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— January 13, 2015 —
Five Habits of Highly Successful (Dog) People
by Daniel McElroy Jr.

Some dog people just seem to have it all together. They have great, friendly dogs and you rarely hear them complain about problems with their pets. Here are 5 things, in descending order that those people tend to have in common.
5: They are not terribly worried about having the nicest things.
Dogs are destructive, especially puppies. I mean, let’s face it. When was the last time you heard of a puppy that DIDN’T chew something up? Seriously, if you have a dog, they are going to destroy something once in a while. Plan for it. I mean, really, isn’t your dog more enjoyable than that brand new pair of $400.00 shoes?

4: They aren’t “germaphobes.”
Dogs can get dirty. Not all the time, but every once in a while your dog might just decide to roll in a tasty dead thing or some poop. Once we hired a guy who was a serious germaphobe. He went through hand sanitizer by the gallon and about 10 pairs of rubber gloves a day, and all this just to pick up a little poop. Needless to say, he didn’t last long.

Once we had a dog roll in a “flattened rat” of some sort while on a walk in the city. This thing was truly nasty and to make things even better, it go hooked onto his collar. He had to “carry” it on his neck until we got back to the kennel and found a knife to cut it off of his equipment. No one wanted to touch it…I never said we were completely immune to the nasty stuff. That was a bit much even for me.

3: They feed their dogs the good stuff.
I don’t follow the “My dog never gets people food” axiom. My dogs get human grade chicken and other snacks every day. The chicken just happens to be raw. I think that dog do much better on real food than the brown stuff in the bag. Also, I research safe human food and make sure they only get things that are appropriate for them. That makes them happier and healthier and allows me to enjoy living with them for as long as possible.

2: They train their dogs and work them.
     They develop a stronger bond through getting to know their dog.
Training isn’t teaching your dog to sit. Sorry, but there is more to it than that. The longer and more regularly you work with your dog, the better you will understand them. The puppy class you took at 16 weeks is not a sufficient amount of time to truly get to know your dog. Take that next class, or get into agility. Better yet, take your dog for long walks regularly and teach them new behaviors. Go sightseeing. Remember, everything you show your dog adds to the experiences they learn from and helps to make them well-rounded dogs. I am happy that my dogs get invited to go places, but that is directly related to the fact that they have been so many places that they can be well behaved pretty much anywhere I want them to go.

1: They select the RIGHT dog for their lifestyle and they maintain their dogs for their entire life.
I get it. Sometimes life throws us a curveball and we simply can’t keep our dogs. Hopefully, there are family or friends who can take our beloved pets until we are back on our feet, or forever if necessary. Often however, we see dogs given up for the weakest of excuses. “He barks.” is one, or “He sheds” are things we hear. (See Number 5) I think that often when a dog is given up, it really boils down to one simple fact. The human went and selected a dog based on cool factor, color or something other than the most important factors when choosing a dog. Those are, does this dog, its temperament, grooming and exercise/training needs fit into my lifestyle? If you go and buy a high-drive, imported, working line German Shepherd because it’s cool looking, but don’t plan to spend a few thousand dollars on training, sweep up mounds of dog hair every day or so and go for lots of long walks or runs to tire him out, then DON’T BUY THE DOG! Seriously…don’t.
You will be most successful with your dog if you get the dog that fits your lifestyle. It may even be worthwhile to go to a trainer before you even have a dog. I have helped a number of families select a puppy. I ask them what they want to do with the dog and we search the rescues or breeders for that kind of dog. An hour or two consultation fee is a small price to pay for the years of enjoyment you’ll get by being a highly successful (dog) person.


by referring a friend who signs their dog up for
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