I was never allowed a dog as a child - despite wanting one dearly, and so consequently due to unfamiliarity was more than a little scared. It didn't help I suppose always being old "don't touch it - it will bite"!. However I always wanted a dog of my own, and so the first thing I did when I got my own place was start to look for a puppy. My uncle had a collie and so did a friend and so after some research into the breed I decided I wanted a collie. As it was my first pup, it had to be perfect. I wanted a long haired black and white 8 week old border collie, and it was harder than I thought. Someone in my area had some advertised and when I went to see them, was mesmerized by their cuteness. It was the first time ever I had seen or held a puppy, and tried to drown the alarm bells ringing in my head! The "mother and father" a black and white dog and red merle bitch, in a kennel yet the pups were in a shed outside and separate. I wanted one of the girls....but still alarm bells were ringing. They were tiny, and yet a collie is quite a big dog. The second time I went to see them, the lady had friends round, her son and his friend. She looked in the shed and said "whose puppies are these" the woman looked shift and said "theirs" she said "oh, these aren't the same ones as last week" the woman, by now looking murderous said yeah they've just grown". By now my ears where burning! The woman moved away from us talking to her son, the girl looked in again and said to me "nope them are not the same ones". That was it! I walked out! My nigling suspicions were confirmed and again more so after research into the photo on my phone showed they were border terriers, not collies. The woman still has ads now! Clearly she is running some puppy farm. I feel so upset for the people who had bought collie pups but would grow into terriers.
My next visit took me on a two hour journey, my friend spoke to the guy advertising as he was a farmer and bit intimidating. My friend described exactly what I wanted, and the farmer said that he would bring a selection up to the house. Two hours later, we arrived. The farmers wife greeted us, she said the farmer was still down at the farm but he brought a girl pup up. I was horrified. It was huge. Not 8 weeks, and had the biggest legs. It was cowering in the back of the van! She dragged it out. I couldn't even hold her. She was so terrified, and so was I. I didn't see the mother, or the rest of the litter, and she was terrified clearly had never been stroked or anything. A typical unwanted farmers litter. If I had had more experience I would have taken her, but couldn't.
I was fed up! I spent every minute searching all the ads online and in the papers and felt despairing. I thought I'd never find one. And just as I had given up a new ad flashed up. A black and white pup, had a pink spot on its nose, pedigree, was first chosen the the couple coldness take him. I rang and spoke to a lovely lady. It took 3 hours to get there! I have never been so happy. The lady had bred the bitch again a repeat litter as the first had been so successful. She lived in a large house with loads of land, and like myself had a menagerie of animals, including sheep, chickens, ducks, and a fox. All rescues. I was so happy, we walked into the field and 5 little bundles ran up to me. I knew which one was mine straight away. He had a little spot on his nose. It was so meant to be.
I named him Beau and he is my best friend.
One thing I want to make people aware of, is yes they are hard work, and yes they are harder than you think , and yes the cute pups grow into dogs. There are so many reviews about this, and I have written a few myself, what I wanted to convey in this review is the origin of your pup/dog is very very important. Alot of people now breed dogs for money. Unethically so. I'd recommend either checking a rescue local to you (I did that first) and then a reputable breeder! Always see the pup with its litter and its parents - or at least its mother!
I've always loved dogs. Some of my first memories are about family pets and i just dont think childhood is complete without a canine companion, so here are my thoughts on dogs as pets.
A dog is a constant companion, both for children an adults. Responsible dog ownership certainly encourages excercise. We heard the other day the average owner of gym membership escercises 5 hours a week. The average dog walker excercises 7. I also think pets help children learn responsibility and caring for other living things, although of course the parents have ultimate responsibility for any pet brought in. Pets also provide a release valve for children in difficult times, its a place to spill out all their troubles without judgement and always have a sympathetic ear, even if the dog doesnt understand a word.
The bad : Vet bills, illnesses, and of course the inevitable heartbreak when you must say goodbye. Also a good dog requires time and effort.
