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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday's "Living With Your Pet" Tips: Choosing, Assimilating and Training Your New Shelter Dog

         Fabulous photo of me by John Clark of Clark Creative

We think these tips from Modern Dog magazine on how to choose and train your new family member (who just happens to be from a shelter) are terrific. Consistent behavior from the human and lots of exercise, training and affection for the dog will help your furry buddy seamlessly adjust to his or her new life.

Charming illustration by Kim Smith, courtesy of Modern Dog magazine

But one of the biggest mistakes we think people make when choosing a new pet, from the shelter, or breeder for that matter, is not assessing their lifestyle and home environment before adding a new pet to the mix. For example, are you really able to accommodate the exercise and enrichment needs of a working dog breed? Do you have the disciplinary (pack leader) skills to control a powerful breed dog? Are you neurotically neat and clean, so that a dog that sheds will leave you frazzled-or exhausted from constant vacuuming (ahem, Parental Unit)? These are just some of the questions that you must discuss, with yourself (go ahead and answer yourself, too!) and with all other family members-remember that everyone in the household is part of the dog's pack and will look to each of you for guidance as well as love.

And how do we "know" these things, such that we feel comfortable spouting off about what you should and should not do with your dog? Well, Parental Unit has made her share of mistakes with her past four-legged companions (note many of the above), and sees some of her friends making these same mistakes and having the same problems, despite the tons of new information available. So spread the good word about educating yourself and assessing your lifestyle before you bring a new family member into your home-it's guaranteed to help!



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