Having a dog is in many ways like having a child. There is a lot of work involved. It is extremely time consuming, requires patience, and costs money. In return, you are rewarded with unconditional love and companionship. If you have never been a dog owner, and are considering getting a dog, there are some things you should know.
Choosing the right dog for you is very important. The characteristics of each dog will vary by their breed. Before researching breeds, think about your own characteristics. For example, active people will want a dog that is also active. Choosing a dog with a personality that is directly opposite of yours will not produce happy co-habitation.
One of the best sources of information are current dog owners. Especially owners of dog breeds that you are considering. Dog owners can provide uncensored information about what day to day life with a dog is like.
In addition to your personality, there are other factors to consider such as your living space and lifestyle. While you might be jazzed on the idea of getting a Greyhound, if you live in an efficiency apartment, having one is not going to be a good idea. Conversely, a tiny toy breed running around on a huge farm would not be ideal either.
Closely examine your daily schedule. If your dog will live exclusively indoors, it will need to be walked several times a day. If you are a workaholic, and are gone from morning until night, you are bound to clean up some unpleasant messes each day. Dogs do get lonely, and even depressed when left alone for prolonged periods of time, so if you are away from home a lot and still want a dog, chose an independent breed. One other note, not all breeds do well with children. If you have kids, or plan to have them, get a breed that is kid friendly.
While having a dog likely won’t send you to the poorhouse, it is going to cost some money. Dog food, especially premium brands, can be expensive. Trips to the vet are necessary, and can be costly. Though accessories are not required, it’s hard to turn down those cute chew toys and doggie sweaters.
Once your homework is done, it is now time to decide where to get your new companion. If you are opting for a pure bred dog, a breeder might be the way to go. It is easy to find breeders in your local newspaper. Breeders are often knowledgeable, and can provide you with valuable information about your chosen breed. The only possible drawback is that a dog purchased from a breeder can be expensive.
Some of the best dogs in the world come from an animal shelter. No, you likely will not find many pure bred dogs at the shelter, but you will have the opportunity to screen the homeless dogs to find one that fits you. Though most people want to adopt a puppy, consider an adult dog. Adult dogs already have a defined personality, one not likely to change, and once you connect with him or her you can rest assured that there will be no surprises. Adopting an adult dog means that it is likely that you have just saved this dog’s life.
Though it could be tempting, avoid purchasing your dog at a pet store. Most of the dogs at pet stores were obtained via puppy mills. Puppy mills often go hand in hand with animal cruelty. Giving your money to a pet store will aid in supporting these mills.
Once you have your dog home, prepare for an adjustment phase. This phase can be trying at times, but soon you will be rewarded with a loving, sweet companion to share your life with. There are few things better than that.