Love at first bite
There are a lot of people that stroll into a shelter or pet store, immediately fall in love with a cute puppy, and proceed to bring him home that same day. It is important, however, to remember that accepting a dog into your family is an enormous and very serious commitment, a commitment that can span 15 or more years. It is imperative that you do your homework.
A common and often devastating (for the dog) occurrence is for people to get a dog on a whim. When people are not prepared for the responsibility that comes included when caring for a dog, some end up giving their pet away after realizing they are not ready and simply can’t handle all the responsibility. What ends up happening to these poor animals is that many wind up in animal shelters. According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), each year, more than 1 million dogs are euthanized. Many other dogs end up spending months or years living in cages, waiting for the right person to come along and adopt them.
We can avoid these kinds of situations by knowing what to expect before you get a dog. Anyone who has experienced the moment when a new puppy is brought into your family know that it can be a very joyous experience, especially when children are involved. However, a dog requires a lot of patience, consistency and love. These are three fundamental qualities you need to have and be willing to give before you even consider getting a dog.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming just because a dog is already several months old, that they will be completely house trained. The fact of the matter is, most people that give up their dogs do so out of frustration, lack of time or not having patience. As a result, many of these dogs will not have had any training. Puppies will also require several weeks of training, just to get the basics down. After establishing basic communication with them, then comes months of additional training.
If you are thinking about getting a dog, this article will guide you towards making the best decision for you right now. If you do decide to get a dog, then it is a matter of choosing the right dog. A dog must be suitable for your lifestyle, so that you can meet all your pet’s needs, while not sacrificing too much of your own needs in the process.
Important Considerations when getting a dog
Before bringing home that adorable puppy you seen in the pet store window, remember that all dogs need the following:
Dogs are not just fun to have around the house. They are also highly intelligent, social creatures that require a sufficient level of physical and mental stimulation every single day. Certain breeds of dogs, with moderate to high levels of energy, need considerable exercise. A good run or a long-lasting game of fetch will often suffice.
Training and caring for a dog requires a lot of time and dedication. You can’t expect the results you want, unless you put in the required effort. If you are a workaholic and won’t be home often, don’t get a dog unless you have someone to help. Also, if you are the kind of person that likes to be out every weekend partying or whatever people do now a day, and you don’t want the hassle of having to make trips back home throughout the day to take care of your responsibilities, then you may want to reconsider getting one.
Be prepared to spend at least 20 minutes a day training. And exercise at least five days a week for the first six to twelve months. The fundamentals aren’t too hard to introduce, in fact, a lot of the more intelligent breeds will train themselves on things like potty training. However, if you really dedicate yourself and your time to do a bit extra training, then you can benefit from really spectacular results. Everyone wants an incredibly well-behaved dog, so why not put in the extra effort?
So, you bring home a new dog, and he isn’t doing what you want him to do. That is OK, those are the expectations you should have from the get go. This isn’t a human child that you can educate by words alone. Your dog will make many mistakes. He will do things that make you angry. Maybe he will play bite and have accidents in the house for months. He may bark at night, keeping you awake and making your neighbours complain. He might chew on furniture and rip clothes. these are just some things that are almost inevitable. If you are getting a dog, these are all things that you must be willing to accept as normal. At least for the first few months. Remember though, it does get better!
Plenty of people are guilty of underestimating the costs that come with taking care of a dog. The initial expense, depending on the breed of dog you buy, and where you purchase him from, vary widely, from a small donation to an animal shelter to £2,000 from a breeder or pet store. The costs of continual care will vary greatly depending on the age and size of your dog, his grooming needs, and where you live.
Certain basic supplies must be bought. Things like a collar and leash, food, a crate, veterinarian check-up, and potential spaying or neutering. You’ll have the option of choosing a brand / type of food for your dog. Depending on the quality and kind (raw food diet vs kibble) can be extremely expensive over a period of time. Expenses can really skyrocket for people who decide to hire professionals. Groomers, dog walkers on a regular basis, dog sitters for when they travel, or trainers. Unexpected medical costs can also crop up randomly. Say, when your dog eats something he shouldn’t have ate and needs to have it surgically removed. It doesn’t matter whether the dog is a free gift from a friend, or an expensive gift from to yourself. The cost of taking care of your dog can range from £1,000 a year to £10,000.
This is part one of ”How to choose the right dog for you”. Part two can be found here: How to choose the right dog for you – Part 2