Puppy Lessons for the Obama Family

February 2, 2009 at 4:56 pm Leave a comment

It seems lately that the focus of Americans is not on the new president, but what dog his family should choose for their new home.  Shelter versus breeder controversy aside, have the Obamas given any thought to what it’s like to own a puppy? 

Cypress-1Four months ago, my fiancé and I decided to add a puppy to our household.  We had recently moved to a larger house with a fenced backyard and we wanted to share it with a dog – preferably one that didn’t have the best start in life.  That’s how we settled on Cypress, our Labrador/Doberman mix.

I browsed adoption websites and the SPCA daily, and checked the newspaper regularly.  Finally, we found a rescued litter and went for our first visit.  The six tiny pups had been severely malnourished and were very shy.  However, seeing them play, eat, and sleep together gave us a sense of their “status” in the group.  Cypress approached us with curiosity but warmed up to us quickly.  When we picked him up he was calm – not trying to squirm or get away–and he wasn’t biting or being pushy.  We knew this was a smart puppy that would fit in well with us.  The Obamas should take a close look at how the puppies interact with one another as an indication of how they will act at the White House.

Cypress-3We preferred a fairly large dog–assertive, yet not a bully or too hyperactive.  We also wanted to be sure he was healthy, and had all his vet papers. We researched breeds to find out about dispositions and we talked about who would be responsible for the puppy during the day, who would take care of food and training, and of course, who would scoop the poop. The whole Obama family needs to think and talk about these responsibilities (although I’m sure they’ll have a paid “scooper”) together before and after the puppy arrives.

The most valuable thing we have done for Cypress so far was to enrol him in a puppy class, where he could socialize with other dogs and people.  We made it a priority to go together every week and we all did the “homework”. We also learned how to let Cypress play without getting hurt or overwhelmed—an extremely valuable lesson.  I’m not sure how the president of the United States will manage a puppy class, but I’m sure there’s a group catering to the presidential sect.  The whole Obama family should go to the class to help the adults and children train the dog, and become comfortable with dog handling. 

Cypress-2We have enjoyed every moment of “puppyhood” so far, even when he wakes us up in the middle of the night, when we have to stay at home on Friday nights to be with him, and when he chews my shoes….sometimes.  Getting a dog has brought us closer together, given us more responsibility, and Cypress is part of our family.  It’s fantastic that the Obama family is getting a dog (regardless of breed or where it comes from) because there is nothing like seeing the happy face of a puppy when you come home at the end of a hard day (and I’m sure the new president will have a few of those).

-Jessica Cameron

Entry filed under: Pet Health, Pet Stories, Pet Training.

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