Master the basics of taking care of you're dog, and you can look forward to a long and happy relationship with your pet.
Step 1: Select the right breed Evaluate your lifestyle and select a breed that works with your life. Things such as your exercise level, your living space, and the climate you live in must be considered along with breed characteristics.
TIP: Make a list of the characteristics you would like to have a dog and then start looking at breeds which match your list. You don't want to fall in love with a breed only to find out it is the exact opposite of what you want.
Step 2: Puppy-proof your home Puppy-proof your home by putting anything hazardous -- such as cords, plastic garbage bags, and poisonous chemicals -- out of reach. Use child locks on low cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom. Your dog is much like a baby -- if they can get into something, they will.
Step 3: Buy the essentials Purchase food, a collar, a leash, a crate or bed, toys, and grooming tools. Remember your particular dog when purchasing these items. Different dogs have different diets, which can be discussed with your veterinarian.
Step 4: Choose a vet Choose a veterinarian for your pooch. Look around for one that you feel comfortable with and who treats your dog with compassion. Schedule yearly checkups and consult with your vet about which vaccines your dog should get and how often. Different breeds are at a higher risks for different diseases.
TIP: Be sure to keep tabs on any irregular behavior your dog exhibits such as change in mood or vomiting.
Step 5: Exercise Exercise your dog to its breed specifications. Getting the right amount of exercise is vital to a dog's health, and requirements vary greatly from breed to breed.
TIP: Find a dog park in your area to provide a great exercise opportunity for your dog, as well as a chance to socialize with other pups.
Step 6: Groom Groom your pet as often as is required by breed specifications. This means baths, combing and trimming the coat, brushing teeth, clipping nails, and cleaning eyes and ears. Some dogs, like the bichon frise, need almost daily grooming.
Step 7: Love your pup Show your dog the affection he deserves. You and your faithful friend can look forward to many loving years together.
FACT: In 2003, a golden retriever set a Guinness World Record for holding 5 tennis balls in his mouth at once.