Everyone knows that a dog is man’s best friend. What people don’t know is that not everyone is meant to own a dog right now. Some people have enough time, money and patience for a new canine friend, and others should consider waiting. If you’ve never owned a dog before, it can be one of the most rewarding commitments you ever make. But it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Here is some dog “food for thought” to help you decide if right now is the right time or not:
Do you have the time for a dog day-to-day? You may want to think about your daily schedule and factors like making time to take them for a walk everyday, letting them out on a regular schedule, giving them attention and even making time for training.
Is it a good financial decision? Although almost every pet owner would say that it’s all worth it, inviting a pet into your home does cost money. Typical expenses include vet bills, food, supplies (such as toys, beds and collars) and training.
Is it a good long-term decision? If you adopt a dog as a puppy, you should be prepared to make a 10 to 15 year commitment. That is long time! There are not many things we have to commit to for that long of a period, however, most pet owners would agree that 10 to 15 years doesn’t seem like enough time with their beloved pet. Some things to consider may be plans to move, plans to have kids or plans for increased travel.
Do you have an understanding of how dogs learn and their natural behaviors? If not, do you have time to learn?
Do you know the differences between breeds and how their needs vary?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it is best to dig in and do some homework. See how much money you have allotted for this new family addition. Look into the different types of breeds, because German Shepherds are going to have very different needs than Cocker Spaniels. Talking to trusted dog trainers to see how much training would cost you and how much time weekly would be involved in training is also a good idea. Make sure that if you are a traveling businessman or woman that you have a plan for what to do when you are out of town, whether it be a pet-sitter, boarding kennel or neighbor.
We always suggest looking into local shelters as the first stepping stone to finding a new friend, as these dogs are in great need of a home. However, there are many trusted breeders out there as well. Once you’ve found a potential new playmate, look into that specific breed and what their needs are. For instance if you fall head over heels for a hunting dog, know that these dogs require a lot of stimulation, exercise and training in order to keep focused and be an enjoyable housemate. In contrast, getting a small companion dog such as a Maltese or Cavalier King Charles may not require as much intense exercise, but grooming would be an important consideration. If you have kids, it is very important to find a dog you feel confident will be a good match for your kids and also any kids that may visit your home. You can find out more about specific breeds and their needs through the American Kennel Club.
Regardless of which breed you decide on, all dogs have to adapt to their new surroundings. Accidents will happen, mistakes will be made and patience will be put to the test. As we would not easily give away a child for having trouble learning to use the toilet, dogs are not something that should be seen as dispensable either. This is a long-term commitment that you and your dog have entered together. You’ll have to work with each other to better understand what each of you needs and wants. Training can really help close this gap in understanding.
Hopefully this discussion gave you a bone to chew on and some insight into many of the factors that may influence this life-changing decision. If you or a loved one have any questions about whether adopting a dog is right for you or how to get started with training, please contact us at Bed and Biscuit Austin.