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Everyone thinks their dog’s breed is the greatest. However, what is best for one family may not be the best for yours.
The questions new and experienced dog owners ask “should I get a dog?” or “should I get another one?”. But the real question is, are you prepared to get one?
Are you prepared for a puppy or dog?
When you ask yourself “should I get a dog?” you must stop and look at your lifestyle. In addition to that, you should also start thinking about the responsibilities ahead of you.
Here are a few things or questions to consider before getting a dog:
How much time each day do you have to devote to the dog? Are you willing to commit to the dog for the dog’s life? What if you have to move? Puppies require far more work than adults do. And they require time commitment.
You must make time for classes, training, socializing, and activities. To get a puppy or dog and then leave him in a backyard with no training on your part is cruel.
Dogs are social animals and do best when part of the family. If you cannot devote time to raising a dog for the next ten to fifteen years or more, do not get one.
Remember that one series of obedience classes does not make a trained dog. Training and learning lasts the life of the dog.
Human medical issues
Are there any allergies or medical conditions in your family that could cause issues when you raise a dog? Remember, no breed of dog is truly hypoallergenic.
People with serious problems may not be able to tolerate ANY breed. If there are suspected health concerns, consult a doctor before considering a dog.
Ask yourself, “Can I afford a dog?” Getting the puppy or dog is not the big expense.
Here’s some of the things you have to spend on when you buy a dog:
- The crate and other necessary supplies
- Puppy inoculations every few weeks while the dog is young
- Training classes (any where from $30 to over $100 depending on where you go)
- Annual wellness checks and inoculations
- Food(the bigger the dog the bigger the food bill)
- Medical emergencies (can easily run hundreds of dollars if not more).
Some owners can spend a minimum of $100 to adopt a dog. And closer to $300 getting a big enough crate, enrolling in classes, vet checks, leash, collar, and extra toy. Getting the dog was the cheap part!
When asking yourself, “should I get a dog?” you should also be asking yourself, “can I properly house the dog?”
Being chained in the backyard with a hut and water is not proper housing. Dogs are social animals and should be part of the family pack.
If you cannot make a dog a family member, keep him safely inside when you are not home. And let him have plenty of exercise in a safely-fenced area.
It is cruel to a dog to leave him outside all the time. In addition, these dogs are more prone to become nuisance barkers and victims of “pranks” or even theft.
What is your lifestyle like? Are you an active family that spends time hiking and camping or going for long walks? Are you more sedentary? Because some breeds require a lot of daily exercise – both physically and mentally.
The half hour walk given to a Bulldog is far from adequate for a Border Collie. A Bulldog will not be able to handle the strenuous hours of daily workouts a Border Collie requires.
When asking yourself “should I get a dog?” research the breed thoroughly before getting one. What one person or even a vet says about a breed may be erroneous.
Look at books devoted to the breed. many breed-specific dog clubs have websites with plenty of information, etc. If you are looking at a cross, research the breeds you know are in the cross to give you an idea of what you are getting.
Moreover, bear in mind that small does not equal less energy. Some giant breeds have lower activity level than many smaller breeds. Size is not always relevant when it comes to how much energy and exercise a dog requires.
What about grooming? All dogs need grooming – even hairless breeds!
Some breeds are quite a bit for the average person to handle and may require professional work (Poodles and Bichon Frisés for example).
Others require only a few minutes of going over with a brush once a week as well as regular attention to teeth, ears and nails.
Additionally, all dogs shed to some extent. Even supposed “no shed” breeds will lose hair. Some breeds shed less than others.
If you are a neat freak and cannot stand dust bunnies, consider a lower shedding breed. Coat length does not mean a breed will shed more or less. A short-coated breed can shed just as much as a medium to long coated one.
Needs and wants
If you are thinking “should I get a dog?” Have you thought of what your needs and wants are in relation to getting one? Companionship, participating in sports, protection, maybe?
Again, you must research the breed in regards to what you want. If you want a dog that can be trained for duck hunting for example, a Collie may not be the right breed.
Experience as a dog owner
Many breeds are not appropriate for a first-time dog owner. Many people see Border Collies (from “Babe”) and Jack Russell Terriers (From “Frasier” and “Wishbone”) and Dalmatians (from “101 Dalmatians”) must have one.
First time owners thin just because dogs are agile and well-behaved in movies think that they’re a good fit for them. Did you know that thousands of Dalmatians, Border Collies and Jack Russells were given up by owners who HAD to get on because of the image Hollywood gave them?
Some breeds are self-willed and can be a challenge to work with. Not that these dogs are bad but owners needs to understand the breed. No breed is untrainable – regardless of what some surveys would have you think.
Knowing the breed (or breeds that went into a cross) is a big step to understanding the dog and working with it.
Long term effect
Should I get a dog? What will happen to the dog if I start a family? Thinking about your future and long-term plans before getting one is important.
Are you just going to dump the dog or do what it takes to ensure he is ready for the new arrival? What if you have to move? Thousands of pets are given up because of a new child or move. Have you thought about the long-term needs of the dog?
What happens when the dog ages? Are you prepared to cope with the onset of old age? Or when the dog is no longer “useful” will you get rid of it? Can you handle the increased health issues that goes along with a senior dog?
A dog will spend his life trying to please its owner. So the least we can do is make their golden years truly golden. If you can commit to them all their lives, then maybe you are ready to commit to a dog. And the answer to your question “should I get a dog?” is a resounding YES!