Your kid doesn’t want a dog!!!

I was telling few co-workers that I got a puppy. One of the people I was having a conversation with said that she would like o get a dog for her kid. She would like her ten-year old to walk the dog and to have something to be responsible for. My response “Your kid doesn’t want a dog!!!” shocked her.

I’ve had this conversation with people many times. The assumption is that the kid will be happy to go for daily walks with the dog and will be enjoy everything with it. It is based on the fact that the child is constantly asking for a dog and is so happy to play with puppies.

However, the sad reality is that kids get bored and lose interest in pets quickly, especially once the puppy has grown into an adult dog and is not as cute or as much fun anymore. What kids, and often parents, don’t realize is that taking care of the dog is a mandatory daily exercise and is not a fun thing you do once in a while. A dog requires training, care and finances. All those things are required throughout the dog life and not just in the beginning … few vet visits, few puppy classes and few toys … And you’re done.

No you are not!

The child grows up and loses interest and the puppy becomes a dog and is not a cute little toy anymore. Even when the puppy is little, it is not a toy. Kids learn quickly that the dog doesn’t like being used as a toy and often the consequences of kids not being taught how to behave with a puppy result in the dog being given away or even worst, destroyed, because it bit the child, who was abusive and rough.

The consequence of the child wanting a dog is that the parent has to take responsibility for daily walks and exercise. The result is usually a grumpy dad who resents going out for those evening walks after work or frustrated mom who has to get up earlier in the morning to walk and feed the dog. The dog, as a result, get a quick frustrated walk around the block and maybe a nice walk on a weekend. There is also a possible access to the backyard where the dog is left to its own imagination and wrecks havoc in frustration.

So do not get the dog for your kid!!! (Some kids are an exception. I got my Doberman at 13 years old and spend every waking moment with it … walking, training and playing. However, I have always been obsessed about dogs.)

Get a dog if you as an adult want to have a dog and are willing to dedicate time to train and exercise with it. Your kids will benefit greatly from living with and caring for a pet, but they will not take care of it! I believe having a dog is one of the greatest experiences out there! However, most people only like the idea of a dog in the house and not the actual responsibility of having a dog.

So, do not buy a dog because your kid saw one in pet store or had fun playing with it in a park or friends house!

Make a responsible and mature decision!

Chances are neither you or your kid really want to have a dog!!!

 

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A little bit of training

We have been working on come, sit, down and leash walking. All is done with lots of praise and encouraged with food. We do randomly about 20-40 minutes a day of training in between walks and play.

It is paying off and here is a short clip of Dexter doing Sit and holding the position while I walk away about 25 feet. On command he comes to me into come/sit position.

There is no magic to this. All it takes is patience, praise and desire to spend time with your dog.

Dexter is learning how to speak cat … aka not to bite Monya’s tail

We have been working on learning not to chase the cat every time. Dexter’s favorite thing is to run up and grab the tail, but Monya is not a fan. So we are working on hanging out together without chasing or biting.

These are important skills for Dexter to learn for peaceful co-existence with his buddy.

As an owner, even though it is quiet entertaining to watch their antics, it is my responsibility to teach Dexter proper etiquette with the cat and other smaller animals. Very soon he will be much bigger and stronger and bad learned behaviors can lead to lots of headache and conflicts.

Socialize and teach early!!!

Raw food vs Dry food Costs

I am seriously considering going with raw food option for Dexter.

Here is him trying it for the first time… To say the least, it was a success

It has been 3 days and we are doing kibble (Taste of the Wild Salmon) in the morning and raw Bravo Turkey Blend in the evening as a transition process. I do see qualities of raw food that many people speak of. Dexter’s stool is more solid and he is drinking less water after he eats raw. There hasn’t been enough time yet to make a better evaluation, but so far there has been no negative side effects.

However, an important aspect of going with raw (pre-manufactured, not home-made) option is the cost. Especially for a large breed it could be substantial even with kibble, but raw comes out even more.

