The Most Important Things To Consider Before Getting A Dog

cute dogThere are many things to consider before adding a dog to your family.  A dog is a lifetime commitment.  It may be a 10 to 15-year commitment for you, but it is his entire life.  There are a lot more things to consider beyond how cute he or she may be as a puppy.

That cute little puppy that looks like an adorable teddy bear may depend upon its breed or breeds mix will outgrow his baby-like cuteness.  Before we talk about which breed you should select it is important to consider your lifestyle and living conditions.

Think about you

Think about your age, are you a younger person looking for your first dog?  On the other hand, are you an older person looking for a companion?  Are you married?  Do you have children, if so, what are the ages of your children?  Who will be the primary caregiver, what about your lifestyle?  Are you active or a couch potato?

Some thoughts about dogs

Dogs are pack animals.  Pack animals like to live in groups.  They are very social creatures that live best in packs.  The pack is just another term for theirfamily.  In the family, there is a hierarchy known as the pecking order.  This is not much different from the established order in your family.  If you are single, then you are the head of the household.  If you are married, will those responsibilities be shared?

How will adding a dog into your family affect your life?

Once you decided where a dog fits into your situation.  You will have already started to determine what breed or mix is best for you. 

Do you want a dog with long hair or short hair?  Dogs with long hair may be very appealing, however, they may require more frequent brushing and grooming.  Have you considered the cost of his or her grooming expenses?

Adding a dog to your family may cost from USD600 per year to over USD1000.  Are you prepared to absorb those expenses improperly maintaining your pet?  The cost of bringing a dog into your family is not cheap, nor are they a fad or a disposable commodity.


Choosing the perfect dog 

If you have read this far, I will assume that you are seriously considering adding a four-legged fur friend into a forever home that is good for both of you.  So let us get started to narrow down the perfect puppy for you.

Determine which breed is best for you.  Begin by researching the breeds of interest.  Learn the original purpose of the breed.  Does this fit into your lifestyle?  Let us say you choose a dog from the herding family.  Dogs in this category are workers and doers, therefore they will be looking for a job to do, whether you give them one or they choose their own.

If you choose a dog from this category, he will not be a dog, who will be satisfied, quietly sitting on a couch while you are at work.  Dogs from categories similar to this are dogs that require a lot of activity both physical and mental.  If you are not very active the dogs from these categories, herding or working groups may not be a very good fit.

Right now there is a popular trend for designer dogs.  A desire dog is simply a mixed breed and some people are charging quite a bit for these mixes.  Don’t get caught up in a fad.  It is important that you consider the background of the breeds in question.  In order to predetermine the possible health problems, social, and training challenges that may be inherent in your breeder choice.

Are you considering a puppy or will an older dog work just as well?

Adult dogPeople like puppies.  Puppies are cute but with puppies often comes extra work.  Most puppies are sold between 6 and 8 weeks of age.  At 6 weeks of age, a puppy should still be with his mother.  At this age, a young puppy is still learning and developing skills taught by his mother.

At 8 weeks of age, this is the best time to develop a human – dog relationship.  With puppies more than 11 weeks of age, you may have to spend extra time developing a strong human bond.  This is not to say that a dog more than 11 weeks of age is not a good choice.  I mention this only to call attention to how age may affect your relationship.  Also, puppies are going through many different developmental stages.

What about getting an adult dog? 

When you choose an adult, your avoid all the annoying puppy stuff.  You also may benefit from any training this dog may have had.

Are you committed to training your dog? 

Every dog needs to have basic obedience training.  At the very least your dog needs to know how to properly walk on a leash.  He also needs to know how to sit,  dog traininglay down, stand in place, come when called and to be a good citizen your dog needs to be well socialized.  

Are you up to the task and committed to being the best possible guide for your dog?  Having a dog requires a lot of responsibility.

At this point, we’ve done our research and we have decided on which breed or breeds will fit in best with our situation.  Where do we find our perfect match? If you are interested in a specific breed, then I suggest you spend time going to various dog shows, and talking to owners of that specific breed.  Have a list of questions ready, because how they are answered will have an impact on the next 10 to 15 years of your life.

Some important questions to ask

  1. How long have they been involved with the breed?
  2. What are the inherent genetic issues with this breed?  Every breed has them, so make sure that you ask so you know the seriousness of these potential issues.
  3. What is the lifespan of this particular breed?
  4. Ask about trainability. You want to get an idea of the intelligence of these dogs.  Just because the dog looks pretty in the show ring may not mean he is the most intelligent dog on the block.  Once again looking at breeds origin will give you a clue.
  5. How much exercise does this breed require?
  6. Ask if they are a breeder.  If yes, then ask about their breeding program.  If no, then ask if they can recommend a breeder for that breed.

Avoid going to the pet stores in the malls.  They are the worst place from which to get a puppy.  Puppies available from retail shops that specialize in selling live animals source them from commercial breeders.  These dogs are of low quality, suffer from many genetic defects and charges much as 10 – 12 times the original cost of that puppy.

Spare yourself the emotional tug at your heartstrings when you see these cute little puppies in those tiny cramped cages.  It will be tough so stay away from pet stores that use, precious little puppies to draw you in and make you buy.

If you are still stuck on a specific breed then contact the breed rescue.  There are many dogs needing homes to be found through rescue.  Most rescues, do a great job with qualifying dogs that are suitable for a new home.  Rescue volunteers will complete an in-depth evaluation in order to make sure each dog is placed in a proper home.

If breed doesn’t matter, then contact a no kill shelter.  These places are similar to a breed rescue in that they also complete an in-depth evaluation to match each dog with the optimal situation.

Summary

dog loveHaving a dog in your life can be a wonderful opportunity, that is well worth every penny and every second of time you spend.  Dogs are great teachers.  They are the professors of life.  Dogs teach us about love, compassion, caring, respect, forgiveness and understanding.  Dogs teach us to choose wisely, to love unconditionally and how to be the best human being in his life.   The lessons a dog brings to your life are priceless.

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Guest • on Feb 03, 2017 5:24

This write is the most thoroughly written document on why, how, dog care, informative things to think about before you adopt or purchase a dog that I have ever read. All people that are considering having or giving to someone or a family a dog should know.

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