So, you’re thinking of getting a dog? Good for you, but you need to pump the brakes super chief.
Dog ownership is not only about taking care of your friend and going on daily neighborhood walks, but also a long-term emotional and financial commitment. With that being said, you, the aspiring dog owner need to ask some hard questions of yourself and conduct some thorough research of the different dog breeds that would best suit your lifestyle before getting into such a long-term commitment.
Here are some key points you should consider before making your final decision.
1. Recognize the Commitment
Dog ownership is not something to be entered into lightly. Owning a dog is a long-term emotional and financial commitment. Before deciding that a certain dog is right for you, you must make an assessment as to whether the timing is right for a new four-legged friend. Ask yourself honestly, “Am I committed to a 15-year relationship?”
You also want to be a responsible dog owner right….right?
That means you need to understand the specific responsibilities you will need to take on once you bring your pup home. Getting a dog is a big commitment!
2. Evaluate Your Lifestyle
If you get a dog, he (or she) will become a part of your life…immediately. You need to make sure your pup is suited for your lifestyle. Are you athletic? Then you probably will not be happy with a dog that has a low energy level. Are you a neat freak? Then you will probably want a dog that doesn’t shed much. Does your family live an active lifestyle and spend a limited amount of time at home? Then you would be wise to consider a dog breed that has low energy and doesn’t require lot of attention and care. All aspects of your family’s life – hobbies, activities, personalities, schedules – should be evaluated before you get a dog.
3. Always Start With a List
Based on your evaluation, determine what qualities you want in a dog. Consider size, energy level, grooming needs, trainability and temperament. Do you want a guard dog or a lap dog? Is it important that your dog get along with children? If you rent your home, are there restrictions on height, weight or breed? Answer these questions now – once you bring a dog home, it can be heartbreaking to realize that you made the wrong choice.
4. Choose a Breed
Once you have made your list of ideal characteristics, do some research to find which breeds fit that profile. Go to your local library, attend a dog show, and visit the AKC website. Narrow your choices to the breed that seems right for you. Try this quick questionnaire, it might help with the matching process.
A good breeder can also help you with narrowing down the choice, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them
5. Getting a Referral
You have a much better chance of being satisfied if you get your dog from a responsible shelter/rescue, or an ethical breeder whose primary concern is to produce dogs of high quality, good health and stable temperament. Ask your friends. Join community sites and ask for referrals, or look for review sites like Bark ‘n Yapp.
If you decide to go with a purebred dog from a reputable breeder, then you should make contact with some in your area. Let them know that you are interested in their breed. Be able to demonstrate that you have put thought into your choice. Don’t be discouraged if the first breeder you talk to does not have puppies available right away.
Never buy a pup from a store or off uncontrolled websites, like Kijiji or Craigslist. These locations are notorious for supplying puppy mill dogs. If the price sounds too good, just stay away. These people need to be run out of business ASAP.
6. Ask Questions & Expect Questions
Ask the rescue organization or breeder any questions you can think of about the breed. A rescue organization may have limited information about the breeds they have, but most dogs in their care will be with a foster family, so they will know something about what you might expect.
If you find a breeder you’re comfortable with, ask to visit the kennel and view the dogs on the breeder’s premises. Inquire about health problems of the breed, and what can be done to prevent or control them. Find out what kinds of activities, including competition, the breeder’s dogs participate in and enjoy. The breeder’s dogs are a preview of what your dog will be.
Don’t’ be offended when you are asked questions. It’s the rescue organization and breeder’s responsibility to make sure any dog in their care is going to the best family situation possible. Any responsible breeder or rescue contact will ask you extensive questions about the type of home you can offer a dog. These people are as committed as you are to making the right match between you and a dog. Give honest answers to their questions. Remember that, due to their experience in the breed, they know what issues are important in placing one of their dogs.
7. Consider an Older Dog
Puppies aren’t for everyone. If an older dog better fits your lifestyle, check AdoptaPet and the AKC website for breed rescue groups. These organizations rescue purebred dogs that have been lost, abandoned or surrendered due to the death or illness of their owners. Most rescue dogs have been spayed or neutered and are screened for health and temperament problems. Rescue is a not only a great source for purebred dogs, it’s also a way to save the life of a dog in need.
8. Prepare to Wait
Availability varies. Be aware that a puppy or dog of the breed you’ve decided on may not be easy to find. Responsible breeders do not breed often, and many times the puppies of a planned breeding are already spoken for. Just remember that a good dog is worth waiting for.
9. Skip the Holidays
Many people try to buy puppies as Christmas gifts for children or other family members. Most rescue organizations and breeders do not recommend this. You should be prepared to give a new puppy your undivided attention, and that is rarely possible during the busy holiday season. A better idea is to give dog-related gifts, such as toys, leashes, grooming tools, and then bring your puppy home when all the excitement has died down.
10. Home Prep
Preparation and patience are key to building a happy relationship.
The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being patient. It can take anywhere from two days to two months for you and your pet to adjust to each other.
With these tips, you are now armed and ready to create a perfect match.
Once you have determined your perfect match and are ready to bring a new pup home, you will need to do some shopping to prepare. Check out our Ultimate Guide for what to buy before your new pup comes home.
We hope that these tips were helpful. We would love to hear any feedback