Thursday, July 03, 2008

Choosing a Family Dog -Guest article

If you are considering getting a dog, I highly recommend you do research. Search the internet, check out books in your local library and even purchase a few magazines such as Dog Fancy. Check out forums, speak to local veterinarians too.
I did my own research years ago when my former husband wanted to get a Boxer dog. I learned so much just from other owners of the breed. If you have children whether small or teenagers, Boxers are great dogs. They have a wonderful temperament around children. In fact, many owners will tell you that Boxers seem to be naturally drawn to children and are protective of them.
After witnessing a horrible attack on a friend of mines two year old son 10 years ago, I did not want anything to do with dogs. My former husband had been given a dachshund as a gift. 17 stitches in the little boy and medical bills for us to pay was the final straw for me.
I love dogs as do my children. But after that attack I wasn't even sure I wanted anything to do with dogs anymore. But two years later, my former husband nudged me into looking at Boxers. I was very hesitant at first. I knew nothing about them although I assumed that since they looked like bull dogs they had a tendency to be mean.
That was far from the case. He sent me to to read through the forums and articles they had posted from all over the world.
After a few months of research online and books I bought, I got excited about having a dog again.
In December 2000, we bought our first Boxer dog. Our daughter was two years old at the time so her and Dixie Belle would grow up together.
It didn't take long before Dixie became very close in our family. Most everyone loved her. She was the perfect colors of brown and white. We didn't crop her ears since I thought it was cute to have round ears.
Dixie went a lot of places with us. Everywhere we went people wanted to pet her and she loved it.
Eventually Dixie became known as the "Nanny Dog." She was very protective of children including our daughter. She was a laid back dog with very little if anything that would bother her.
Our daughter could pull her tail, ears or just some skin and Dixie would not even flinch. She preferred to be around children who would come over to visit. It didn't matter what they did to Dixie she Never growled, barked or nipped. My daughter once put her fist in Dixie's mouth (her dad would wrestle and play with Dixie). She didn't do a thing except slobber on her hand.
You could pet her while she ate her food or drank water too.
Dixie did hate to have her nails clipped but she never bit me.
Boxers are characters. They will sit in an automobile like a human being. I cannot count how many times people beside us in traffic would look over and just laugh.
In the mornings we would wake up with a Boxer hanging over us with her cold, wet nose to ours. Sometimes she would give wet kisses. It didn't matter though because she loved us all.
There was one time Dixie was excited my mom came over to visit. So much so, that when mom went to leave Dixie attempted to leave with her. We had to pretend as if she was going for a ride by opening the passenger door to moms car. She got in but then we couldn't get her out.
Boxers in general love people. They are very gentle in nature and very little bothers them.
The only thing about Boxers is that you have to be an active person. They love to exercise. If you have a backyard (which I recommend you have) that is great place for boxers to exercise. Just make sure you interact with them as they are like children. If they want attention and it is not there then they can rebel in ways your children also do and you won't like.
When it gets cold or very hot, they do not do too well outside so it is best to keep them indoors. They have a very short coat of fur so it gets hard for them to maintain their temperature. Our Boxers stayed inside most of the time. They did have access to going outdoors which they did often on their own.
Boxers are not high maintenance dogs. All you have to do is make sure their claws are trimmed.
The draw back for us was when we got a second Boxer. This time we got a male boxer named Scout. Scout was also a great dog, he was just twice Dixie's size. When Dixie had her first litter of pups four of them were solid white. Everywhere we read was not good about the solid white ones. They have a tendency to be blind, deaf and a higher chance of diseases and death. Within a week two of them died. The other two were adopted. Some how Dixie also passed on parvo despite the fact she had been vaccinated. We believe this is why most of them died.
As far as other animals go, Dixie got along with most of them. At least until she got attacked by a cat. Cats were on her bad list but other than that she loved playing with other dogs big and large. When we had to move into the city she didn't mind the company of our neighbors dogs. In fact, my daughter let the others in to "play."
Of all the dogs I have ever had the Boxer has been the best dog. Just the Boxer breed changed my attitude about dogs in general since I believed dogs were bad to have with children. Research was the greatest thing I could do for myself and my family. I would have never taken that initial step and let go of my fears. I do still stick by what vets and animal shelters will tell you: Dogs can never be completely trusted.
No dog is perfect. It is just that some breeds have a better temperament than others when it comes to children. Boxers are one of them.
Jennifer Bryan

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