All puppies chew, but a bored pup locked indoors all day will chew much more. Dogs who are not given adequate attention tend to eb a nuisance one way another, through chewing, barking or general misbehaviour.
If you really have not got the time to spend with an animal, a dog is a bad choice, and no matter how much the kids promise to do everything, if you aren't willing to guarantee that it gets done, I wouldnt take a dog.
The ugly: My pet peeve is the growing use of dogs as fashion accessories. From the chihuaha in designer to clothes to the pitbull with a 7 lb chain on his neck, the needs of the animal are not considered, just how it will make the owner look. If you want something to give you a different look, get a neckalace and hand bag or tattoo please.
The worst is many are discarded if they dont grow up to have the perfect look, or if they look right, because the fashion changes, or becasue the owner had no concept of the problems that might ensue with a dog with no training or proper socialisation. I have recently seen ads looking to swap a dog of one breed for whatever the current fad of the moment is with no more thought then you would swap an old hat. I've seen a "fully trained attack dog" offered free to anyone who would take him as the owner wasnt into that anymore. Dogs are living feeling beings not the latest fad item.
And finally, if you are looking for a pup, think for awhile if a dog would suit you instead? There are so many in pounds shelters and rescues including a great many purebred dogs if you fancy a specific breed. I adopted mine a few months ago. She had some serious behaviour issues and we believe she was trained to hunt fox and badger and then got a bit much to handle. Still she has come along remarkabley and happily adjusted to being a family pet. She is great with kids, old enough to walk and train right away, and we didnt have to go through housebreaking or chewing!
Even if you are set on a pup, contacting a rescue for that breed is a great idea. They are more likely to give you an honest assessment of difficulties with that breed then many breeders as they dont stand to make any money from you. Also be sure to research the breed thoroughly and choose not just for looks, but a dog that will fit into your lifestyle.
Below is my experience of owning my two dogs; -
The first thing I think you should be asking yourself when looking to get a puppy / dog is why you want one. If you are to be totally honest with yourself and decide that you want one because they are cute and fun to have around then think harder!
I have two dogs, one who has just turned 2, and a 1 year old. My eldest is infact the smallest, he's a Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier cross. I found him advertised on the internet and when I called up to see if he was still there they told me he was the last one left and that I could go and visit him.
Along we went and just as we sat down, the breeder bought this scared looking tiny puppy over to me. I was worried that there was something wrong with him as he seemed very timid but after about 2 minutes he got used to me and livened up jumping up and taking in the strange new scent that he was experiencing. Now at first I wasn't going to have him, purely because he looked timid as these can lead to problems as the dog gets older, but he was only scared because he hadn't seen us before and as soon as he got confident I fell in love with him.
The things to look out for at the breeders -
Can you see both parents, even being able to see one is better than none at all, I wouldn't buy a dog without seeing at least one of the parents. Plus, being a cross, I wanted to make sure that he was actually crossed with the dogs that they stated.
Does the dog look well looked after and healthy. Are the dogs eyes clear and free from conjunctivitis? Is his tail wagging and is he taking an interest in the new people that have walked into his house? Is their bedding area clean and do his paws look fine and free from infection. A quick look over the dog will tell you if he's well looked after but you should always take a new puppy to the vet to get them registered and have them checked over, even if the breeder assures you that they have already been.
So, with the puppy on my lap we headed to his new home where we have a bed prepared and all the puppy accessories that you need. We also had a small soft toy as they recommend that you place this in the puppies bed so that he feels like he has a companion. I knew he would be restless but I wasn't prepared for the night ahead, a little tip, get the puppy on a night when you don't have work the next day! He squealed all night in a very high pitched tone, whimpering for his mother and siblings. It is very very hard not to just go and pick them up and cuddle them but this is so important not to do, start as you mean to go on else the dog will cry for a much longer period if it knows it will get attention. Eventually they will tire and sleep.
The next morning 'Toby' was lively and inquizitive. Be careful what you have in reach of the puppy as their curiousness will get the better of them and you could end up with the item being torn up!
