Welcome to Lesson 5

Assessing Your Lifestyle – What do I need from a dog?

Once again, this lesson features your practical coursework, more than giving you information.  By doing the coursework, you begin to understand and learn much more what life with a dog is all about, and how you can choose the best one for you.

Choosing your dog isn’t about getting the dog you want.  It’s about getting the dog you NEED.

It is the mistake that most people who give up their dogs or have ‘problem’ dogs have actually made.

They brought these problems on themselves by  badly informed choices. These are people who get swept up in the idea of having a dog and jump in headfirst.  Often they choose something they ‘like the look of’ and then find life turns into a total nightmare. Well that’s not surprising, seeing as these are possibly people who would have failed the ‘5 tests’ in the first place if they had done them.

I have seen far too many people with dogs they clearly shouldn’t have to know that this is the painfully honest truth. Every single day I see miserable (or miserable and fat) dogs with owners for whom walking the dog is obviously the last thing on their priority list judging by the expression on their faces. I’d go as far as saying that if I was choosing a dog for most people, I wouldn’t recommend the dog they actually own.

Here is a good example – a man I met in Essex when I lived there had bought a Weimeraner.  It was a beautiful dog but he was completely frazzled by owning it.  He would never have given up on the dog – that much was clear from our conversations – but he did say he had made a big mistake when he chose it.  He had owned Labradors in the past and thought that one gundog would be very much like another. Instead of getting another Labrador, or a dog that had the same characteristics as a Labrador, he chose the Weimeraner because he had always liked their looks. In his words “it needs about 20 miles a day and is really difficult to train”.

This is the reason most rescue centres and dog pounds are overflowing.  I don’t want you to be another sad statistic, so this is where your work really starts.

When you assess your lifestyle properly you can often find that the dog you (thought you) really, really wanted and what you need aren’t compatible.  The answer to that is simple – don’t foolishly stick to your original ideas.  Adapt your ideas and you will find a lovely dog that fits you really well.

Sometimes that might mean a surprising choice – for example you ended up with a cute small, fluffy dog, and you’re a big muscular bloke. So what? I know men with Yorkshire Terriers that are blissfully happy together. If the dog’s right for your lifestyle, then you’ll have a lifetime of happiness. Who cares what anyone else thinks?  Everything about living with your dog – feeding, training, walking, life – becomes so much easier and more fun.  Which is the point, isn’t it?

In fact, one of the simplest ways of looking at this is to find a dog that’s like you.  Are you energetic and outdoors all the time, or a couch potato when it’s wet and cold?  Are you enthusiastic and outgoing, or are you more solitary?

A dog should fit your personality as well as your home.

You might have already covered a lot of this in the first lesson.  However I’d like you to have a look at your list now and see if you can add anything to it.

Do you, for example, feel you need a dog that’s:

  • Small to medium sized
  • Quiet and non-barky
  • Good with kids
  • Good with other pets
  • Low allergy
  • Up to 1.5 hours exercise a day

Or you might have a farm and want a really impressive guarding type of dog to roam the boundaries all day protecting you from intruders.

Lesson 5 coursework

Assess your personality and lifestyle.  Write down the characteristics of a dog that suits you.

Remember the lesson is provided as part of your free course book at the end of this course

Look out for Lesson 6 in your e-mails!

Bev x

 

The last 4 lessons have covered a lot of ground.  If this has sparked your interest, there’s more coming in my new book.  It’s not out yet but will be soon. Find out more, with no commitment to anything, by putting your details in here

 

 

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