Adding a dog to your family…Part II
Having added a dog to our family http://frommyexperiences.com/site/adding-a-dog-to-your-family/ some months back I thought it would be nice to give a small update on how we’ve coped with the dog or given our family behavior it’s probably how the dog has coped with us.
The first few weeks were tough as it requires quite a bit of adjustment from all the family members (dog included) and in our case it kick started on a bad note. On the second day of the dog entering our house my wife tried to ensure that the dog understood that she was the master of the house 🙂 and if he wanted to live there she had to be respected (poor dog!). Now, she doesn’t know shit about dog training but she had to make him understand this so armed with a slice of bread she proceeded to train him and before she could utter any command, Hobbit (our dog) leapt at her hand and snatched the bread away leaving some small gashes on her hand.
The next 3 days were hell for all as she screamed and abused at every one and no one in particular playing the part of a victim. The fact that she had to shell out some 300 bucks at the local hospital for an anti rabies injection did not help the matter. She never understood the fact that the dog needs time to adjust in the new environment.
Breeders like to make the minimum of expenses on rearing of a dog and there too there is a rule of survival of the strongest. Breeders allocate a certain quantity of food to the dogs each day and the dogs need to be fast in shoving the food down their throat such that they are not left out hungry or under nourished. So, my advice is to let the dog soak into the new atmosphere and let him settle down for a week or so before you start getting real friendly with him or start with his training.
Training is very very very essential as you don’t really want an idiotic dog on your hands…..one does not expect a thoroughbred but then to have a disciplined dog in the house is always a treat….and it’s the same way that we would expect our children to be. Each day there would be a small session of 5 to 10 minutes where I could train Hobbit on simple commands…..sit, up, no, eat and the magic words always are ‘good boy’. So, whenever he would obey the command he would get a biscuit and comfort pat on his head “good boy”……it’s not rocket science but this simple technique works wonders and with perseverance the dog is surely to pick up the proper habits.
Of course, now Hobbit loves to hear that word whether he deserves or not…he doesn’t care. With his pink tongue out, glinting eyes and tail wagging he sure knows what he wants…(that’s him grinning in the photo above). And they pick up the simple commands pretty fast…..keep repeating the command and each time that he does what you commended reward him with a treat…..it works wonders.
One of the toughest part was to potty train him as for almost 3 to 4 months he would shit all over the house….pissing was just as easy and then my wife would run screaming after him with a stick in her hand….”Bewakoof, Gadha…..yeh kya kar diya”! It was a slapstick moment with my wife trying to handle her nightie with one hand and with a stick in the other running after him while he found this to be a fun game and they would run all over the house from one room to another. It was a game for him all right till the time he was caught and then he would get a beating.
Unfortunately the dog learnt nothing by this exercise. Don’t hit him or rub his nose in the pile of shit. It will never work. What works is the other two magic words “Bad dog”…..point towards the shit saying “bad dog” and then lead him to the terrace where you would want him to relieve himself. Don’t have such a place just lead him outside the main door of your house. Over some time Hobbit learnt that if he had to piss or shit it was not to be inside the house.
Taking him out for a walk in the night and then early morning have become a mandatory exercise for us…..so my son will take him out post dinner while my walk would be at 6.30 in the morning. There are still some occasions where I find that he has messed up but it would be more of our fault (missing out on the walk or not opening the terrace door) but I still make him feel guilty of it. A home remedy suggested by a neighbor is to add some drops of cooking vinegar to a bucket of water and mopping the floor and it did work as the vinegar emits a strong odor which Hobbit did not like at all.
So, while everyone in the family enjoys the dog I am the ‘mundu’ of the house so another chore besides cleaning the shit from the terrace is the daily grooming of the dog. It is very essential for the good health of the dog as it keeps the coat shining and gives the skin a good massage. I bought a hair brush from a vet in GK I (Dr. Anuj +91 9953792425) and while it’s a bit expensive at 600 bucks it’s well worth the money. A brief session of 5-7 minutes each morning gives him a good massage and the brush has a nice mechanism by which it take out and collects all the loose hair from his body……pull the lever and the hair come out from the brush neatly bundled straight into the dustbin.
Hobbit loves water and given the liberty he would love to step into the shower with me every morning (yes he follows me everywhere till I leave for office). But I restrict his bathing to twice a month and after filling his tub with water he loves to sit in it as if it’s a small swimming pool for him and yes he nudges me to turn on the shower and he loves it….scrubbing all over the body to ensure cleanliness is a task as much as putting shampoo on a body full of hair. His bath lasts for almost 30 minutes and he loves every minute of it and has to be dragged out of it literally (ironically he used to hate it in the initial days). Rubbing the coat dry is a critical task as leaving wet or damp hair is likely to give infections and skin problems so while initially we tried and failed to achieve the task with a towel my son came up with an ingenious idea of using the blower from the vacuum cleaner. It’s just like using a hair dryer but with 10 times the force and it takes just over 5 minutes to have him bone dry.
There is some connection between my son Rishabh and Hobbit….something I cannot describe in words…..they are simply inseparable and they seem to have a strange but deep connect between each other…..Hobbit has even made attempts to bite me (me the master!!) during mock fights that I have with Rishabh …….Rishabh will in turn kiss him all over his face (on the lips a couple of times….yuk) and then they wrestle with each other and Hobbit does not seem to mind the sometime rough handling from Rishabh…..something that he will not tolerate from anyone else.
Owning a dog is great but requires a commitment of time, energy, and money. This is a long-term commitment because a dog can live for ten or more years and will rely upon his owner for almost all of his needs for his entire life.
If you’ve determined that you have the time and money to care for a dog and are willing to make a long-term commitment, then it’s possible that you’re ready for dog owner responsibilities. But, the biggest question of them all is ……would you enjoy owning a dog?
Think about it. Would you enjoy doing many of the tasks mentioned above that will become your dog owner responsibilities, i.e. bonding, training, walking, grooming, providing attention, play time, etc.? Or will all of this become a huge chore for you? Owning a dog should be fun, not just a chore.
If you decide to move forward, keep this question in mind as you’re researching different breeds. It’s not worthwhile to get a dog if you don’t think that you will enjoy owning him. You won’t be happy and neither will your dog…..and it’s not going to be fair on either one of you.