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How to get a good dog

Updated on November 14, 2010

Picking a dog

This is a first in a series of blogs I will be posting about dogs,picking,caring for etc.

     If a dog is given to you as a present, you have no choice.If your child shows up one day with a bundle of fur with four legs sticking out of it,you have no choice.If a dog shows up on your doorsteps,says he has no home,and begs you with big sad eyes to take him in,you have no choice,provided,of course,that you cannot find his owner. If these things have not happened to you,however,and you still free to make your choice,we suggest you keep the following few points in mind.

     Get a puppy from two to six months. At this age puppies are especially lovable,frolicsome,comical,adaptable,and all yours. Do not necessarily reject an older dog which has formed habits and an attachment for another person. You can teach an old dog new tricks. The chief reason for buying a young dog is that you will have him with you just so much longer

WILL YOUR DOG FIT? Size and breed is up to you. Your only caution that large breeds eat more than small ones. As for breeds generally,there is no such thing as a smart breed,a vicious breed,a breed that is particularly good with children,or a nervous breed. True,some breeds have higher percentage of unreliable members than others. In buying a puppy,study the parents for undesirable behavior characteristics are inherited. There are smart and dull,good and bad dogs in every breed. Dogs are as highly individual as people,and it's how you raise your dog that is going to count.

LOOK OUT FOR WEAKLINGS. Pick a well dog. If a puppy's eyes are running,if he has a cough,diarrhea,or a temperature(anything over 102 degrees should be regarded with suspicion), he may have a disease. If a puppy is generally listless and dull-eyed,try not to fall him out of pity. If he has  patches on his coat or on the skin of the belly and the inner surfaces of the legs,they may mean mange,ringworm, eczema,or rash,possibly produced by a fungus. If his legs are crooked,he probably has rickets. Examine the inside of his ears.. They should be pink,smooth,and free from inflammation and wax accumulation.

       Look at his teeth. they should be white and the gums pink and firm. Discolored teeth in a young dog over 5 months usually means that he has had some sickness during his teething age(31/2 to 5 months). Watch out for hernias. A common hernia in puppies is the navel hernia,which appears as a soft,roundish enlargement in the middle of the abdomen. Always test a dog for deafness. Stand behind him and make some kind of noise to attract his attention. If you fail to get his attention after several efforts,you may well suspect he deaf.

     Many of the foregoing symptoms can be cleared up with proper treatments,but it is much better to start off with a healthy puppy. Always keep in mind that diseases in the incubation stage are not detectable; many  dogs commonest diseases have incubation periods of five days or more. If possible,buy your dog subject to a veterinarian's approval.

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