Having a dog can be one of life’s greatest joys: they’re always happy to see you, never talk back and will love you unconditionally. There are many benefits, emotionally and physically, to having a dog in your life. They help to lower your stress levels, boost your mood, keep you active and can help you to become more social.
Millions of people love dogs, and many people want to have a dog, but there’s a lot more to owning a dog then just feeding them and taking them out for a walk every once in a while, especially if you’re wanting to bring home a puppy or save a shelter dog.
After reading this article, and carefully considering each of these points, you’ll be able to decide if you really are ready to bring home a new dog.
Do you have the time for a dog?
Bringing a new puppy home will require a lot of time and energy, especially if it’s a young pup because they need to be let out every hour or so. To properly grasp the concept of potty training, you will have to be consistent with them, and their bladders aren’t big enough yet to hold it for very long.
After a puppy wakes up from a nap, you’ll have to take them out right away. Or, if a lot of play and excitement is involved, you’ll have to take them out more often, every half hour or so.
Bringing home a new puppy is a lot like bringing home a baby. You’ll have to wake up constantly throughout the night to tend to them and need to be around frequently throughout the day.
It would be a good idea to have someone be at home for during the day if you’re away at work, but if you don’t have someone with that kind of availability, and if your schedule doesn’t allow you to be so flexible, it would be a good idea to consider taking a week or two off work to help your puppy adjust.
Thankfully, this baby-like puppy stage doesn’t last too long, so you’ll be back to having a full night’s rest in no time.
With that said, however, having a dog will constantly require your time and attention, but it will be easier as they get older. It’s a good idea to schedule at least an hour a day for physical activity for your dog to help get all of their energy out, as well as multiple short walks throughout the day.
The age of the dog you bring home, will also make a big difference in the dog’s ability to be trusted to stay home by itself. An 8-weeks’-old puppy will need constant attention, while a 6-months’-old puppy will still require lot’s of time and attention, but there will be less teething, and fewer trips to the bathroom. Bringing home an older dog or a dog from a shelter is also a good idea.
These dogs will usually have some sort of training and should already be housebroken, though they will still need lot’s of love and attention to help them adjust to their new home.
Something to consider is enrolling your dog in daycare, where they’ll be able to meet and play with many different dogs, which will help them learn to socialize and how to interact with dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Daycare will also help your dog to become more comfortable around people, while some daycares will even incorporate some training exercises into your dog’s day. With all the playing, walks and interaction that your pup will receive at daycare, they’ll come home calm and sleepy.
Can you afford providing good life for your dog?
Food, toys, treats, scheduled vaccines, unexpected trips to the veterinarian, leashes, collars, grooming, replacing anything your dog might have chewed or trashed: the list goes on. Owning a dog can be very expensive, and some things naturally cost more than others.
If you do decide to put your dog in daycare, look around for deals, compare prices and debate how much you’ll use it. It can be really beneficial, but it can also become a large monthly bill.
There is also the question of getting pet insurance. You’ll pay a monthly fee, and if your dog ends up getting sick or injured, you won’t be faced with a large medical bill. Do your research though when it comes to obtaining insurance for your pet; look around at the various rates that companies are offering and what procedures they’re willing to cover if an incident were to occur.
Obedience training is something to consider, and it’s a smart idea, because it can also teach you how to better control, and understand your dog. However there are many websites, and videos out there on dog training, so if you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and do your homework, you can train your dog on your own for free.
Do you travel often, or have to go out of town frequently for work? If so, you’ll need to make arrangements for Fido. If you’re able to bring your dog along, that’s perfect, but if you can’t, having a good friend or relative who’s willing to watch your dog would be best because boarding your dog can be quite expensive.
Depending how long you’re away for, it can vary greatly from thirty dollars a night to over a thousand dollars for a week, which is basically like paying for a whole other all-inclusive vacation.
Would the people around you be comfortable with your dog?
