The dog is one of the most popular pets in the world (of course cat lovers will argue for cats). Dogs have long played an important role in the lives of humans. It’s thought that dogs have been pets for thousands of years. Dogs are often called Man’s Best Friend. This is because dogs help man out in so many ways.
Dogs are fun, sweet, loving, loyal animals, and when you welcome one into your family, he or she is likely to become your best friend right away! Unfortunately, not all people treat their furry BFFs with the right care. Caring for an animal requires a lifelong commitment. Your dog is always going to need fresh water, healthy food, regular vet visits, and lots of love, attention, and exercise. Giving your pooch proper care may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people treat dogs like property instead of family members, keeping them outdoors in all weather extremes, neglecting and abusing them, not giving them proper shelter – or any at all – and sentencing them to life on a chain with no exercise. We know you’d never treat your dog like that, but if you ever see a dog who’s being treated that way, be sure to ask your parents to contact your local animal control agency to let them know.
Types and Breeds of Dogs
There are lots of breeds and types of dogs. Dogs vary in size from very small (just a couple of inches tall) to very large (three feet tall). Some breeds of dogs are considered better for indoor or outdoor pets and some breeds are considered working dogs. Jobs that dogs perform include hunting, police work, rescue work, and seeing-eye dogs for the blind. Because dogs are intelligent and willing to be trained, they make a great companion and work animal.
Different breeds have different characteristics and skills, but most dogs have large teeth, can run fast and jump, walk on their toes, and have strong muscles.
Smelling, Hearing, Seeing, Tasting, Touching
Just like you, your dog uses his five senses; smell, hearing, sight, taste, and touch.
The sense of smell is your dog’s most acutely sharpened sense. Dogs can smell better than humans, and they use it much more widely. Dogs use their noses to distinguish between people, places, foods, and prey. Hunting and tracking dogs can identify animals from far away even without seeing them, just based on their smell. As you may know, this skill comes in handy for humans, as a dog’s sense of smell is often used for the following purposes: track Animals, track or find humans, find narcotics or drugs, detect poisonous gases.
They don’t just smell things stronger than we do, they smell them in an entirely different way – and it’s absolutely fascinating! Where a human might enter a home and smell a pot roast in the oven, a dog would enter that same home and individually identify every ingredient. They would smell the roast separately and distinctly from the potatoes, carrots, and onions. They’d smell the garlic separately from the pepper. They’d even smell the pot it’s cooking in! It makes perfect sense, then, that your dog seems fascinated with sniffing everything during your daily walks. While it might appear that he’s just sniffing a patch of grass, no different than any other patch, he’s gathering all sorts of information about who or what was there before. Dogs absolutely love games that let them use their noses. And, because they’re so naturally good at them, it’s a confidence booster when they succeed.
Dogs have a great sense of hearing. In fact, it is their second best sense (next to their sense of smell). Not only can they hear sounds that are too quiet for people to hear, but they also can hear sounds that are either too high or too low in pitch for people to hear and are capable of hearing and pinpointing sounds at a much farther distance. In addition, dogs can use the muscles in their ears to aim them at the source of sound, making their hearing even more efficient. Not only do they hear much louder and more clearly than we do, they’re able to discern subtle differences in sound that humans could never hear. They also hear sounds in completely different frequencies than humans do. In fact, if everyone in your entire city drove the exact same car, your dog would still know whether or not it was you pulling into the driveway.
Their incredible sense of hearing is, in large part, due to the unique shape and structure of their ears, which rotate and move independently of one another. That’s why caring for your dog’s ears is so important. Your dog’s ears should be inspected regularly for redness or irritation, dirt or debris, waxy build-up, or any other abnormalities. They should always be kept clean and dry, especially dogs with floppy or long, droopy ears that are prone to infection. A dog’s ability to hear varies based on a dog’s age and breed.
Unlike humans who see in full colour, a dog is only able to see the world around them in shades of blue, yellow, and grey. They have much better night vision than humans and are better at detecting movement. Additionally, many dogs, such as those with eyes placed toward the sides of their skulls, have incredible ranges of vision, sometimes up to 270 degrees. These attributes often help hunting and tracking dogs.
Dogs do not have as many taste buds or as well-developed a sense of taste as humans, but this is partially made up for by their keen sense of smell. Nevertheless, dogs aren’t too picky about what they eat, as you may well already know. Dogs actually have far fewer taste buds than humans and don’t have a well-developed sense of taste. Because dogs don’t eat food for the taste, and will often chew and swallow anything that remotely resembles something edible, it’s important to carefully monitor your dog and watch what he puts into his mouth. Many of the foods your dog will gladly scarf down can be deadly if swallowed. Many popular plants are toxic, even if only licked.
The main difference with taste between people and dogs is that people won’t eat something that smells bad, while dogs are the opposite – the smellier the better! People tend to try something before deciding whether or not we like it. Dogs, however, have fewer taste buds than people and are more concerned with smell. Dogs frequently gobble down food before they even have time to chew it, or taste it.
A dog’s sense of touch is the very first sense to develop and, for the first few weeks of their life, the one they rely on and learn the most from. Your dog’s sense of touch involves both him touching other objects and also how he is touched. A dog’s entire body is covered in touch-sensitive nerve endings that “feel” the world around him, the wind blowing or a fly landing on his back, for example. And dogs have touch-sensitive hairs called vibrissae – better known as their whiskers – on their muzzle and above their eyes.
Dogs continually use their sense of touch to communicate with other dogs and with you. Physical affection, petting, scratching, and massage are all positive and important ways to communicate to your dog through touch. Another great way to show affection through touch that your dog will absolutely love (and he’ll benefit from, too) is brushing! Using a massaging dog brush, gently stroke your dog’s body, activating those nerve-endings, loosening hair, and giving his coat a great shine.
Dogs as Pets
Dogs can be great pets for kids. The key is to train both the dog and the child. Kids must learn how to treat a dog so the dog will not retaliate. There are many expert trainers who can help you choose the right dog for your family as well as help train your dog and children how to behave.
Children encounter dogs wherever they go: in the park, on the sidewalk, at their friends’ homes. Sometimes it’s love at first sight, on both sides – but not always. The right way for a child to approach a dog to ensure that the first connection is a complete success begins with this question to the owner: “May I pet your dog?
Choosing a Dog
There are lots of great breeds out there, but each one is different. If you decide to have a dog for a pet, you need to choose a dog that fits your lifestyle. Some things to consider:
How active are you – Be honest here. Some dogs like to hang around, but others need lots of exercise. Pick a dog that fits your level of activity.
Yard dog or house dog – Some dogs want to be outside. Pick a dog that will be happy with the home and yard you have.
Are there kids in your family – Some dogs are better with kids than others.
Finances – Before you get a dog, be sure to understand the costs. Can you afford feeding a dog, getting it shots, taking it to the vet, and more?
Time commitment – Dogs take time. They have emotional and physical needs that will take up a good amount of your time. Be sure you want to do this every day before getting a dog.