Getting a dog is a huge decision. While it may not be a human baby, it’s certainly adding another member to the family, as well as even more responsibility. To ensure you’re all ready for this huge change and upheaval, make sure you look at the following 10 considerations as thoroughly and honestly as you can.
1. Could You Adopt?
The first thing you should really consider is whether you’re willing to adopt rather than shop. So many dogs are in need of a good home, some of them a few years old, some of them senior dogs. It can be hugely satisfying to give a dog a home and another chance. You can build a very special bond with an adopted dog, and caring for them can be massively rewarding.
Here are a few things to remember if you want to adopt:
- You will still need to make sure the dog you adopt suits your lifestyle. For example, some may not be able to live around kids or other pets.
- You’ll need to visit the dog a handful of times to ensure they are willing to bond with you and that you want to take them home.
- You may have to pay an adoption fee – shady characters try to get dogs for free or as cheap as possible to use them in horrendous ways.
Remember, you need to think about adopting a dog just as carefully as you would about buying one. The last thing you want is to take the dog back to the shelter because you made the wrong decision – it just isn’t fair on them.
2. How Active Are You As A Family?
You shouldn’t buy a dog just because you think it’s cute. Many people buy a dog for this reason, but it must suit your lifestyle as a family. If you’re an inactive family, you need to be sure the dog you buy won’t need a lot of exercise. Certain dogs need a lot of exercise and stimulation, or they can end up ruining your home and belongings, as well as seriously misbehaving. You might think that buying a Teddy Bear puppy is a safe bet, but they actually need a lot of exercise. Always do your research on individual breeds so you can be sure your dog will be happy with you.
3. How much Space Do You Have At Home?
You need to make sure you have space for your dog at home. How big will they get over the years? How much space do they need to thrive? Do you have a garden for them? If you live in an apartment, getting a dog can be risky. Young dogs that are forced to walk up and down stairs a lot can end up with hip and other health problems.
4. How Much Cash Do You Have To Spare?
Your dog is an ongoing expense. You have the initial buying fee to pay, but you then need to consider medication costs, vet checkups, toys, accessories, food, and so on. Make sure this is a financial commitment you’re happy to have for the next 8-15 years (sometimes even longer).
5. Will The Family Be Able To Share Responsibility?
Ideally, your whole family will share the responsibility of caring for the dog. Getting a family dog is all well and good, but what’s the point if you’re the only one caring for them? Even young kids can be given some responsibility. See if they can fill up the dog’s water bowl, or agree to taking them out around the block when they are old enough.
6. How Much Free Time Do You Have?
You need to make sure you have enough free time to care for your dog. You need to walk them, groom them, play with them, and provide stimulation for them in general. You can’t take your dog out for a walk and expect them to entertain themselves the rest of the time. Making sure your dog has enough stimulation is so important for their happiness and development. Plus, some dogs may have needier personalities than others!
7. Is Your Chosen Breed Child Friendly?
Some breeds are good with kids, others not so much. Chihuahuas, for example, are famous for competing with kids. Make sure you know all about this so you ensure your chosen dog is going to suit you for life and not just this short period in your life.
8. Where Will Your Dog Go If You Go On Vacation?
There are vacations you can go on with your dog, but you won’t always be able to take them with you. Can you afford to put them in kennels, and is there a trustworthy one near you? Could a trusted family member or friend care for them?
9. What If You Take A Pay Cut or Need To Move?
Nobody likes to consider what would happen if they had to take a pay cut, or needed to move for work. These things do happen, though. Could you take your dog with you? Could you afford to keep your dog? Would you be able to make certain sacrifices? Considering each and every eventuality is key.
10. Are You Ready To Properly Train Your Dog?
Dogs need to be trained properly, not just for you, but so they can be happy. They want to please their owners, but they won’t know how to do that if you don’t show them. Make sure you’re prepared to put the work in, or even pay to take them to puppy training school. Starting while they are young is key, and will ensure they listen to you. It can ensure they walk beside you rather than pulling on the lead, and that they sit and stay when you need them to. Being able to get your dog to do these simple things could make a big difference to their quality of life, as well as your own.
Once you’ve considered the above carefully, you should have a good idea of whether you’re ready to make this big commitment!