A lot of people want to adopt a pet as a Christmas present for their children. They feel that it will teach the children responsibility. There are over 400 different dog breeds which gives families a lot of choice. There are big dogs like a Saint Bernard or Spanish Matiff. There are hounds like a beagle or basset hound or small dogs like a yorkshire terrier or shih tzu. Each of these breeds have different needs. Hound dogs that are breed for hunting and retrieving are high energy dogs. These dogs have high energy as they are breed for a purpose. Some dogs like german shepherds were breed for herding. Alaskan huskies were bred to pull sleds and labrador retrievers are a fisherman's helper hauling nets, fetching ropes and retrieving fish from the North Atlantic. Now these dogs are not used for these purposes as much as in the past. Some people only want to buy a pure breed dog. These animals are more expensive than a mixed breed dog. The family has to determine if their pocket book can afford a pure breed and all of the things that come with dog ownership like a leash, a crate to put the dog in while driving home, food for the dog. If the dog is a puppy then they will need immunization shots.They will also have to be potty trained just like a toddler. There is a lot of work involved in bringing a dog into the family. It works best if everyone in the family has a responsiblity in the daily care of the new family member. A mixed breed dog means that the dogs parents were of two different breeds. Some say that these dogs are healthier than a pure breed because they have an expanded gene pool. These dogs make great companions. Another consideration when picking a dog is their grooming needs. Some dogs shed hair and other don't. Like humans certain breeds need to have a haircut. I have a friend who has a shih tzu and I take the dog to the groomers about every 8 weeks. The hair grows over the eyes which makes it difficult for the dog to see. It is recommended to brush a dogs hair daily to avoid matting. This decreases the chance of thrush, scratches and other skin conditions. It helps create a bond between dog and owner. It also reduces a load of external parasites on the skin. If you dog is not house trained then it is recommended that they be put in a crate to sleep through the night. Once they are trained than they can sleep in their own bed or on your bed with you. If your dog has an accident don't punish them in a manner that they associate their bodily function with something negative. Take them to the area that you want them to use to relieve themselves. Find a safe place for the dog to relieve themselves and they will return to the spot over and over again. When your dog goes outside reward them with a treat or positive physcial contact. Don't be impatient with the process because the dog can sense it and feel stressed. Your dog will want to relieve themselves about 5 to 30 minutes after they eat. It is best to develop a routine in their eating time. Teach your dog to ask for things in a polite manner by asking them to sit before feeding them. Turn away if they start pawing or barking. It is best to feed the dog in a quite place. Don't feed your dog while you are eating at the table or they will come begging for food every time you eat. Take them for a walk at least twice a day and incorporate other forms of exercise throughout the day. When getting ready to take your dog for a walk have them sit before you put on their leash. It will take a while for the dog to get used to being in a new place. Give them to adjust and don't yell at them when they do something wrong as it will make them anxious and unsettled. It will be hard for them to be alone by themselves so going out for a brief period, even a walk around the block will get them adjusted to being alone by themselves in the house. Reward them for good behaviour by giving them a treat. If they are chewing on the furniture give them a chewy toy and reward them for chewing on it and not the furniture. If your dog barks when you have visitors give them a toy to put in their mouth to greet the visitor with instead of barking. Reward your dog for good behaviour like lying down or coming when you ask them to. The reward can be hidden inside of a toy which you give them. Other rewards can be playing a game with their favourite toy, rubbing their belly, interacting with another dog, giving them a meal or letting them sniff grass. Rewarding your dog will motivate him or her to repeat the positive behaviour. If you ignore bad behaviour from your dog it will eventually stop. It may get worse before it gets better but if you are patient it will get better. If you have to leave the dog in a room by themselves when guests arrive so they don't jump up on the guest. When the guest are settled then bring the dog out on a leash to greet the guests. Step on the leash so that it touches the ground and tightens if the dog is standing and attempts to jump. The family could attend dog training classes to gain more knowledge on how to work with your dog. You could also read articles from dog trainers to learn how they handle situations. A dog trainer could come to your home for a private session to boost your dogs IQ. They speak to your dog through clapping or short repeated words. When you want your dog to stay then say the word drawing out the word this way staaaaaaay. When you are trying to calm your dog take the same approach by saying goooood dog. The long drawn out word is calming to your dog. If you change the tone of your voice it helps to get your dogs attention with the change in pitch. Teach your children to respect the newest member of the family. They should not try to take food away from the dog or pick up food that has fallen on the floor near the dog. They should not ride their bike past the dog as they will want to chase after the child. If a dog has puppies they should be approached with caution as well as unattended dogs in yards, cars and outside a store. The most important thing is that you and your new pet form a good bond. As the saying goes a dog is man's best friend. They are very loyal to their owners and become great companions. Robert and Bethany Jobb "The Best Is Yet To Come!"