To toilet train we bought Toby puppy pads which are basically square pads made from absorbant material that you can adhese to the floor. There is something in the scent of these that lead the puppy to want to 'go to the toilet' on them. Once he goes in the correct place then praise the puppy and make a big fuss of him.
Now there are numerous ways to toilet train a puppy but we found this most effective, we'd move the pads closer and closer to the back door a week at a time until we saw Toby head for them and then we'd open the back door and go outside with him to 'do his business'. Then praise the dog again for going outside. Continue to do this until the puppy eventually waits at the door to be let out, continue to praise when he gives you this signal.
You can also teach tricks to the dogs by rewarding them with a small treat when they are learning and when they do it correctly. This will give them a positive impression of doing what they are told.
When Toby was one, we had another puppy, Kaiser the Patterdale terrier. Now they are very different in nature, Kaiser is now Alpha dog as he has grown double the size of Toby. Toby eventually accepted this after a fight and Toby had his ear cut which scared him as the tips of dogs ears bleed a LOT! Toby is now a very well behaved dog, Kaiser is still a work in progress! We had problems with Kaiser chewing the sofa so badly that it had to be replaced and he still have the odd 'accident' in the house which is not acceptable for a one year old, but it just goes to show how every dog is different. I would advise you to look into every aspect of the breed before choosing your companion as characteristics are more often than not true to the breed e.g destructiveness, aggressiveness etc.
I would recommend having a dog if you have the time to spend with them, are willing to make some sacrefices and prepare to make way for a dog in your life. They do take a lot of consideration as there will be some changes in your life, if you are someone that travels often it may not suit your lifestyle, and you must be prepared for the vets bills if and when they need treatment.
Toby recently developed an ulcer in his eye due to a cat scratch, he had to have various eye drops and pain killers which came to £100 in total! £100 for a cat scratch! Make sure you get insurance for your dog, you can get some good deals including cashback if you go through cashback websites such as Quidco.
Overall a dog is a mans best friend and I love my two to bits!
Oscar dog food
My friend first introduced me to oscars pet food, It seems to be a word of mouth company and not available to buy in the shops which is unfortunate.
I got the phone number for my local representative, gave her a phone and we arranged a convient time for her to come and tell me about the product. After a taste test which they loved!!! Also a discussion on what would be best for the pugs and their diets I decided it would be worth a try, They need very little food as its super concentrated and full of goodness. Its very cost effective. I phone up speak to my local representatative, arrange a time for delivery and the food comes to my door so no more carryiong 15kg bags of food in and out of the car for me! (they come in various weights).
Oscars is bascially a complete dry food that comes in many differant flavours and shapes of biscuits. They also supply treats and healthcare products, ie wormers ect. They offer differant products for differant sizes, diets of individule dogs:
*Junior Dog - Chicken & Rice
*HEALTHY GROWTH - Puppy
*Active Dog - Lamb & Rice, Herring & Potato
*Adult Dog - Pinnacle+
*Adult Dog - Vegetarian Lite (Veg Society Approved)
*Natural Supplements & Honest Label
They also offer nutrition advice, behavioural and vetinary advice.
After a few weeks my dogs had more energy and lovely soft coat.
I wanted a dog all my life, I was sooo jealous of my older sister having two! I started going out with her to walk them and really enjoyed it so I begged and begged my parents until they said yes. I got Benji on 2nd January 2005. He's a golden Cocker Spaniel and has been my best friend ever since. We've been walking twice a day every day, he loves running over fields, swimming, climbing, chasing cats/rabbits/birds but doesn't like strangers, he tends to bark or growl at them, although he's never tried biting anyone!
Benji changed my life, before I had him I was living with my parents, never had a boyfriend and weighed 22 stone. Five years later I'm living with my fiance, I've lost 8 stone and I've got so much more confidence. As I don't work he's my excuse to get out and exercise, talk to new people and visit new places. The only draw back is not being able to leave him on his own in the house as he howls for us to come back!
Benji goes everywhere with us, he loves going on holiday and day trips, he's even been in some caves in the Peak District! He makes us laugh with all the funny things he does, the other day he tried jumping over a ditch and ended up belly-flopping on the other side! We've got so many photos of him, nearly every single one features his cute face.
