General Information for Dogs



If you’ve adopted a puppy get ready for a very rewarding (and sometimes exhausting) experience!  As with the young of all species puppies go through several developmental stages on their way to adulthood.  Recognizing and understanding each stage as well as learning how to interact with your puppy as he/she passes through these stages will help him/her grow into the best dog he/she can be.  We think the following links will be helpful:

The following link has an easy to read chart showing all the stages of a dog’s life and what your dog will need in each stage.


Each dog breed has recognizable characteristics that influence behavior.  Learning about these characteristics will help you decide what kind of dog will be the best fit for you and will help you understand why your dog behaves the way it does.  However, keep in mind that the behavior and personality of individual dogs  will vary quite a bit.  Factors such as rank within their litter (whether they were the alpha, the runt or something in between), how they were socialized as puppies and how humans have treated them will all influence the way an individual dog behaves.  If you’ve adopted a mixed breed you’ll probably be able to see traits of a couple of breeds. 

Check out this link for helpful information about your dog’s breed:

This site has great advice about finding the best breed for you and your family


Because dogs are such social animals they communicate with each other and with humans in lots of different ways.  They use their bodies and their voices to let others know what they’re thinking and what they want.  Learning how to understand “dog talk” is a really important part of living happily and successfully with a companion dog.  Plus it’s fun!  Let the following links be your first lesson!

This link is all about dog body language:

These links are all about dog vocalization, including what to do about excessive barking.

 TRAINING YOUR DOG (Obedience training, crate training and housetraining)

Dogs do best if they know what you expect of them and most dogs are eager to learn.  You are their family and they want to fit in!  Whether it’s house training, crate training or obedience training the more you know about how to train your dog the easier it will be for both of you.  Follow these links for great ideas!

Ideas for crate training:

Ideas for house training puppies:

Ideas for housetraining adult/older dogs:

Ideas for general obedience training:


Watching a dog running through a field- tail wagging and ears flapping in the breeze- is a wonderful sight!  It’s fun for your dog and it provides much-needed exercise!  But, there are a few things to consider before you unhook the leash.  Most cities and towns require dog licenses and also have leash laws that serve to protect people, other animals (both wildlife and farm animals) and the dogs themselves.  Dogs running loose are in danger of getting hit by cars, getting lost or being attacked by other dogs or wild animals. Neighbors might not appreciate your dog as much as you do either!  The best idea is to always know where your dog is.  Either keep him/her on a leash or make sure he/she stays with you while you’re out for a walk.  If you’re not able to be with your dog outside put him/her on a long leash in the yard or keep him/her in a fenced area (but only for brief periods…see “OUTDOOR DOGS” for more).  And always have identification on your dog, either a tag on their collar or a microchip.

Check with your town regarding dog licenses and leash laws.  Then check the following links for information about I.D. tags and microchips:


It’s the nature of dogs to live closely with others.  In the wild they live in packs.  Companion dogs think of the people they live with as their family and they want and need to interact and be part of the family.   Denying them this opportunity by keeping them permanently outside in a doghouse while the rest of the family is inside is inhumane and results in unhappy, lonely dogs that develop annoying behaviors like constant barking and whining.  There are so many good reasons to have your dog live inside with you and almost no good ones for keeping him/her outside.  For more information check out these links:


It’s not clear why some dogs become very anxious when left alone while others do not.  What is clear is that the destructive behavior that some dogs engage in because of their anxiety can cause real problems for everyone. 

To better understand this condition and find help click on these two links:


Just like people some dogs are more aggressive than others.  As with other temperament traits this is probably due to a number of factors including genetics, rank within their litter, how and when they were socialized and how humans have treated them.  A dog that bites or fights with other animals will need careful training and supervision in order to remain a member of a household.  Owners of aggressive dogs have a responsibility to protect others in their community if they decide to keep the dog.

For more information click on these links:

The following link addresses reckless owner laws:


You want your dog to be well liked by the others, both animals and people.  You can help make this happen by learning the best ways to introduce your dog in new situations.  For help click here:


It’s not exactly like bringing home a baby but it’s close!  Before you bring home your new dog it’s a good idea to stock up on supplies your dog will need.  It’s also a good idea to check out your house to make sure there’s nothing your little buddy can damage!  For ideas check these links:


Your dog needs exercise and so do you.  Your dog likes to have fun and so do you.  If you do it together everyone wins!!  The following links have great ideas for exercising and having fun with your dog.  Check them out and start making memories for both of you!


We know you’ll want your dog to look and feel his/her best!  Whether you decide to groom your dog yourself or take him/her to a professional dog groomer these links will help you get started: