People buy dogs for many reasons: companionship, pet sitting, hunting, service, and people all over the world are becoming dog owners for the first time in their lives. Animal shelters and adoption agencies are overflowing with abandoned dogs. Before you are tempted to take a dog into your home, there are many things to consider.
Few things can touch our hearts as much as the soft eyes of an abandoned dog or puppy, and the thought of all the unconditional love canine companions have to offer can often make us make spontaneous decisions without allowing us to think realistically. Many people who bring dogs home without proper consideration may find themselves unable to care for the dog and abandon it.
Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment and the unconditional love and companionship it provides come with a wide range of responsibilities. As a dog owner, you are responsible for meeting all of your dog’s needs, such as food, water, attention, and medical care when needed. Even the best-trained dogs can have an occasional accident at home, and you’ll need to be prepared to clean up after your dog when he’s sick or when you take him out for a walk.
Be prepared to come home after a long day at work to find your favorite shoes chewed on or the carpet in tatters. If your dog is an obsessive barker, you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time dealing with the problem or you’ll have a lot of unhappy neighbors on your back.
So, before you draw up the adoption papers, take a hard look at what owning a dog means. Here are some things to consider before you make your final decision:
Should I Get a Dog?
If you are an athletic and energetic person or you have such a person in your household, then yes, you can consider getting a dog. If your family consists of busy people who are constantly glued to the television or computer then a dog may not be such a good idea. Dogs need regular daily walks, for a minimum of thirty minutes. You will also have to pick up your dog on your walks. Children and teenagers eager to get a dog will bombard you with promises about how they’ll do everything it takes to look after the dog should be taken with a pinch of salt. What generally tends to happen after the novelty of owning a dog wanes away is that you will be left with the task of caring for the dog.
Dogs are not cheap to keep and only consider getting one if you are financially able to do so. You will have to be able to feed your dog a good quality diet and there are many other costs associated with owning a dog: flea and tick treatments, kennel costs if you go on vacation, toys and accessories and veterinary care should your dog get sick. Even if your dog never gets sick in his life you will still need to take him for veterinary checkups and vaccinations and these things are not cheap.
If you’re a very busy person with barely any free time you should not get a dog. Dogs are social animals that need time and companionship; they don’t do well if left alone for long periods. Dogs left to their own devices can and do develop behavioral issues such as destructive chewing and aggression.
Should I Get a Dog For the Children?
If you have a baby or a toddler in the house, you should postpone getting a dog. Young children and babies are enough of a handful without adding a dog into the mix. They may also be incapable of interacting with a dog properly which could result in problems. Not all dogs are good with children and not all children know how to behave around dogs.
If your child knows the meaning of responsibility and is around 12 years old, this may be a good environment to bring a dog into. Dogs are great for children in the right circumstances and they can teach children a lot of things as well as provide them with companionship. Adolescents in particular can benefit from owning and caring for a dog as they are at an age when showing affection for their parents may be considered “uncool” in their age group so a dog can provide an emotional outlet for the child. Teenagers are usually going through a turbulent time in their development so they may not be consistent about caring for a dog. If you want to get a dog for your children make sure you are prepared to take on the responsibility of caring for it if or when your children lose interest. Children can be fickle so make sure you’re prepared for this.
Once you’ve decided you can offer a dog a good home for the rest of its life it’s time to visit local adoption centers to choose your new dog. Try to do as much research as you can about the place and the dogs available. Talk to staff and other dog owners and research any dog breeds you’re interested in to discover any personality traits or diseases they are predisposed to. When it comes to doing your homework before bringing a dog into your home there is no stupid question. Don’t be embarrassed to ask anything you like about dog ownership.
Even if you decide you like a particular breed’s traits, you should keep in mind that dogs are individuals and just because a dog belongs to a particular breed known for a particular trait, doesn’t necessarily mean the dog will carry this trait. The internet is full of invaluable information about the many aspects of dog ownership so take advantage of it and read as much as you can.