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Why You Should Get Expert Advice When Selecting a Dog

By DaphneRobertHamilton. | Dog Info

Leaving home to go off to college? Starting your first big career opportunity? Getting married? Buying a house? Having your first child? Getting divorced? A family member gets ill, disabled or passes away? 

  Why You Should Get Expert Advice When Selecting a Dog There are many big life-changing events that occur that would benefit from research and expert guidance. Same goes to when you finally make the big decision to add a puppy or dog to your life for the first time. You are entering an unknown reality. You see your friends with dogs and it looks all really great or it could be a nightmare situation. Throw your expectations out the window. It never turns out like you think it will. So how can you best prepare for this new venture with the best foot forward? I offer a service called Pre-Ownership Counseling that helps anyone thinking about adding a puppy/dog to their life. It all starts with an initial appointment to discuss your lifestyle and needs. Instead of leading your decision impulsively and all with your heart, I will be able to help you make rational decisions that would help find you the more appropriate dog to fit your lifestyle. The greater the disparity, the more unpleasant the situation will be for all involved. We will discuss all things about dogs and your lifestyle, including but not limited to: if you like to travel, if you like to be spontaneous with your entertainment and spend nights out, do you prefer being home and you are not extremely social or do you have family and friends over frequently, mixed vs pure, how to screen shelters/rescues, how to screen breeders, where NOT to get a dog/puppy, inherent "˜normal' dog behavior, a dog's physical and mental needs, financial considerations for good dog food and treats, financial considerations for:
  • regular veterinary wellness appointments,
  • surgeries, emergencies,
  • training for you and the dog,
  • boarding and/or doggy daycare,
  • a dog walker,
  • grooming/nail trimming,
  • a poop pick up service,
  • replacing furniture, carpets,
  • getting a fence installed. etc.

Did I mention owning a dog will take up a lot of finances?

Americans spend billions on pets. In 2017 it's estimated that Americans have spent close to $70 billion alone. Besides understanding what your life is currently like and what you are willing to adjust is also important. Adding a sentient being into your care is no small matter. Dogs require social time and training. So whatever "˜free' time you currently have, that will now go to the dog. Depending on your where you live, country, suburbs, city, will kind of dictate what sorts of engagement you will need with your dog. Daily walks, swimming, hikes, running and playing with other dogs and more importantly, training. Training should be about YOU learning how to best live with your dog in harmony. You should be educated on what normal dog behavior is, how to get desired behaviors, how to add cues to behaviors, how to get a confident, joyous and dog. Look for a trainer that doesn't use force, coercion, pain, threats, or fear, either group or private, and you will learn about forming a relationship built on trust. You will also learn how to build fluency, reliability and to get brilliant behaviors. You have to realize that training happens every day. Anytime the dog is awake, it's learning. Dogs can be very good at training humans if you are not aware of the behavior contingencies. Adding a dog is similar to adding a child to your life. It will require a long-term commitment. Dogs are dogs: they bark, dig, run, chase, sometimes kill critters, destroy things, poo, pee, vomit, drool, shed fur, growl and to top that off they can have behavior sensitivities like: separation distress, separation anxiety, leash reactivity, no-social skills with other dogs, aggression towards strangers and resource guarding. There are also some medical issues you need to know about like worms, fungus issues, and zoonotic diseases. You will also need to learn some basic husbandry skills or at least be aware of them. If you are a family, then be mentally prepared for one person to take full reins of the dog even though you might get sincere words or promises from family members. You may require family meetings and/or family therapy. Just realize from the beginning, that other family members will not be on the same plane as the main caretaker, and that's ok. It's unrealistic to have everyone in the family partake in the same level of care and attention as that one main person. So don't set your family up for failure. Family members do however have to understand the basics of care and not to sabotage routines or training. You can assign each member with one or two behaviors (tricks) to be responsible for. As a dog trainer, one has to be educated in adult learning as well as family dynamics. If you have young ones, it's also very important to know how to separate dog and kids. You will need to give the dog a safe zone and model appropriate behaviors that the kids can do with the dog. There are appropriate and inappropriate human behaviors that we would discuss prior to bringing in a dog into the family. A good source for families with children are: Family Paws Parent Education, Dog Gone Safe and a book called Happy Kids, Happy Dogs Once we narrow down your lifestyle then I may narrow down your search to "˜easier' first-time sorts of dogs. Too often I get clients that are miss-matched with their dog. The pairing is challenging and not easy. It's similar to being a novice in something yet getting a highly powerful & sophisticated piece of equipment that you may not have the skills to operate. Disaster waiting to happen. Based on a survey, with information gathered from the American Kennel Club and Vetstreet, 218 veterinarians gave their opinion on which breeds and mixes would make for a good "˜first-time' dog for new owners. Some of the dogs that made the list are: Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, Labradoodle, Goldendoodle. Then my service extends to going to the shelters and breeders with my clients so that I can best guide them in their decision and selection. So by looking at your current situation, an expert can best give you advice on what sort of dog would best fit your energy/personality and whether a puppy, adult or senior dog would be best for you and/or your family making a better match from the start. Selecting a Dog and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers

