A dog is a wonderful companion for people of all ages, and studies have shown that people who spend time with dogs have richer lives as a result. When dogs are brought to visit sick children in hospitals, the children brighten and for a while, they forget how badly they feel. Dogs are often part of programs in nursing homes and the patients love to pet the soft fur and talk to the dogs that will lovingly sit by them and look into their eyes. In addition to love and companionship, there is no better source of home protection than a dog. Not only do dogs naturally protect their own territory, but they also are a good alarm system, letting their owners know when someone new comes near. Small dogs are sufficient for this, but large dogs have a lower, more fearsome bark, which can give added security.
If your family is looking to adopt a large dog, you must consider all the costs involved: not just monetary costs, which are significant, but the cost in time. Any dog, but especially a large dog must be given proper training, or once it grows up, you won't be able to control it and it might hurt someone, hurt itself, or become a neighborhood nuisance.
The first consideration in adopting a large dog is the breed. Golden Retrievers and Labs are some of the most family friendly dogs; they are good with children, obedient, and easy to train, yet they can appear large and fierce, if necessary. German Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs that live up to their name: they love to shepherd their family. Shepherds will stay close, guard children with their lives, yet will still be friendly to visitors. Shepherds take their cues from us: if we are comfortable with an outsider, they will be too.
Rottweilers, Dobermans and Pit Bulls have been given a bad reputation by people who failed to train them properly. These breeds are extremely territorial and protective of their property, including their human family. They are also naturally aggressive. Their training must begin when they are tiny puppies; they are head strong, but very intelligent and gentle if trained properly.
Two large breeds that can be unpredictable are Akitas and Chows. Often these dogs are one-person dogs, meaning, they will love one person in the family above all, but this can be troublesome if they find any other family member to their disliking.
Great Danes, Saint Bernards and Mastiffs are huge dogs that eat a lot and are expensive to keep, yet they are like giant teddy bears. These extra large breeds will lie by the fire, allow children to crawl all over their backs, and love their family and anyone else they meet.
Mixed breed dogs are great to have, but if you have any idea about the types of breeds it has mixed in, do a little research to see if those breeds fit with your family. Full bred dogs are expensive and are more prone to medical issues than mixed breeds.
Remember, too, that large dogs have a few potential problems, medically, that their small counterparts usually don't encounter. Large breeds often have hip displasia or back pain, and they sometimes develop calluses on the sides of their legs from lying down on hard surfaces. Also, large dogs don't usually live as long as smaller dogs. On average, a larger breed will live about 10-12 years.
The aforementioned cost must also be considered; all breeds must be trained. There are many books and videos on dog training, but the best training is done in a class with other dogs and dog owners. Having to attend a weekly class will keep you accountable in training your dog. Dogs must be worked with daily, several times each day. They are smart and want to please their masters, but the time must be spent on them, or they simply won't know what to do. Think about the time you'll have each day to spend with your dog. Will he get daily walks from you or someone else? Or will he be stuck sitting inside, growing fat?
Financial cost is an issue with larger breeds, as well. In addition to the potential medical problems, dog food is expensive; good dog food (recommended by veterinarians) is extremely expensive. Talk to a vet or go to a local pet store and ask lots of question before you adopt your dog. Budget for food, annual shots, flea and tick prevention, heart worm prevention, and nail clippings or grooming. Also budget for those unexpected events when your dog gets sick or injured.
Once you've weighed the cost, studied up on breeds, and decided you want to put the time into it, consider adopting a dog from the local animal shelter. Many of these dogs are good dogs from good homes, but the owners died or were forced to move overseas or some such thing. Puppies will always find homes, and even older full bred dogs are easy to place; but full grown mixed breeds often go homeless, but would make wonderful pets for a family. And many pet owners say that dogs from shelters seem to be just a bit more grateful than your average dog. It's as if they understand how lucky they are.
- Cars and Vehicles
- Economics and Trade
- Movies & Animation
- History and Facts
- Live Style
- News and Politics
- People and Nations
- Pets and Animals
- Places and Regions
- Science and Technology
- Travel and Events
- Health and Fitness