Dogs - What better topic to kick off the Quick Start series than about Dogs themselves!
Ok, we all know what dogs are, but have we all thought about the implications of owning a dog? Caring for a dog? The cost of owning a dog? The dogís vet fees? The dogís food bill? The cost of kennelling a dog when we go on holiday? Dog insurance even?
Quite a lot to think about isnít it? Before embarking on a journey to bring a dog into our lives we need to know just what it is exactly we are taking on. Dogs by their very nature are rarely house friendly - as puppies they love nothing more than a good chew on something(!), and a dog canít differentiate between your £200 Gucci shoes or your partnerís smelly gym trainers. They donít mean to, but they can also break things whilst fooling around (those wagging tails can wreak havoc!) and they have no real concept of right and wrong, though thankfully you can train them to an acceptable level (but it does take time and effort). They tend not to wipe their muddy paws when they come in and actually, donít really mind being dirty and smelly at all! Above all they donít speak our language - so it means youíre going to have to learn a bit of theirsÖ
Not put off yet? Good! Sounds like you are well on the way to accepting all the little things that make dogs dogs. These are just a few things to consider before getting a dogÖ unfortunately so many people return their dogs to dog homes because they hadnít really sat down and thought about what dog ownership really entailed. Please donít add to the statistics and please don't expect a perfect puppy right out of the box - they need you to put the time and effort in to train them to an acceptable level... do the homework on training before you need it, you'll be glad you did.
So, what else do you need to consider? Well, to begin with, dogs need walking, preferably at least twice a day (yes, even if itís raining or snowing - we may not always feel up to it, but they will!). They need somewhere to poo and pee and, if they poo on a public highway you are legally obliged to pick it up and dispose of itÖ if you donít, and get caught, you could end up with a hefty fine! Dogs also need to wear an ID tag or collar whenever out in public, and as the owner, you are directly responsible for your dogís actionsÖ so if your dog bites someone, you could end up in court or prison, and worse, your dog could be put to sleep.
Still with us?
Still not put off? Fantastic! You are well and truly on your way to Dogdom! Donít forget, do as much research as you can before getting your dog as you really do need to know what you are letting yourself in for. The fact that you are reading this shows that you are already on the right track (so well done!) and there are lots of other quick start guides to read through. If you have any specific questions about dog ownership, just register an account with our dog forums (itís free!) and go ahead and ask Ė we have thousands of friendly dog loving members, many who have owned dogs for many years, all willing to share their views, opinions and experiences.
Well, Good luck! Owing a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences ever - they give you their all and expect little back. They are there in the good times as well as the bad. But itís not always easy being a dog owner, and it is certainly not without responsibility Ė there are many things you must first consider or do to ensure you and your dog can live a happy, healthy and fulfilling lifeÖ and hopefully our Quick Start Guides will help you on your way.