Would your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife/roommate be okay with getting a dog, and have the two of you talked about it thoroughly together? What about the kids? If you have children, would they be comfortable with a dog, and if they’re excited about a new furry family member, have you discussed that they need to be involved with exercising and looking after the dog?
Adding a dog to your family requires much time and energy from everyone involved; you need to make sure that everyone has the same understanding of the situation.
If you have other animals in your home, you need to consider them as well—especially if you have another dog in your house. It’s important that the two get along. They might not love each other at first, but they should be civil. When you introduce your new dog to your current dog, make sure it’s in an open, neutral area, like a park or even your backyard. Having the two meet for the first time in your home could really upset your current dog.
If you have cats, fish or other small animals, they generally don’t mix well with a new, excited or scared dog, so keep that in mind and know that it will take a while for your cat or other animals to adjust to this new slobbery dog in the house.
Consider where you live
If you live in a basement suite, or an apartment or condo, you should check to make sure dogs are allowed in the building. Some places tend to have restrictions on the size or number of dogs and animals you’re allowed to have, so double check with your landlord first.
Another good idea is to consider the area that you live in, and if you think that it’s dog friendly. If you live near a large park, field or trails, it will be easier for you to take your dog out for a walk or throw a ball around.
It’s always a hassle to have to drive to another location for those kinds of activities, which are crucial if you have a large breed puppy that has a lot of energy.
Are you ready for the responsibility and commitment?
The lifespan of your new four-legged companion is anywhere from eight to 20 years, depending on the breed. That’s a long commitment, but it’s an exciting journey, and you’re adding a new addition to your family that will bring you lots of love and joy.
Having a dog will obviously take up a lot of your time and energy, and it’s your job to make sure that they get the love, care and training that they need. If you decide to adopt a shelter dog, they might take some time to adjust to you, your family and your home.
Some shelter dogs have had hard lives, so they’re a little timid and may even have some trust issues or other issues that you’ll have to work on with them.
Dogs are pack animals, so it’s your responsibility to assert your dominance with your dog and be their pack leader. If they consider you to be their pack leader, it will make it a lot easier for them to trust and listen to you, which will make training a lot easier.
Life moves quickly and things happen, so sometimes you have to make a tough decision if you can still keep your dog or not. If you can’t, it’s up to you to find your dog a new home—one that’s suitable to your dog’s needs and a home that will show them all the love and attention they deserve.
Consider watching a friend’s or relative’s dog.
Before you decide to adopt, rescue or pick your puppy, consider looking after a friend’s or relative’s dog for a few days. This will give you a better understand of what your life would be like with a dog around or how your current dog or other pets would react to living with another dog.
Another alternative is to foster shelter dogs. This will help you to see what it’s like to live with a dog that you don’t know very well. You’ll also give a shelter dog some much needed love, and you just may fall in love and decide to keep the dog for yourself.
Should you rescue a dog or pick a particular breed?
Rescuing a dog is always a good idea because you’ll help to save a life. However, some people tend to have their hearts set on a particular breed and want to get them as puppies; that’s great too. In picking out a particular breed, make sure that the puppy is coming from a reputable breeder and not a puppy mill.
When deciding on a new dog, make sure that the dog is going to meet your energy levels. If you can’t get outside enough to take your dog for the long strolls and extensive energy release that some breeds require, choose a different breed; it will make things much easier on you both, so do your homework.
When picking out a rescue dog, keep your mind open to all breeds, and don’t believe stereotypes that some breeds may have. Look into the characteristics of the breed and see if they match what you’re looking for, such as their grooming needs and energy levels.
A dog’s behavior has a lot to do with its owners and how it’s treated. There are no bad breeds of dogs, and they all equally deserve love and a happy home.
Don’t overlook senior dogs either. They still need a warm, happy home. Senior dogs also usually come fully house-trained, as well as with some extra training, and they’ll usually listen to you better as well. They’re equally as loving as young dogs, and will still offer all the love and cuddles that you’re looking for.
So, are you really ready for a dog? Comment in the section below about any extra tips or information that you may have on adopting a new pet.