When getting a mixed breed dog, also known as a mutt or mongrel, many times it is not known what breeds are going into the mix. For this reason, it's best to plan for the care of the dog under these more general guidelines, rather than breed specific ones.
- The basic supplies that are needed for your mixed breed dog are water and food bowls, and a leash and collar. Dogs don't really require much, but also recommended are a dog bed, dog toys, dog bones and chewys, and a dog crate. Above all, though, dogs are happiest if you just give them lots of your time.
- Mixed breed puppy training should begin the first day you bring him home. This can either be done on your own, or along with a professional trainer. Behavioral training will help you to stop dog behavior problems such as jumping, barking, begging, biting and chewing. Dog training techniques like paper training or potty bell training can help you housebreak a puppy. Obedience training is useful when it comes time to teach a dog to come to you, stay, sit, and heel. There is a wide array of dog training equipment (like training collars, for example) that can help you in your challenge, as well as a variety of ways to find dog trainers in your area.
- The amount of exercise needed for a mixed breed dog will vary, because of the different breeds going into the dog. At the very least, all dogs, no matter the breed, will benefit from a daily walk on a leash, or a daily run around a fenced-in back yard or open field. If you take your dog off his leash, make sure he is in a safe area. Toward that end, a dog-friendly yard can provide your canine friend with a great area to romp -- you'll need a fence, though (depending on the breed, an invisible dog fence could be the right choice). If your yard is largely inhospitable for a dog and difficult to make dog-friendly, consider building a dog run.
- A good dog diet is essential to your companion's health. All very young puppies need to eat twice a day. Once they are around eight or nine months old, the feedings can be reduced to just once a day. Your veterinarian can tell you the best type of food for your particular dog, and can also tell you when it is the appropriate time to make the change from puppy food to adult food. It is usually sometime between one and two years, depending on the size of the dog.
- Even though some breeds need dog grooming, they, and all other dog breeds, can benefit from an occasional bath. Smaller dogs can be bathed in a sink or utility sink, and larger dogs in a bath tub. In nice weather, large dogs can also be bathed outside with the garden hose. Dog shampoos can be purchased at many grocery, discount, and specialty stores.
- Crate-training is a good idea for all dogs, no matter the size, breed or temperament. If you have multiple dogs, you should have one crate for each dog. The crate-training should begin as early as possible so the dog learns this is, and can be, a safe place for him. You'll need patience to stick with it when the dog cries or barks and wants to be let out. If you let him out at this point, he will always expect it.
Mixed breed dogs are all unique, and if all the proper care guidelines are followed, they will be just as special as a purebred dog. If you treat them special, they will repay the kindness.