Bringing a dog into your family is big deal and shouldn’t be done without careful consideration. Many friends ask me “when is the right time to bring a dog into the house” and I usually ask them the same set of questions. So today I compiled a short list of important things to consider when getting a dog.
Are you currently renting? If so, you might want to check to see if you’re even allowed to have dogs and if there are any restrictions. Most apartment complexes that allow pets have rules and restrictions for weight, breed and sometimes age, others may only require a meet and greet with said dog. Regardless, before you fall in love with the idea of bringing a furry friend home, make sure that you won’t be going against your lease agreement.
We all know a person with a dog breed that just doesn’t fit with their lifestyle. Your schedule will dictate a lot of things, especially your ability to offer a suitable home for a dog. With COVID many people that before couldn’t own a dog because of their work schedule are now considering a companion for their home office. Nonetheless, being home and being able to offer the right mental and physical stimulation are not the same and can create a very difficult living situation. Therefore, selecting a breed that is conducive to your lifestyle is of the utmost importance. Here are some examples of dogs the average person should not consider: Belgian Malinois (and most K9 working lines), Australian Cattle dogs, Chow Chows, Akitas, Terriers and Hounds (sight and scent). I won’t go into tons of detail on why these are not recommended breeds for the general population (especially inexperienced/ first time dog owners), but the gist is: these are either elite working breeds, difficult to train or extremely prey driven dogs that most people would have a hard time managing without the appropriate environment, training tools and disposition. I will be writing a separate blog post about how to figure out what dog breed is best for you.
Puppy vs Adult Dogs
As someone who has fostered 14+ puppies I can say (with full confidence) that puppies SUCK. Yes. SUCK. Despite being cute and playful they are so much work. If you’re considering adding a puppy to your house expect: late nights, early potty breaks, occasional diarrhea, items being chewed on, crying, messes and more. Don’t get me wrong, I have had easier puppies that didn’t destroy or chew things, or maybe settled in faster so the potty schedule was a bit easier, but in general expect the worst and hope for the best when it comes to puppies. All of this is not to say that adult dogs are easy and require no work, but I have found them to sleep better and bounce back faster. Adult dogs do come with their set of problems, but it’s nothing that consistency and training can’t fix. Most of them come house broken, and training is dependent on previous living arrangements. Most people’s argument for wanting a puppy is because they want the dog to bond better, start early training or know they come from a “good” background. In all honesty adult dogs and puppies, when introduced to a family have about the same chances of bonding and training, it all comes down to time.
This one should be a given. Pets are expensive, period. According to the ASPCA it can cost over $1000 a year to own a dog. Between shots, yearly vet visits, blood work, grooming, training and food, dogs can cost a small fortune – especially the accident-prone ones. A lot of people are starting to purchase pet insurance for their companions to mitigate the cost, but that still won’t cover everything. So keep cost in mind when considering getting a pet.
I won’t go into much detail but I 100% recommend getting a professional dog trainer when bringing a dog home. This can save you so much time and headache, start training early on in your relationship and see how much more comfortable life is with a well-balanced – stable minded pup. Also – just because you take your dog to puppy classes once doesn’t mean you have a trained dog. Training happens every day for the rest of your lives, every moment is a lesson and the more things you allow your dog to do the less boundaries they have.
Dogs, relationships, and break ups
If you plan on co-owning a pet with someone, I highly recommend setting expectations of responsibilities early on. Who will walk, feed, take to the vet, pay for its needs, are all things you’ll need to know before bringing your four legged friend home. Sometimes it’s best to have a formal written agreement to help keep parties accountable and, in the event that you part ways there will be a contractual agreement written up giving ownership of the dog to either party.Dogs are some of the most amazing creatures on this planet and to those of us who are blessed to experience their love we are lucky beyond all measure. Owning a dog is no easy task but it is extremely fulfilling. I know this post seems a little harsh but millions of dogs are put down every year because people aren’t able to swallow their pride and recognize that they aren’t fit for pet ownership. I hope that this post helps bring some points into perspective on dog ownership.