Did you do thorough research to make sure I am the breed for you, and not just picked me on my looks (charming though my looks might be). Please don't buy me from a pet shop, puppy mills are not kind to dogs or careful in their breeding, and that is where pet shop puppies come from. Find a local responsible breeder, or adopt me from a rescue organization, or your local animal shelter.
Are you home enough so I don't spend all of my time alone? (you are my life, I want to be with you)
Do you feed me a good quality, nutritious diet? So many dogs get cancer and other illnesses from too many additives and food coloring.
Do you take me to the Vet when I don't feel well? (even though I might not want to go) You can make it a better experience for me by feeding me really good treats that I just can't resist.
Do I have regular health check-ups?
Have you considered pet health insurance. There are many different companies that offer this, and it can really help with the Vet bills.
Do you give me the exercise I need every day? (I don't mean to get the zoomies in the living room, I just need to run....)
Do you exercise me in a safe enclosed place.? (I don't understand that cars can hurt me)
Do you let me play with other dog's? (one of my favorite things, and I do need to keep up with speaking dog)
Do you take me with you to different places to meet lot's of new people? (I like this so much, I love to make new friends)
Do you train me so I can understand what I can and cannot do? (humans can be so confusing, even though I love you)
Do you use positive methods to train me? (please don't yell at me, hit me, or choke me, so scary)
Do I live inside the house, where I am warm and safe? (please don't tie me in the yard, or keep me outside all day, I'm just a homebody)
Do you provide me with safe things I can chew on? (I need toys, don't mean to use your slippers as one, I just couldn't find anything else)
Do you brush and care for my coat? (I hate when I get matted, it hurts!)
Do you bathe me when I need it? (even though I might roll in that goose poop, I do like being clean)
Do you make sure the children don't disturb me when I am sleeping? I could overreact if startled.
Do you make sure your children don't fall or sit on me, that can hurt and scare me.
Do you keep the children away when I eat, everyone likes to enjoy their meal in peace. If they want to come near, give them really good treats to put in my bowl, then I will welcome them around my food.
Do you leave me unsupervised with the children, although I love children, I am a dog after all, and need supervision.
Do you teach your kids not to pick me up? If I am a small dog, they could drop me. I also don't like to be picked up all of the time, after all, I am a dog, not a stuffed animal.
Do you let your kids tease me by running around and getting me all excited, if I get too excited, I can become nippy.
Do you teach your children good ways to play with me, through toys, tug of war, fetch, hide and seek, and go find the cookie. I love to play with them, but it is better if it is structured and supervised, otherwise I can get overstimulated and wild.
Do you expect the children to be responsible for training me. They really can't, I need an adult to teach me. Kids can be inconsistent and confusing, so then I don't get trained at all.
Do you have a method that works to housetrain me? Please don't leave me in the crate all day, I need time to play and be with my family. Please watch me when I am learning not to soil the house, I needs lots of supervision so I can figure out what you expect of me. Don't leave me in my crate past my physical limits, if you work all day, you will need a dog walker if I am a puppy. I need to go potty as much as you do, and when I am a baby, that is a lot of potty breaks.
Do you let me sleep in your bedroom at night when I am little, this way I can tell you when I need to go out, and I won't cry from lonliness.
Do you feel a real sense of responsibility toward me, will you stick it out with me if I have some problems, and get the help of a dog trainer if it is something you don't understand how to fix. Please don't let me end up at the pound, they might kill me. And even if they don't, the more homes I have, the harder it will be for me to be a good dog (being abandoned by people you love can really mess with your mind).
Do you feel such love and gratitude for the loyal and loving companion that I have been, that you will be there at the end of my life to make my passing not so scary. Being held in your arms makes all the difference. I am like people, I don't want to die alone.
If you can do all of these things, you are a great future or current dog owner. Responsible, kind, and you have done your research and understand dog's and how they think and learn. Owners like you are a gift and a blessing, God bless, and thank you.
Written by Linda Lukens. Linda has been a trainer for more than 34 years. She shares her life with her husband, four cats, 3 dogs, a Blue and Gold macaw, and a pond full of Koi.
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http://www.commongrounddogtraining.com AND WITH PERMISSION FROM THE A\UTHOR, LlNDA LUKENS