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You don’t get to choose your relatives. You only half-choose your friends because they have to choose you back.
But a dog? That choice is all yours. Do it up Old School.
Old School Rules For The Family Dog
These rules are strictly for that, the family dog. Hunting dogs, show dogs, sled dogs, police dogs and other career dogs are a different matter.
1. Get a mutt
Mutts rule. If you can tell people your new dog’s pedigree in detail, congratulations. You have discovered a way to bore people. You’re not going to be walking your dog’s ancestors or paperwork. You’ll be walking that one unique animal. Now factor in the problem of puppy mill dogs, cranking out the breed du jour without regard to safe breeding practices just so they can get the money of people who put trends above reality, well, I say it again. Mutts rule.
1a. Get a mutt from a shelter
In addition to being the only game show host (along with Bob Eubanks) I have never wanted to punch, Bob Barker had it right.
“Have your pet spayed or neutered.”
Kudos to Drew Carey for keeping that tag line on the Price Is Right. Shelter dogs and the whole spay/neuter thing are the way to go.
2.Your dog tells people about you
2a. Small dogs
When I was a kid I walked to my elementary school. One of the houses on the path had a chihuahua. Like most chihuahuas, the thing was a yapper. Scared the tar out of me. It didn’t help that my older brother told me,
“Chihuahua were originally dogs that were bred with rats to make them small & mean.”
Regardless, I still can’t stand the things. But that’s me. I will never own a chihuahua or any other yapping prone dog. I am six feet, three inches tall. I can’t get past the fact I’d look like Lurch walking a hamster. Plus, I have four action-figure-wannabe-sons who need a dog with patience and a certain amount of canine durablity, not yapping.
If a dog looks like it might have once lived in Paris Hilton’s purse, an Old School Man will tread carefully.
Actually, these dogs have one thing in common with Paris Hilton. Every time I look at them I think, “You could stand to eat a little more.”
2b. Big dogs
Don’t get more dog than you or your family can handle. I think this is why I’m not totally going to rule out small dogs. Sweet little old ladies (Nature’s Sentinels of Goodily Goodness), especially ones who always wear hats and carry big purses, deserve canine companionship, too. I wish they didn’t insist on giving their dogs’ names like, “Mr. Snurples” (See rule 4), but they get a free pass.
2c. The Problem With Pit Bulls Is…
… the owners. Not every pit bull owner, in fact the great dog from the old Little Rascals movie shorts was a pit bull. And not the few friends of mine that own friendly, lovable pit bull mutts. No, I’m talking about the guys who look like they are compensating for some missing inner quality of “guyness”. The percentage of pit bull owners who are regularly in public with exposed boxer short is significantly above the average. (I just didn’t make that point up. It’s in the Journal of Fabricated Statistics.)
3. Don’t dress up your dog…
… except on Halloween. It’s Bailey, America’s #1 Super Dog and Junior fighting crime.
4. Don’t give a dog a dufus name
A dog’s name should have a maximum of three syllables, preferably one or two.
And none of this “Mister” junk. I have humans I won’t address with mister. I’m not going to do that with a dog.
And don’t make it too clever.
Me: What’s your dog’s name?
Non Old School Guy: Mr. Dee-ohgee.
Me: Dee-ohgee? Where did that come from?
Non Old School Guy: D-O-G. Dog. Get it?
Me: (Pained expression) Yep. I get it.
5. Caring for a dog…
… is a great way to teach young children responsibility.
6. Introducing Pearl
Keep it Old School, my friend
The Old Man, Chris Dixon