If you are thinking about bringing a new dog into your life, you have to honestly assess your preparedness for the commitment. Are you ready to take care of a puppy or adult dog? You owe it to a dog to figure this out before you commit. It's the first step of being a responsible pet owner.
- Be realistic about any challenges you can expect from your dog. How old is the doggie? If she's a puppy, then you have to expect chewing, accidents in the house, restless nights and frequent feedings. You'll have to puppy-proof your house and should have a significant amount of time to spend lavishing attention and love on your puppy! But an adult dog doesn't deserve a less loving home than a puppy. Adult dogs require time and affection for their happiness as well. If you're in need of help deciding between an adult dog or a puppy, read our article that explores this choice.
Learn as much as possible about the breed of your potential canine family member. How large does the breed get? How serious is the shedding? How easily do these dogs tolerate rowdy children, if this is a relevant concern? Depending on the age and breed of an adult dog, the care and behavioral expectations vary greatly, and you can learn more about what to expect from various breeds by visiting online resources like the Dog Breed Information Center and the American Kennel Club.
How big is your living space, and where do you live? If you live in the city, you'll have to accept the task (consider it a privilege!) of picking up the doggie doo-doo every time your dog defecates. There are often fines for people who don't do this. If you live in a suburban or rural environment, remember that your dog will develop a favorite area to go potty, and you should be able to maintain this space, keeping it relatively free of droppings for your pet.
Are you prepared for the financial investment? Owning a dog requires that you have enough money to buy quality food and dog accessories like leashes, beds, bowls and toys. And even more expensive are veterinary bills. If you don't have enough money to keep your dog strong and healthy, then this might not be the best time to bring a new dog into your life.
If your living space is small, you should reconsider adding a big dog to your family - big dogs want bigger spaces, and will feel overly confined when kept in a small apartment. Many small dogs don't mind the smaller living space, or even prefer it depending upon the breed. Once again, research the dog breeds to determine whether your living space is suitable.
No matter what breed of dog you choose and whether he's an adult, puppy or adolescent, you must be able to give him lots of time and affection. A dog won't be happy if she's alone all day. You need to be there for your dog when she has to use the bathroom, and must devote time in a day to give her some exercise and playtime. A dog can't make sense of neglect. To be neglectful is to abuse a dog's unconditional love.
If you're ready to welcome a dog into your life, then nobody should ever discourage it; having a dog in your family is endlessly rewarding. But perhaps the worst thing you can do for yourself and a dog is to bring the dog into your family when you're unprepared for the responsibilities of dog ownership. Once you bring in a new dog, backing out of your commitment brings hardship upon the innocent dog. So make sure you're ready to have a new dog before you commit. If you feel ready for a dog after researching dog breeds, reflecting on a dog owner's responsibilities, and reviewing your financial and living situations, then you and your new dog will form a deep, lasting bond.