Know yourself before you know your dog. Before you take the plunge in becoming a dog owner, I recommend that you be able to answer yes to the first part of each of these important questions, and no to the part of the question in parentheses:
1. Am I committed to walking my dog for at least one and a half hours every day? (Or will I simply let the dog out in the backyard and rationalize that he is getting plenty of “outdoor exercise”?)
2. Am I committed to learning how to become a calm, assertive pack leader with my dog? (Or will I let my dog walk all over me because it's easier?)
3. Am I committed to setting clear rules, boundaries, and limitations in my household? (Or will I let my dog do anything he wants, whenever he wants?)
4. Am I committed to providing regular food and water for my dog? (Or will I feed him only when I remember to?)
5. Am I committed to giving affection only at appropriate times and when my dog is calm-submissive? (Or will I hug and kiss the dog when he's fearful or aggressive, or whenever the mood strikes me?)
6. Will I commit to taking my dog to the veterinarian on a regular basis, making sure he is spayed and neutered and has all his proper checkups and shots? (Or will I only go to the vet when my dog is sick or injured?)
7. Will I make sure my dog is socialized and/or trained properly so he is never a danger to other animals or people? (Or will I hope for the best and warn people to stay out of my dog's way?)
8. Am I willing to clean up after my dog whenever I walk him? (Or will I consider my dog's poop to be someone else's problem?)
9. Am I willing to educate myself on dog psychology in general and any specific needs my dog's breed has in particular? (Or will I just lead by instinct?)
10. Am I willing to put some money away in case I have to call in a professional for a behaviour problem or rush to the vet for a medical emergency? (Or will the dog only get what I can afford at the moment?)
Did you pass? If you did, congratulations. You're ready for a dog. If not, you might want to rethink your choice of pet. There are plenty of homeless cats out there who need rescuing, too, and their needs are very different and not as burdensome as a dog's.
Excerpted from Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan with Melissa Jo Peltier. Copyright 2006 by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier. Published by Harmony Books, a division of Random House of Canada. All rights reserved. no part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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