We've decided not to have kids so I suppose you can say Benji is our child, we're not sily with him though, no outfits or pushchairs - he's a proper dog who has a real zest for life. We hope to have him for a good many years to come and are not looking forward to the inevitable. No other dog could replace Benji, he's an enormous part of our family life.
Thanks for reading x
Dogs in General
Following my earlier review on the Dogs Trust (which is an amazing charity who I would urge you to support - cannot plug it enough haha!), I thought I would write a little about being a dog owner and why I think it is special.
We have had our dog (who of course, we rescued) for some years now and she is without a doubt an integral part of the family. Yes it is hard work and I would strongly recommend that anyone who is considering owning a dog to take lots of advice first.
Consider your home, your lifestyle, your financial situation and your plans for the future. Ensure that you have enough time on a daily basis to devote to a dog, no matter how busy you may be. Be sure that you will be able to commit to your dog for the rest of his or her life. Also, get as much advice as you can on breeds. The type of breed that you choose can have a lot to do with your dogs temperament and personality (this can be true even for cross breeds, often they are mainly a certain breed and can then have the characteristics of that breed).
For example, there is no point getting a dog which requires lots of exersise if you are not in a position to provide that exersise. If you have, or plan to have children, select a breed reputed to be good with them etc. And if you are rescuing a dog, then it is natural to be concerned about the temperament, but the shelter will have put a lot of work and effort into determining this and be able to offer loads of fantastic advice. Any good shelter will also take the dog back, if for some reason, things do not work out.
Also, think about what you will do if you go on holiday, do you have someone reliable to look after a dog? Can you afford kennels, do you know of a reliable and recommended place (again, research, word of mouth and feel free to visit before you leave your dog, any good kennel will be happy for you to do this) and of course, make sure that you take your dog for his or her vaccinations and have them neutered, along with regular vet checks (more research, find a recommended vet who you trust!).
You should also get as much advice on keeping a dog as possible and the Dogs Trust are happy to answer any questions and have a wealth of useful information on their website too. In short, do your research, the more effort that you put in, the more likely you are to find your perfect canine companion and be able to live happily ever after! Remember too that old adage, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas, and you have a responsibility to do all that you can before and after getting your dog to make them happy and loved.
The rewards? Well that's easy! Quite simply, you will have a loving companion who will share and enhance your life. I find that it having a dog ensures that I walk regularly (which I would probably be quite lazy about otherwise), have someone who is always pleased to see me, and greets me like I have been gone for weeks, every time I walk through the door. Without her, I would be lost, she really is extended family and I wouldn't change her for the world!
Review on dogs...
This is not a ''proper in depth learn everything about the topic'' review, its just my view!
As an 3 year old i became terrified of the species! I literally would not walk into a house or a room or anything if i knew there was a dog there. However this has all changed.
4 years ago we moved to a house with a much much bigger garden. As a result my family wanted to buy a dog. Not jus any dog...a black lab who is very very oversized (he comes up to my hip would you believe).
When we first got him (HARVEY :)) i was TERRIFIED. Would not go near the thingg! But now he is my best friend. I suddenly realised he is not a beast and dogs should not be something to be scared of. They are just animals. He sleeps at the end of my bed, he loves me, i love him. I also trained him (dogs are very responsive to training) and he even dances!!
FUNNY FINISH... i thought i would jus let you in on a funny story of mine. I recently started calling him gorgeous instead of harvey and he answers to it! My family do not understand why he is becoming less and less responsive to the name harvey...they have yet to find out its because i am changing his name! HAHAHAHA!
I'm continuing to write about life in my parents house for the week whilst I am looking after their dog when they're on holiday. What better to write about but the dog herself.
Growing up there was always a dog in our house and I grew up knowing nothing different. We have had three dogs in total and the most recent is Poppy who we think is a cross between a collie and a lurcher.
