Being an informed owner means being a dog’s best friend. On the other hand, being an uninformed one can often lead to a life of misery, even death, for “man’s” best friend.
Consider the alarming number of dogs being abandoned and abused, surrendered and, all too often, euthanized in this country. Unfortunately, one of the greatest contributing factors is the failure of too many well-meaning, potential dog owners to educate themselves fully BEFORE adding a dog to their household.
The educated ones would know to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the breed they’re considering, including the breed’s physical description and personality; trainability and exercise requirements; health issues, and general care and grooming.
They would know there’s no such thing as TOO much information. The more informed they are, the more informed their ultimate decision.
They would know to choose a breed that fits in with their particular lifestyle, needs and expectations. Several examples: no high-shedding dogs in a home of allergy sufferers; no hyperactive, high-energy dogs in a small apartment; no dogs who can’t get along with cats or other family pets, and no dogs who need constant companionship if no one is home during the day.
They would know that, whatever the breed, raising a dog from puppy hood is like raising a child -- a full time responsibility.
They would know that puppies must be housetrained promptly and socialized early in order for them to mature into well-behaved and friendly dogs with good bite inhibition.
They would know to always be consistent, that discipline does NOT mean punishment, and that love, in and of itself, does NOT conquer all.
They would also know that certified trainers and supervised puppy classes can be of crucial assistance to them in raising calm and balanced dogs if they can’t manage on their own.
The flip side of this equation: the uninformed and the uneducated. The ones who, ruled by their hearts and not their heads, choose poorly from the start. The ones who, sadly and all too frequently, raise dogs who are untrained, ill mannered and often dangerous.
These are the dogs who, over time, will prove too much for their ill-equipped and increasingly frustrated owners to handle. These are the dogs who will ultimately be abandoned in empty lots or left by the side of the road. These are the dogs who will be dumped in secret outside of a local pound or shelter or, if they’re lucky, surrendered in person to a local rescue organization.
These are the dogs who will be adopted – and probably returned – by unsuspecting people intent on doing the right thing by not buying a dog from a pet store or an unscrupulous breeder. These are the dogs who, more than likely, will be euthanized due to overcrowded shelters or because of their people-biting or dog-aggressive behaviors.
These are the unfortunate innocents who will pay with their lives for their owners’ unfortunate ignorance. Thereby perpetuating an all-too-familiar and vicious cycle. And the only way to break that cycle is to turn every potential pet parent into an educated pet parent.
Ignorance never was, or ever will be, an acceptable excuse.
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