You’ve thought about nothing else for weeks, possibly months – or even years! But you’re pretty confident that you and your family are ready to bring home a dog.
It’s easy to get excited and dash into the first animal shelter you come across and try not to adopt them all – or act rashly when you see a sign that reads cockapoo for sale! But first you need to make sure that are truly ready to take on another responsibility. Here I’ve gathered a few ideas that will help you establish if you’re absolutely ready to welcome a four legged friend into your life.
You have the time to train and socialise a new pooch
Bringing home a puppy (or even an adult dog) means a huge commitment of time and patience. You have to teach him the rules of your home — including toilet training, safe interaction with children or other pets, and which items are dog toys and which are your brand-new pair of expensive shoes… On top of that, you should have time for training sessions and, of course, adequate exercise.
You’ve considered which kind of dog fits your lifestyle
If you’re a retired senior looking for a laid-back companion who doesn’t need much exercise, a Border Collie may not be your best bet. If your house is full of rambunctious children then a little Chihuahua is likely to get caught in the cross fire…And if you’re an athlete searching for a running companion, you probably don’t want to bring home a Pug…
Before you get a dog, think about your exercise routine, your age and generally how a dog will fit into your lifestyle. If you’re looking for a very specific personality, consider adopting an adult dog from a shelter or rescue group. Puppies can be a gamble, but one of the great things about adopting an older canine is that, for the most part, you know what you’re getting.
You’re financially ready to care for a dog
They may not need a student loan, but dogs do put some pressure on your bank account. Make sure you’re prepared to pay for things like initial vaccinations, spaying or neutering, preventive care, toys, food and cleaning supplies, dog bed and leads…not to mention routine and possibly emergency veterinary care for their entire lives!
You can commit to having a pet for the next decade or longer
Speaking of entire lives, those who are commitment-phobic should be aware that owning a canine definitely means a long-term obligation. A dog may be by your side for the next 10, 12 or 15 years — perhaps long after you break up with that boyfriend, or your children have gone off to university… We got our dog Barney at 6 months old, he is now currently 14 years old and still going strong – just a little greyer but so are we!
Everyone else in your home is on board
If you’re thinking about getting a dog, talk with everyone you live with to figure out how the care and training responsibilities will be shared. Kids can be great helpers with things like refilling the water bowl and exercising the dog, but the majority of the work falls to you, the adult!