a mongrel to a pedigree pup. Your local dogs’ home will be able to help you there. Remember that a large dog can be an encumbrance in a flat or a small house-and his food bills will be high. A dog bred for an active open-air life may be unhappy in a town. So think it over carefully before making your choice.
As soon as you get your dog, buy him a licence if he is over Six months old. This can be obtained at any Post Office. It is against the law to keep a dog without a licence.
He will need a box or basket. Dog baskets are rather expensive, but a comfortable box can be made out of scrap wood without any difficult carpentry. Make it big enough for him to move about in and to stretch in his sleep, yet cosy enough to keep himwarm.The box should be in a corner Iree trom draughts, and should be linded with several newspapers to keep in the warmth. On top of these he should have an old rug or blanket, or, alternatively, an old eiderdown. Don’t just give him a pillow: most dogs like to rol themselves up in their bedding, just as many of us do. The bedding should be taken out of doors and shaken every day or two and the newspaper changed at frequent intervals.If you have a garden and your dog IS able to get plenty of exercise in it, then one short walk every day should be all he needs. Except in country districts, this should prelerably be on lead.He will probably be untrained when you first get him.
Training needs patience, and il it seems to take a long time,remember that the training of a human baby takes far longer, It will help your puppy it you can start off with a regular routine of meals, walks and grooming.
At first, puppies need to be let out of doors every two or three hours during the day. A few messes indoors must be expected, and the dog which learns quickly is the one which is praised for attending to his needs out of doors rather than the one which is punished for making a mess in the hall.
Teach your dog to ‘come to heel’ when taken out of doors without a lead. A little perseverance should make him completely obedient to your orders. A disobedient dog is less to blame than his owner, for a dog naturally regards man as his master and disobeys only when that master no longer deserves respect. To earn that respect, you have to be absolutely consistent about discipline. If your dog is punished or spoken to sharply for making a mess on the pavements then he must always be punished or spoken to sharply for it. Ifhe is praised
when he comes to heel promptly, then he must always be praised. Above all, he must never be punished without knowing why.
Grooming needs vary for diferent breeds of dogs. Short-haired dogs need only a brisk rub-down from time to time with a rough towel or a brush; long-haired varieties need more frequent attention, with a steel comb and stiff brush. Your dog should be taught to look forward to this as a regular habit and
should be complimented on his smartness afterwards.
Washing need not be frequent for most breeds and should be done either with ordinary toilet soap or with dog soap sold by
your pet-shop. Don’t use kitchen soap, as the soda will harm his coat as well as irritate the pores of his skin. The temperature of the water should be moderate. Immediately after his bath your dog should be very thoroughly dried, otherwise he’ll undertake this himself and in doing so probably make himself dirtier than he was before.
A dog’s diet should consist of about a half ounce of meat for each pound of his weight,as well as about the same amount of
cereal and vegetable matter. The quantities required must be adjusted according tothe amount of exercise the dog gets. It is as important not to over-feed as it is not to under-feed, as over-feeding brings about various stomach troubles.
Meat should not be overcooked, and many dogs prefer it raw, Bones, carefully chosen in order to avoid those which may cause injury through sharp splinters, are used by most dogs more as playthings than as a source of food, and to com-pensate a dog for the lack of mineral from bones he should be given a small amount of ground bone-meal in his diet.
A puppy should be fed four or five times a day, but by the time a dog is fully grown he should be fed only one main meal a day and should know the exact time at which to expect his food. Your dog should always have access to fresh water.