Updated: Jan 7, 2022
Start pet ownership the correct way
The Pre-Pet Questionnaire is a helpful tool
I totally appreciate those people who go for pre-pet counselling long before they start window shopping for a new dog. Some of you will roll your eyes at that idea, thinking it sounds like a hokey, new-fangled therapy. But it’s the ideal way to start on the path to success. I also recommend that you think about the following factors before you decide to bring a dog into your life:
*Your life plans in two years (when dogs reach social maturity), five years (when dogs typically hit mid-life and might need some retraining, along with new forms of stimulation), and ten years (when dogs become seniors), If your own life goals include a lot of travel or an intensive work schedule, you might not have enough time to adequately train and bond with your dog during these critical periods.
*Whether your plans to have children in the next few years. If so, it’s ideal to get a dog at least two years before you introduce a child to the household.
* Whether your children are currently old enough to participate in training and bonding with your dog. It’s best to wait until your youngest child is at least three years of age.
*If you’re currently single, whether you plan to start a serious relationship within the next few years. Your future partner might fall for you but not necessarily your dog—and your dog might not like your partner much either.
*If you’re already in a committed relationship, whether both of you can dedicate the time the energy to caring for and bonding with the dog. If you’re going through a rocky patch, consider holding off getting a dog until your relationship is back on track.
Recap: Why Do You Want A Dog?
Whether you’re thinking about adding a dog to your life or you already have one in your family pack, I hope you’ll take some time to think why you want a dog, what kind of relationship you want with that dog, and how you define success in the mix, so you have a realistic set of goals before you start training your pet to become a healthy member of your family pack.
If you already have a dog and this process makes you realize you had unrealistic expectations or weren’t well prepared to devote the necessary time and effort needed to train and bond with that dog, don’t beat yourself over the head about what-ifs related to your past—my intentions are quite the opposite! Just acknowledge those factors so you can move forward with a new set of goals.
Before we get into the hands-on training, here is a quick recap of some important factors to consider before you bring a dog into your family, or at least before you start a new training program with your canine companion:
Consider these critical factors before bringing a dog home
Interview yourself and every member of your family pack about why you want a dog in the family, how you want to share your life with that dog, and what a successful interspecies bond means to you.
Identify the myths, fantasies, and unrealistic expectations that might negatively impact your relationship with your dog---and do your best to avoid saddling your dog with fairy-tale ideals.
Choose a breed that best fits your lifestyle, but remember that each dog has its own unique personality and that, just like humans, no two dogs are identical.
Make sure that all members of the family unit are willing to help care for your dog, provide consistent leadership and spend time meeting the dog’s basic needs for exercise, mental stimulation, play, and a mixed bag of different activities that nourish his need to be active, useful, engaged member of your family.
Don’t expect perfection from your dog or yourself. Dog training can be quite consuming and challenging, so never expect a quick-fix, especially if your pet has developed problem behaviors. If you decide to work with a trainer, be wary of those who promise fast-track training. You might just be setting yourself up as a repeat customer---or worse, that training might damage your dog even more.
Never forget while dog has many needs that are similar to ours, they are also related to wild dogs and wolves. Don’t live in fear of your dog’s canine instincts, but be watchful and respectful of how those instincts can have deadly consequences.
The best way to prime your dog for success is to define your own personal life goals first and to assess whether you’ve strayed away from them. Develop and fortify your bonds with everyone in the family so that you’re in sync with each other when you start dog training.
If you are thinking about getting a dog, consider going through pre-pet counselling or sit down and assess your life plans for at least the next decade. If you don’t have a basic road map plotted for yourself, consider holding off on dog ownership until you do.
This is an excerpt from my award-winning, BEST-SELLING BOOK “UNLEASHED” Chapter 1, written by Brad Pattison. Follow on socials, IG: @hustleupdogs & Facebook: Hustle Up Dog Training
If you would like to book a Pre-Pet Counselling session with Brad, please follow this link to schedule either an in person private meeting or an online Zoom meeting with him.
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