Is a Dog Really Man’s Best Friend?
We’ve all heard the expression man’s best friend, but really how good a companion and friend can a dog be?
Have you ever thought how your dog knows to go to the front door for another member of the family way before they arrive or how they know when it’s walk time even though you have said nothing or even maybe someone could be ill and they know to treat that person differently.
Dogs as we all know have an unbelievable sense of smell but also have an incredible ability to understand what others are feeling or experiencing, for example fear or anger. When scared or frightened we secrete adrenaline and other associated hormones which lead to small increases in sweat production which dogs can detect. From this, they may even enter their own state of anticipation in case they need to defend us – after all we are ‘their family’ also.
As well as fear and anger, they read your face and body language and can understand and detect mood, whether you are happy or sad and maybe just need some extra love.
The capability and ability of a dog’s nose to smell is quite staggering. It has been suggested that a dog can smell up to 100,000 times better than a human. To put this into perspective, it can detect half a spoonful of sugar in an Olympic sized swimming pool which, if trained correctly, can be used in a multitude of different formats including sickness detection. They may also be able to detect if you are pregnant even before you know yourself, through subtle changes in your behaviour or demeanour.
The ability to read body language goes even further. They can tell if you like someone or someone likes you through the detection of the oxytocin hormone – the love hormone! – which gives way to an interesting concept of bringing your dog along next time you go on a date!
Just because dogs don’t communicate in the conventional way that we do, it doesn’t mean that they don’t know what is going on, or where you have been, or where you are going. For me, my two dogs really are my best friends.
What Type of Dog Should I Get?
The decision whether or not to have a child in life is, I would suggest pretty serious and equally that of adding a pet to the family is not much different. Assuming you have got past the ‘if’ question, the next big question is what type. Within this, there are a few factors to consider when choosing the best breed of dog for your family that will lead to the best companion for you and your family.
- Think about why you want the dog. Is your future pet intended to be a companion for just you, or maybe your family or maybe there are older people involved or maybe you might even require a specially-trained dog. Do you want it to guard the house or be a playmate for your kids? These factors all need to be taken into account.
- Do some research and get to know the various breeds. This will acquaint you with their various traits and any temperament issues, including exercise requirements, which you will need to know to decide on the right breed. There are lots of books and internet-based resources available.
- Evaluate your lifestyle before settling on a particular dog breed. Determine whether your family’s lifestyle suits or can adapt to having a dog around. Do you work outside of the home? Who will mind the dog during the day? Does your family have time to regularly walk the dog? Will you be able to commit to this even on the darkest, wettest wintery days? Are you an outdoor family or do you prefer to just to stay indoors playing on the computer?
- Consider your children’s ages and interests. If you have young children who may be on the ‘more energetic’ side, it’s important to have a dog to match their level of energy and not choose a toy dog less capable of energetic play and exercise. Having a dog that matches your family’s temperament, whether outgoing or more on the reserved side, ensures the development of the bond will be stronger and thus hopefully avoid any incompatibilities in the long run.
- Maybe most importantly is what will the dog cost? I suggest to do a monthly budget- food / grooming / insurance / vet bills and any potential care costs. Generally, larger breeds cost more money since they take much more food and may have more expensive healthcare costs. This is aside from being more expensive to purchase. Some pure-bred dogs may be more prone to certain health problems that mixed breeds do not have to worry about. Knowing how much the cost of maintaining these dogs will let you know if you can afford certain breeds or not.
- Consider living space and location. If you live in an apartment with limited space, obviously a large dog like a German Shepherd are Rottweiler may have difficulty moving about. Large breeds may be more suitable for a family with a large house or a living area. If you are living in a small urban areas you may want to consider small dogs. Knowing how to choose the best breed of dog for your family will help you select the most ideal pet for your family and lifestyle.
What Bed is Right for My Dog?
As you can imagine, the options for choosing the right dog bed or place to rest for your dog are almost endless, with a huge variety of shapes, materials, sizes and styles available – not to mention prices!
It’s important that your dog has his or her own bed to lie in and rest comfortably. This not only applies if your dog is just a normal household pet, but also if your dog mainly resides outside or is even a guard dog or a service dog. Ideally, they should always be as close as possible to where there is company. Mental stimulation is very important.
We suggest that if you have a puppy, you may want to hold off on buying an expensive bed until after the puppy is through their chewing phase. You can buy inexpensive bedding while the puppy is young or even use an old duvet or blanket until chewing has passed.
In order to get the correct type of dog bed for your dog, we suggest that a little bit of observation time is required to see how your dog rests and sleeps and to see what position the dog naturally assumes. Some dogs love to curl up tightly in a ball while others prefer to lie flat on their side with their legs straight out. Some prefer to rest their head on something and others not. Watch your dog sleeping and measure the area the dog’s body takes up while they’re lying down. This will give you the dimensions you’ll need when making your purchase.