Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog
How do you exercise the dog? How the owner exercises the dog may give you an idea of the dog's activity level. If the owner takes the dog on 3-mile runs every day, and you can't provide that level of activity, this is probably not the right dog for you. On the other hand, if the owner doesn't exercise the dog, or exercises the dog in the backyard and the dog is agitated or has behavioral issues, it might indicate that he needs more exercise. What do you feed the dog? What you feed a dog has a lot to do with the dog's long-term health, as well as energy levels on a day-to-day basis. Owners who feed their dogs low-quality food high in processed material and fillers typically found in grocery stores are feeding their dogs the equivalent of a hamburger and fries for every meal. This poor-quality diet will probably contribute poorly to the long-term health of the dog. Owners who feed BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) or biologically-engineered diets are more likely to have healthier more active dogs. How often do you vaccinate and what vaccinations do you give? Over-vaccinating may be a serious issue; one that can lead to long-term health problems. If the owner vaccinates the dog annually, that may be too frequently to be good for the dog's immune system. Likewise, if the owner gives the dog an excessive number of vaccinations at the same time, this might also overload the dog's immune system. Owners who don't follow a healthy vaccination schedule may indicate someone who is not a knowledgeable dog owner and could tip you off to other less than optimal practices. Has the dog spent time with kids/other dogs/cats/small animals? If you want a dog that is friendly with children, other dogs, cats or small animals, this is an important question to ask. If the dog has never been exposed to any of these influences there is no way to know how the dog will react in these situations. A dog may show no signs of aggression and no tendency to bite and may still react negatively to any one of these if they have never been encountered before. If the answer to this question is yes, ask how much interaction the dog has had and whether it's been a casual interaction on neutral territory or prolonged interaction in the dog's own home. Where do you take the dog? Owners who never take their dogs anywhere may have a poorly socialized dog. Dogs that spend their lives in the backyard and house are more likely to bark at the mailman, react negatively to groups of people and overreact when encountering other animals. Dogs that frequently go places with their owner are more likely to be well-socialized, well-mannered dogs.