We offer some things to consider.
Are you thinking about getting a dog?
A dog is a huge, long-term commitment. No slacking, this is a 15-year, 24/7 commitment you are getting into!
And owning a dog requires financial, emotional and time commitments from you.
- Can you handle it?
- Is now the right time?
- Or should you wait?
Let’s talk about the financial commitments of owning a dog. They’re an added expense, no way around it.
- First, there is a cost to acquiring it, whether from the shelter or from a breeder.
- You need to purchase necessities like food, food and water bowls, treats, chewies, a crate or kennel, a bed, and odor neutralizer and toys.
- You’ll want to walk your dog so you need a collar that is properly fitted, a leash and perhaps a halter or harness to prevent choking. Oh, and poop bags for your walks.
- If you have a yard, it should be fenced in and gated.
- A child gate will keep it out of areas in the house that are out of bounds.
- Perhaps a sweater or two to keep warm.
All this before you bring Fido home.
Then you and the dog will see the veterinarian who will provide the first check-up.
- You will see the vet for annual check-ups and regular vaccinations.
- The vet can help keep the dog’s nails trimmed and is there for emergencies and illness too.
Let’s talk about the emotional commitment.
The dog will be relying on you for attention and affection. They love unconditionally and want to spend time with you, their pack.
Time and Lifestyle
Let’s talk about the time commitment that goes along with having a dog.
You want to make sure you have time for one and that that it fits into your lifestyle.
You’ll be responsible for the feeding and care of the dog. He can’t wait for his food.
Be sure to evaluate all facets of your life including schedules in order to determine the best one for you.
- What is your lifestyle like?
- How much time do you have to spend with the dog?
- What do you do for activities?
- Are you away from home a lot?
- Do you commute to work or work out of your home?
Size Does Matter!
How big a dog do you want?
What size can fit into your living surrounding?
- Do you have a large house and fenced yard where a dog can run?
- Or a small apartment with a postage-stamp-size deck?
What qualities do you want in a dog?
Make a list of the qualities you want in a dog.
- Are you active and want a large dog who will run with you every day?
- Are you a hunter and want one who is a pointer or retriever?
- Do you want a small lapdog who just wants to sit on your lap and be loved at the end of your day?
What do you imagine life with your new your dog will be like?
- Training. Do you want to be able to train it all the fun tricks or just how to come and sit?
- Want a one who is protective and a guard dog or a companion who is not?
- Do you have Children? You probably want a breed that loves and is good with kids.
- Does anyone have allergies? You probably want one who is “hypoallergenic” and does not shed.
- Are you away from home a lot? You probably want a dog that has low energy and needs less exercise.
Do you really want a puppy?
- Puppies take a lot of time! A puppy will take a huge amount of your time with their high energy and training needs. Maybe a puppy will be too much trouble to work for you.
- Perhaps an older dog who is house trained and content to remain at home would be ideal for your situation.
Deciding on the breed
Once you have your evaluations completed and your list made, you can narrow down the dog breed that will be perfect for you and your situation. There are several resources that you can access to help you in your search. Here are two of my favorites.
- AKC: You can review breeds and their characteristics at the AKC website.
- Animal Planet has a dog breed selector that is helpful in narrowing down your choices based on a few questions.
If you decide to go with a purebred dog, be sure to ask for referrals about the breeders. Visit them, meet the puppies and parents, look at the surroundings and make a good decision.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
Animal shelters have many dogs to choose from. If you decide to adopt, consider visiting the reputable local animal shelters to choose the right dog there.
Adopt don’t shop!
Never buy from pet stores or sales websites because they are often selling dogs who come from puppy mills. The inhumane treatment that puppy mills give their animals is a shame and they need to be closed out of business.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a tremendous resource for you when you are deciding on getting a dog.
The AKC has an article listing 75 ways (yes, 75 ways!) to be a responsible dog owner.
And you do want to be a responsible dog owner, right? Go check it out!
So, Thinking About Getting a Dog?
As you can see, there are many considerations to think about before committing to getting a dog.
Do your research and you will find that perfect best friend for life!
Here’s a story about one we adopted.