Thinking about getting a Dog?
by Donna Saunders – In The Doghouse
It can happen to anybody. You see this great dog that’s looking for a home and gives you that big-eyed look that says "pick me" Before you know it, you're buying dog food & he’s already sleeping on your bed!
Falling in love with a dog is easy. Sharing your home with a canine friend can bring great love & fun. There's no doubt that dogs can give unconditional acceptance and loyalty, provide constant companionship & fun, and help relieve stress after a hard or busy day.
However, making the decision to get a dog shouldn’t be taken lightly. Owning a dog takes a lot of time, money, and commitment – over 15 years worth, in many instances. Dog ownership can be extremely rewarding, but it’s also a big responsibility. Here are some things to consider.Why do you want a dog?
It’s a simple question, but one many people fail to ask themselves before they get a dog. Getting a dog just because it’s “the thing to do,” or because your children have been begging for a puppy can end up being a big mistake. Remember that you will be responsible for caring for your new family member for up to 15 years. They are not disposable!Is there enough time in your life for a dog?
Dogs are companion animals and cannot be ignored just because you’re busy or too tired to deal with them. They require a lot of care, which includes feeding, training, exercising, and socializing – dogs need companionship every day. Many wonderful dogs end up in rescue because their owners didn’t have the time to train and care for them.Can you afford a dog?
The costs of caring for a dog throughout his life can be expensive. Healthcare, training classes, grooming, food, toys, treats, boarding, and other expenses add up fast. Are you ready to deal with the problems a dog can cause?
Whether you get a puppy or an adult, there will always be unexpected health- related emergencies. It’s also a good idea to expect a certain amount of damage around the house and to your personal belongings, especially when raising a puppy, or any dog not yet housetrained.Is this a good time to get a dog?
If you have young children you should put extra consideration into getting a dog and even more specifically what type. Dogs can be super energetic, overly so for many young kids children also need to be mature enough to care correctly for the dog or you need to be managing the dog & child 100% all the time (you know the news stories that pop up on the TV!) If you travel a lot for your job, or have commitments where you would have to leave him behind a lot, think about waiting until you settle down to consider having a dog.What dog?
We would not dream of investing €10,000 on a car that we know nothing about, had no warranty, we had not driven, and was completely unsuitable for our use. Or think about your next mobile phone – you want to know all the features and if it’s right for you before you buy it no?
Often people put more effort into the above than they do their research into which dog. Think about size, breed (& what was it actually bred to do), temperament, age, history & what you want to do with the dog too.
Consider if you actually want a puppy or would you prefer to adopt an older dog – maybe one that is already house trained, come out of the testing teenage times, or one who is well adjusted and happy with life already. Maybe their human has died and they need someone to love them again.Will your home environment work for the dog you have in mind?
The dog’s size relative to the size of your living space is not the only factor to think about here. Small dogs such as terriers, for example, are active and need a lot of stimulation to be calm. Some small dogs tend to bark at any noise, which could be a problem for you, or for your neighbours. On the flip side, there are some big dogs who are very mellow and quite happy to sleep on
the couch all day. Do some research into what different dogs need to make sure that your living situation is suitable, and that the dog you want fits into your current lifestyle.Do you have someone to look after your dog when you travel or if you’re working out the house for 10hrs a day?
Think about the people you know who have or love dogs, and would be reliable enough to take care of your dogs when you’re gone. Dog walkers are invaluable for when you’re busy through the day but a really great boarding facility is essential to know about before you travel or have an emergency.Will you be a conscientious and responsible dog parent?
Apart from some of the more obvious things such as giving your dog lots of love, exercise, companionship, a nutritious diet, regular health check-ups, spaying/neutering, and having a microchip all part of being a good owner, what about training?!
Yes training, from the very start is a NECESSITY! Everything you do is teaching your dog something whether you want it to or not. If he is peeing on your bed or chewing your Jimmy Choos then he has learnt that’s the thing to do & not been taught effectively where he should go.
If you want a drama free puppy hood and your dog to be cool & sociable, not trying to kill other dogs or eat people, and maybe you want him to chill out at the café – get a trainer! Seek out a class for you and your dog to attend or get a trainer to come to you at home – it is never too early OR too late to start! Older dogs can also have problems that have never been addressed or perhaps you’ve taken on a dog with issues – please help them learn life can be ok!Your dog is yours for life
It’s a long list of questions, but it’s important that you think through the responsibilities associated with bringing a dog into your life. Too many dogs wind up at already overflowing rescue centres because people didn’t ask themselves these questions. Please try to avoid repeating this common mistake. Think seriously about how life will change once you have a dog. Having a dog is incredibly rewarding – if you’re ready for the responsibility.Example of items that will cost you:
Food Vaccinations Vet Bills Spey / Neuter Bed
Flea & Tick Control Worming
Treats Chew Toys Bowls Collars Lead
Boarding for when you’re away Car Restraint
Replacement shoes after chewing!Animals are not disposable – make the right choices & be awesome!
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