A New Dog In The Family

(Brought to you by your friends at
Huntsville Obedience Training Club)

So you have adopted a dog or puppy. Good for you! With lots of love and care your new dog or puppy can become a faithful, loving member of your family. Owning a dog is a huge responsibility, but by following a few simple guidelines, it will be very rewarding.

  • Remember that in the City of Huntsville and in Madison County there is a leash law. This means that your dog must be confined or in your control at all times. The fine for not doing so can be $20 as well as a $118.00 in court costs. A copy of City and County ordinances pertaining to dogs are available at their respective Animal Control Centers.

  • Do not let your dog loose in an open pick-up truck. If your pet must ride in the back please have him/her safety tethered. It is also safer to have your pet secured in the inside of your car with a dog harness that attaches to the seat belt or in a pet crate.

  • Have a Veterinarian check your new dog's or puppy's health as soon as possible. He/she will advise you concerning a vaccination schedule such as parvo, distemper and rabies which is required by law.

  • Be sure to feed your dog a complete and balanced diet. There are many good dog foods available on the market. Your Veterinarian will help you select one to suit your dog or puppy. Rely on your Veterinarian for the proper quantity and feeding schedule.

  • It is also in your dog's or puppy's best interest not to feed him or her table scraps. Under no circumstances give your dog chocolate, it can be toxic.

  • If you have adopted a new puppy or young dog make sure to check the collar. A fast growing puppy will out grow collars quickly. NEVER leave your puppy or dog unattended with a chain or cloth choke collar. It can result in death by strangulation.

  • If your dog will live outside, be aware of extreme weather conditions. For summer heat make sure your dog has some shade and plenty of fresh cool water to drink. In the winter provide shelter with bedding (straw) from cold wind. Your Veterinarian can advise you concerning weather extremes. Your dog may need a higher calorie diet in the winter months.

  • A dog's life and relationship with his/her human family are greatly improved with training. Done positively, training can be fun for you and your dog. Even the basics (come, no jumping, no biting, etc.) are beneficial. The more training done, the better for your dog and family. Also, please teach children how to treat the dog and not to tease. If you are unsure of how to train your dog, or would like to learn more, there are many good books on the subject. Dog trainers and Dog Obedience schools are listed in the Huntsville phone book yellow pages under "Dog Training". Almost everyone can learn something from these sources. Care enough about your dog to train him/her!

  • Please get your pet spayed or neutered. There are many homeless dogs. The lucky few find good homes others meet untimely deaths. Please don't contribute to pet overpopulation. Spaying or neutering your pet also has health and behavior benefits.