Before moving out of my parents house my Dad came and woke me up one morning and told me to come through as Mum had something to show me. I went through and there I say this beautiful but scared little black and white puppy.
It was the 6th November so the night after fireworks and we assumed that she must of run away after being so scared of the noise. Dad had found her in our back garden cowering in the corner. After managing to get her to come into the house he fed her and gave her some water. Now sitting on the bed with my Mum I had to try and nto fall in love with her incase we found her owners.
Throughout the day we phoned the local dogs home, phoned the local radio station so they could ask all the listeners if they were looking for a dog and I walked round the village with her all day to see if anyone knew where she had come from. No luck at all (much to my delight!)
Weeks passed and Poppy who was called puppy at first so we didn't get to attached to her was then named Poppy as it was similar for her to get used to. She was a very loyal dog who would never leave your side. Even going to the toilet she would wait outside for you.
We began to realise that she was an extremely nervous dog that obviously had a hard time before. She hated cars and if she seen your car keys would hide so you didn't make her go with you. You couldn't shout to loud so calling out to someone in the other room was now out of the question and she was scared of being left somewhere by herself. For instance if you took her for a walk down the beach she would come with you and being part lurcher needed to run a lot to tire herself out. If she lost sight of you though she would panic and run all the way back to the car or back home.
In time I moved out to live with my partner James. Everytime I phoned mum and dads Poppy would hear my voice and get really excited and lick the phone. She then became very much my mums dog instead of mine and through the years that has come more noticeable. When Mum was away Poppy would sit on the back of the house and look out the window until she came home. As soon as her car pulls up Poppy runs to the door to greet her. Don't get me wrong she still does this with me but not as much as my Mum.
I will be honest she is not always the angel that I make out she is. like 1am this morning she starting running round the house looking for someone to play with her and throw the ball. She also has a love for Baileys, so if you have any in the house keep it out of sight, she will knock the glass out of your hand, climb onto the table or even climb onto the chair next to you just to get a taste!
So this week staying at Mum and Dads house was the only option to look after Poppy. I live 20 miles away which is too far to take her in the car, she really couldn't cope with it. We've had the vet give her valium before just to keep her calm on a long car journey. (Didn't help much!)
For the first day she was really upset about Mum and Dad being away but as the days go on she is more used to me being in the house again. the welcome I get when I come home from work is fantastic and I really see why people have dogs as pets.
I've been walking her down the beach everyday but this means a quick car journey and if you could see me trying to get her in the car you would be laughing at how much of a mission it is to get her in. Once she gets out at the beach you wouldn't ever think there was any issue in the car. he is also happy to jump back in the car to go back home. I would love to be able to walk her all the way to the beach but unfortunately it's just not possible.
So walking along the beach with no lead on her, gives her the freedom to run as fast as she can. She loves chasing rabbits, once they stop because she has caught up with them she just looks at them confused as she doesn't know why they have stopped she nevers harms them, which just brings out her lovely nature.
I do miss living with Poppy as she is a fantastic dog. I also miss having a dog in my house. Cats are great and I love all of them so much but there is just something about a dog that would truly make my house a home!
Why do we call a "Dog" man's best friend? Well, I've come to my own conclusion recently about that.
I've always been an animal lover and dogs have been part of my family off and on over the years. But recently, I've view our four legged friend in a different light. Due to something that happened to me personally, I've decided to have a dog in our household, and have looked on the internet for the so called best family dog. I've come across the labrador, the greyhound, the golden retriever and so on, but the one that has become the bain of my life is a Husky. But it doesn't really matter what you fall in love with, a dog is such a companion; also a friend; a listener; a protector and a guardian.
Whatever the reason for having a dog, you will know you'll have a reason to get up in the morning and someone to watch over you whilst you sleep. You'll have that wet nose to wake you and a happy greeting when you come home. There is also the unquestionable love any animal can give whatever the day has thrown your way and they'll always be there no matter what! As long as you can give the commitment and care needed, you'll fill all the gaps in your life; happiness, pleasure and a wealth of understanding and love.
I don't know why I haven't always had a dog in my family but now my life feels more complete!