February 22, 2013

Those ‘big bad dogs’

Many of us would walk or drive past a yard that has some really “Big Bad Dogs” and vow to have some just like those one day. Of course, if you are looking for protection at home, very rarely could you find a better guard than a “Big Bad Dog”.{{more}}

People are generally more scared of large breeds than smaller ones; but in reality, small and medium-sized dogs have the potential to be just as good or better guards than their larger counterparts.

If we are thinking of owning a “Big Dog”, there are a few things that we need to keep in mind:

1) “Big Dogs” could be very difficult to control, especially if they are not taught from an early age that you are the boss and not them. This applies to all dogs. They have the natural instinct to be the alpha dog, and if from an early age you do not let them know, in no uncertain terms, that you are the alpha figure, you will not be able to adequately control them. As a puppy grows, you should never tolerate behaviours such as growling at you, for example, while you’re trying to restrain it or if you pull its food away. You should immediately take measures to correct this behaviour.

Mind you, I am not advocating specialized training classes or cruelty. Just being firm, using a strong reproaching voice or using a rolled-up newspaper or maybe a can with stones inside to make a discouraging noise can deter undesirable behaviour.

What I do from an early age is ensure that the pup allows me to do anything to it, like opening and examining the mouth, rolling the pup over on its back to examine its belly, ears etc. Initially, the pup might try to resist, but with constant repetition, the pup will learn to accept this routine without resistance. As an adult, your dog will allow you to do almost anything to it without showing aggression. This is especially important with large breed dogs as, if the owner cannot completely control it, the situation is comparable to that of a child playing with a loaded gun (Very dangerous).

2) Before considering acquiring a “Big Dog”, you should take into consideration living space. By this I mean having adequate yard space for the dog. You also have to ensure that your yard is sufficiently fenced to prevent the dog from escaping on the road or wreaking havoc on your neighbour’s livestock.

Some people try to resolve this problem by keeping the dog tied on a short chain for the entire life of the animal. If you have to do this, you should consider using a tie-out cable 15 – 30 feet long, with the lead of the dog attached to it enabling the dog to have a longer running area. Also, you should ensure that the collar is well fitted to the dog’s neck – not loose enough for it to slip off the dog’s head, but not too tight so as to cut into the flesh or cause discomfort. If using this method, be prepared to walk the dog as often as possible to provide adequate exercise.

3) “Big Dogs” eat a lot. If you are going to own a “Big Dog”, ensure that your budget makes allowances for his appetite.

4) The volume of faeces passed by “Big Dogs” is much more than a small dog. Many of us do not give much thought to this until we realise that our yard is overwhelmed by faecal matter. I know of one dog owner who actually constructed a septic tank with a lid to dispose of dog stool in his yard.

5) “Big Dogs” have big barks; some dog owners only realise this when it’s too late.

6) “Big Dogs” jump high. Ensure that your fencing is high enough to prevent escape.

If you bear these points in mind, owning a “Big Dog” can be quite rewarding.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.Tel: 456 4981