Daphne Robert-HamiltonDaphne Robert-Hamilton, CPDT-KA

Daphne Robert-Hamilton is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She was a Certified Equestrian Coach by the Canadian Equestrian Federation before moving into the dog training world. She competed extensively with her two Doberman Pinschers from 1997-2002 and achieved being a finalist in the Top 20 Obedience in 2000 and 2002 with the Doberman Pinscher Club of America. In 2002 Daphne graduated from the SFSPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, which is now defunked. She went on to intern at the SFSPCA Academy and graduated with honors in dog aggression. Daphne became the go-to trainer in the SF Bay Area for aggression cases. Daphne has done webinars, been interviewed in several dog magazines and has written a two part article on "sibling rivalry" for The Chronicle of The Dog. Daphne was the Head Trainer for Washington state for Pets for Vets for about two years. She has fostered many dogs helping them find loving forever homes. Daphne is a member of The Pet Professional Guild. Daphne has been married for 24yrs and currently lives with her two Rhodesian Ridgebacks in Washington State. Facebook: Youtube: Yelp: Website is under construction - k9partnership


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We liked the first cover so much that a few days later we purchased a second one. The cover installs very, very easily, fits and covers the rear seat and the back of the front seats of our Subaru Tribeca perfectly, has flaps that cover the door-side edges of the rear seat, and stays perfectly in place. Spilled or tracked water beads up on the material and can be easily wiped off. At first our dog did tend to slide just a little on the new cover, but he soon learned to stand, sit, and lay just as well as he did before on the uncovered seat. The hammock portion seems like it might provide some little bit of protection in a sudden stop (our guy will chew apart any "doggie seat belt" type of restraint in very short order - so that option is out of the question for us). As to keeping him out of the car front-area - well, our long-legged Standard Poodle has no problem in still looking closely out the front windshield by putting his front feet on the center console - straddling the hammock - with no problem whatsoever. But we did discover that having the hammock in place does allow us to safely keep his water bottle and dish, his leash, and an old towel on the floor under the hammock - where he can no longer get at them (especially the leash and towel) to chew on them. All in all, an excellent seat cover.


My furbabies don't like leather seats!!!! But they love this seat cover!!!

Very hard to find a split bench seat cover at a reasonable price, this one fit the bill. Easy to install, very durable and looks to be easy to clean. Wanted something that would protect the leather seats and was pet friendly (hate it when the material of regular seat covers snags toenails and collars). I don't think I will have to buy another for many years!!!

Jackie Carter

My Doodle approves!

Received on time, fits great and easy to install. Color is a great match. So far, so good. Durability? Time will tell. It appears to be well constructed.

Donald Fish

Fits my 2018 VW Tiguan perfectly

Very happy with our purchase. Fits perfectly, was easy to install and keeps the leather seats in our brand new vehicle perfectly clean.

Chris Campbell

great cover

This is actually a replacement for my original 4 knines cover which was 4 years old. I used it daily (bringing my pup to work with me) and washed it weekly, so the backing finally started to flake apart and come off. This newer version is easier to put over the headrests, great improvement in the strap and closures. Also the best improvement is the side flaps, the old cover didn't have these. These flaps help to catch the dirt from dogs feet when they are jumping up into the car, instead of it going on the side of the seat.

Diane Breland


This is my 2nd seat cover from 4knines and love them both. The product and service were both fantastic.


Repeat customer VERY satisfied.

We have made several purchases from 4Knines and are VERY satisfied with products (cargo liner, back seat cover, bucket front seat cover...). I volunteer at a shelter and take dogs offsite daily. Always a Pleasure doing business with 4Knines. Highly recommend.

Cristina Jones

Split Rear Dog Seat Cover - Fitted - No Hammock

I had ordered this item from an on-line site and was extremely disappointed when I received the wrong item. I was impressed with the quality of the seat cover and decided to contact 4Knines directly. I placed my order with Maggie and received the Split Rear Dog Seat Cover within three days. The seat cover fits nicely in my new Honda CR-V and as stated by 4Knines, is very easy to install and remove. My 8-month old labradoodle Brodie likes the comfort, and friends agree with him. Great quality item, reasonably priced, and outstanding customer service. Thanks 4Knines.


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