Here is a breakdown of costs kibble vs raw:

Taste of the Wild Salmon 30 Lb = 120 cups $40.79 s/h http://amzn.com/B0018CIP6K

According to the manufacturer, Dexter requires at the age of 6-12 weeks about 2 and 1/2 cups a day. As an adult at the weight of 110 lb, he will require about 5 cup per day.

Thus, simple math shows that a 30 lb bag would last me about 48 days now and about 24 days when he is an adult. The cost of feeding is about $1 a day now and about $1.70 later.

Bravo Original Formula Turkey Blend  from PetFoodDirect.com 2lb Chub $6.01 s/h

According to the manufacturer, Dexter requires at this age about 0.56 lb a day. As an adult, at the weight of 110 lb, he will require about 2.5 lb per day average.

Thus, same period as a bag of food would last me, raw food for Dexter would cost me about $80 ($1.66 per day) and about $180 (about $7.50 per day) when he is fully grown

So the cost of raw food is about double the price for the puppy (or small dog) and almost 4.5 times more for an adult large breed (Cane Corso) dog.

48 days of food for puppy

Dry high end kibble food – $40.79 (aprox. $1/day)

Bravo Raw – $80 (aprox. $1.66/day)

24 days of food for adult

Dry high end kibble food – $40.79 (aprox. $1.70/day)

Bravo Raw – $180 (aprox. $7.50/day)

Obviously, it is a lot more expensive to feed raw, especially for an adult large mastiff breed. If raw food delivers all the health benefits claimed by pro raw food community, then the argument is easily won for the favor of raw diet. The vet bills to deal with skin, coat, allergy and digestive issues can be very high. Many dogs with food allergies end up on special vet diets, which can be nearly as expensive as raw.

Aside the costs, dogs health and well-being is a major concern and if raw will prevent all of the above mentioned health issues then, again, the pro-raw argument is easily no-brainer.

I am not arguing here one way or the other. There are great quality kibble foods out there (nearly 100% grain free; grain is usually one of the main concerns in kibble food). I think a conclusive ruling on raw vs kibble is still out there. I am leaning towards raw.

Raw also presents a storage issue as it requires fridge space which can be difficult if you live in an apartment (like I do) and do not have space for extra fridge.  I will have to buy a mini-fridge to store food for Dexter.

Here is an article from WebMD discussing raw diet for dogs.

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/raw-dog-food-dietary-concerns-benefits-and-risks

I would love to hear back from people about their raw vs kibble experiences and opinions.

4 Tips for Socializing a Sick Puppy

Nice article.
The same thinking can be applied to puppies who haven’t received all their shots and are not allowed to go for normal walks. Most people keep the puppy at home or backyard. However, I believe, they are loosing valuable and essential socialization period of dog’s life. Some people, due to lack of shots and advice of the vet do not take puppies out in public until 4 months. At this point the dog is already forming it’s view on the world and have missed 2 months of essential socialization. Thus, as article shows, there are ways to socialize the pup even if it cannot be exposed to other dogs and people.
I have been socializing Dexter by taking him on short walks in the areas away from dogs, but exposed to people, cars and city noises.

Paws Abilities

I could tell something wasn’t right with foster pup Cranberry minutes after bringing him home. As he coughed and wheezed, my mind instantly turned to socialization.

Socialization is a bit of an emergency with any puppy, but even more so if your puppy is ill. Cranberry’s cough and runny nose severely limited the number of places he could safely be taken, and since he didn’t feel well it was important to keep socialization sessions very short so as not to tax his limited energy reserved or already-stressed immune system.

cranberrysleep

The early experiences a puppy has, both good and bad, shape who that puppy becomes. Along with your puppy’s genetic package, socialization experiences form your pup’s opinions about new people, places, sounds, sights, and other animals. The socialization window – that magical period of time when puppies are especially open to new experiences – begins to close around twelve…

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