Now you have the answer but I do hope you continue reading.
Many dog owners contact a trainer long after they bring a puppy or older dog into their home, after problems have developed to the point of frustration. Then they want an immediate solution to a problem that developed over a long time.
I suggest that we approach dog ownership in the same manner as we approach bringing an infant into our lives.
We plan ahead, consult a professional (pediatrician) in advance, read books, take classes, buy supplies and prepare a living space for the infant. When the day comes to bring the baby home we are ready.
Whether you are using the services of a breeder and will bring home a puppy or will adopt an older dog, planning ahead will set you and your dog up for success.
Here are some tips to help you succeed!
- Consider your lifestyle and how you can fulfill the needs of your dog. If you are a couch potato kind of person and the dog you bring home is a high-energy working dog, there is a fundamental conflict.
- Do basic breed research if you are getting a purebred. If you get a mixed breed dog then breed characteristics are not relevant. At least 50% of dogs in America are mixed breeds. Physical appearance does not predict anything about the dog’s individual personality or behavior.
- Consult a professional (certified) force-free trainer before getting your dog. A qualified trainer knows how to prepare you for your pet, to know what to expect, and you will have a ready resource to help you. Go to http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/ and use the Directory to find a qualified trainer near you.
- Visit http://www.happybuddhadogtraining.com/recommended.html and download Dr. Ian Dunbar’s FREE PDF eBook “Before Getting Your Puppy.” If you already have your dog, download “After Getting Your Puppy.” (Thanks to Dr. Dunbar for permitting trainers to freely distribute his books!)
- Search for a “low-stress handling” veterinary clinic and establish a Doctor-Client relationship to discuss recommended vaccinations and other best practices for your dog. Schedule a complete medical exam.
Owning, raising and training a dog is not instinctive to human beings. For goodness sake, we need to take classes and seek professional help when we bring one of our own species into our home. If it is hard for adults to raise a child; we must not blame ourselves for finding it hard to raise another species.
Be assured that a qualified professional will help you every step of the way, and ensure that you and your dog enjoy the many mutual benefits of living together. It is far better to set you and your dog up for success than to wait for things to get stressful and unpleasant, and then hope for a sudden remedy.
Dogs go through the “teenage years” just as children do, so you may expect some behavior changes. Do not be alarmed! A little help from a qualified trainer will get you and your adolescent dog back on track.
Each year about 4.3 million pet are surrendered to shelters and many dogs are surrendered for behavior problems that developed by adolescence. Most of the 2 million dog that are euthanized each year are adolescent males without training. It was not their fault.
If you do not enjoy a lifestyle that can fully support keeping a pet dog, that is OK. Just don’t bring a dog into your life. You are still a wonderful human being. It is just that a dog is not a good fit for you.
If you are a good fit for the role of pet parent, just seek out the same kind of support you would if you were experiencing a pregnancy. On the bright side, it takes a baby 18+ years to grow up. A dog will be there in two years, and they will not borrow your car and jack up your insurance rates. Enjoy!
 Learn About The Relevance of Breed in Behavior Consultation with Janis Bradley. The Pet Professional Guild webinar.
 National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy.