Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

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08 Dec 10

Puppy for Christmas? ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

This time of year, many kids are asking Santa and their parents for their very first puppy. Some parents may be ready for it, but is your child? Are they old enough to understand the responsibilities of what it is to have a puppy in the house? With our local Long Island shelters and animal rescue groups so full overflowing with dogs looking for homes, you may want to think of adopting a dog that is a little older. Let’s face it, puppies are cute, we love them, but they are a lot of work. Sadly, many families give up their puppies after the holidays once the see how big the dog is getting, or didn’t understand what they were get themselves into, and some kids loose interest of after the novelty wears off and that puppy starts teething.

Many older shelter and rescue dogs are already housebroken, know basic commands, and may have previously lived with a family and could be a great fit for your family dynamic. Some shelter dogs are just a one or two years old who may still be puppyish without that puppy behavior. Also many shelters, like the Town of Islip (www.shelterlink.com), Town of North Hempstead (www.theshelterconnection.com) and the Town of Huntington (http://www.laphuntington.org/) have non-profit volunteer groups that walk the shelter dogs daily, socialize them and give them attention they so desperately need. They are a great resource when looking for that new addition because the volunteers can tell you different things about each dog’s personality and who may be suitable for your family.

Town shelters and private non-profit shelters like Kent Animal Shelter (www.kentanimalshelter.com) and Little Shelter (www.LittleShelter.com) also offer a big variety of breeds, mixed breeds and dogs of all different sizes. So if you desire one of the mixed breeds that are currently very popular and so over priced, check your local shelter first or go to www.petfinder.com and look there. You may find just the perfect dog for your family.

Think about waiting until after the holidays to adopt. This way you can do your research and find a dog breed or mix you like. Research is very important to know what kind of breed you and your family are getting into. Many people get a dog breed based on looks, but have no idea what the dog was originally bred for. Some behavioral issues that owners think are a problem – are really just that breeds’ natural behavior. Educate yourself and family on the breed you are getting. Take the time to sit down and talk with your kids and explain all the rules and responsibilities of having a new furry friend. Hire a dog trainer to come in first and sit with the whole family to go over the details of bringing a puppy in, this may better prepare your kids. Some excellent dog trainers can be found here: www.longislandpetprofessionals.com/member-directory/

If you are adamant about getting a puppy of a certain breed, first check to see if there is a local breed rescue group.  It can be as simple as googling the type of dog you are looking for, and the words “Breed Rescue of Long Island, or New York.”  You will be amazed what comes up. (I am still amazed that people don’t know this).  Still can’t find that purebred you are looking for, at the very at least go to a reputable breeder. Go to American Kennel Club’s breeder referral page www.akc.org/breederinfo/breeder_search.cfm and look for local breed clubs, and from there you can find a local reputable breeder. Another resource is the United Kennel Club, check their breeder directory www.ukcdogs.com. You can also attend local dog shows and talk to handlers and breeders of the particular breed you are interested in to learn more about it. Bringing a new dog into your family is a big responsibility, but is also very rewarding, and you just may wonder how you lived your life without a dog!

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06 Sep 10

Back to School & your pet ...

By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

Back to School & your pet

So it’s that time of year again, for some parents the most wonderful time of year when kids head back to school.  But maybe this summer you got a new puppy, kitten or “Hammy” the Hampster, which will no longer get full time love and attention from your children.  Pets can feel depressed and sad when a routine they have become accustomed to suddenly changes.  Parents also want to make sure with schedule changes and extra curricular activities, that your children who begged you for a pet don’t forget their responsibilities.

A few tips to help keep the household running smoothly, pets happy, kids on their busy schedules are:

  • Have a child care chart posted for each pet, and each child so they know what day they have responsibility for what pet.
  • Hire a pet sitter or dog walker, but don’t tell your child! You don’t want them to slack off knowing the dog may have already been walked that day or hamster or bird cage might have been cleaned earlier.
  • Set aside play time each day for your pet.  In other words, make sure your children know at this particular time of the day the pet gets training time, play time, or walked with your kids.  Otherwise neglected pets, especially dogs that were doing great with training i.e. not chewing, or no longer having accidents in the house, may revert to doing so due to lack of attention, not spite.
  • Have a family meeting so everyone is on the same page as to what their pet care responsibilities are.
  • Set a schedule.  Try to keep the pets schedule as much as possible the same as it was over the summer, feeding, walking, etc.  Making some adjustments, earlier wake up time, feeding time, etc. and the pet will quickly grow accustomed to the new schedule if it is done on a consistent basis by all family members.
  • Meet with a dog trainer if your dog starts acting out once their is less attention on them.

A responsible, caring and dedicated owner is not that hard to be today.  We are lucky in this day and age there are so many professional pet sitters and pet experts available, pet knowledge at our fingertips, free courses and more, for families to learn about responsibilities of being a pet parent.  Being a pet parent, whether the pet is a family pet or an individual child’s responsibility should be taken seriously and not frivolously. Most children find the experience very rewarding, loving and caring for another living being.  Make the back to school transition easy for all family members, two-legged and four-legged ones easy – have a family meeting tonight!