Best Pup Ever
Take the time to find out about the needs of a breed or mix of breeds before you bring a puppy home.
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Big dogs need attention, too, says groomer Anne Toner of Mesa, Arizona. Not all need regular appointments, but dogs like Newfoundlands and Collies need to be kept brushed out to prevent mats-they also need baths now and then.
Groomer-trainer Andrea DiMaio of Jamestown, New York, emphasizes the cost of having a dog professionally groomed every six weeks. Multiply that over the lifetime of the dog, DiMaio says. Make sure grooming is a part of your regular budget.
All dogs need grooming, but if you want to spend less time and money, consider a breed with short hair or longer hair that doesn't mat, such as a German Shepherd Dog or a Corgi.
You may think you want a big dog that will provide protection, but do you have the time to give a big dog the training and the exercise that it needs? As trainer Donna Anderson of Warren, Pennsylvania, points out, Everybody loves the bouncy Labrador Retriever puppy, but when each parent is holding down a job and they've got two small children, who's going to have the time to give this dog the 5-mile walk it needs?
Of course, not all large dogs have huge exercise needs. Greyhounds and Great Danes, for example, are known as couch potatoes. However, they still need to stretch their legs with a good walk at least once a day.
A toy dog may or may not be the answer. Darlene Arden, a behaviorist in Framingham, Massachusetts, who specializes in dogs 20 pounds and under, has advice about smaller dogs. A Bichon Frise might be perfect in terms of energy level if a person just wants to walk the dog around the block a couple of times, Arden says. An elderly person might do well with an adult Papillon [the puppies are too energetic for most elderly people], or a Chihuahua might be ideal because throwing a toy for the dog to fetch will provide some exercise. However, Chihuahuas, too, should be walked outdoors, she says.
Arden does caution about some problems with small dogs. Little dogs are always in danger from larger dogs and most of them are also fairly fragile, so they need an owner who is aware of these issues.
Not all small breeds are calm, though. Liz Palika of Kindred Spirits Dog Training in Vista, California, frequently gets calls from people who need help because they've chosen the wrong breed. Jack Russell Terriers are popular now because of television and movies, Palika says. These dogs are very high energy, yet people assume that because the breed is small, it is calm and tractable. In reality, they are just the opposite.Page 1 | 2 | 3
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