Are You Ready For A Dog?
Are you considering adding a new pup to your family, but unsure if you’re ready for the responsibilities that come along with that adorable face? We are here to help you navigate some of the major aspects of owning a dog so that you can determine if now is the right time for you!
SCHEDULE, TRAVEL, AND FREE TIME
Two of the major aspects of pup ownership are scheduling and prioritizing time with your pup. Different breeds have different personalities. Some breeds do not tolerate spending lengthy amounts of time at home alone while others may not mind a day-long snooze on the couch while you’re at work. Make sure that you do your research to determine which breed(s) fit well into your current schedule!
Once you’ve determined which breed could make a great addition to your family based on your daily schedule, consider a daily plan for your pup’s care. Will you need help from friends, family, or a dog walker for a mid-day walk? If you plan to travel or have to stay out of town for work, can your pup go with you? Will you have to make arrangements for them to spend the night at a doggy daycare or have a slumber party with a furry friend? While thinking about these aspects of owning a dog may not be considered fun, it is vital in making sure you have the time and resources available to meet your dog’s needs. When your daily routine is mapped out, plan to stick to that schedule consistently. Changing up daily habits and routines can be frustrating for your pup — especially while training!
OTHER DOGS OR PETS
If you have other dogs or pets, this section is for you! Some animals do well in accepting newbies around the house while others don’t come around as easily to a new puppy. It’s a good idea to expose your current animal(s) to other pups — especially in your home (their territory) — with close supervision, of course — to get an idea of how they might react to a new addition.
Not only should you consider your current animals’ reactions, but you should also ask around and research how your desired breed may act around other dogs/pets. It’s common for new puppies to push the boundaries with older animals. Therefore, some growling, snapping, hissing, slapping, etc. can be expected initially from your current animals. These are all common ways that animals set boundaries for themselves. However, creating a calm and controlled environment for your new dog to adapt to the routine and fit in with your other pets is a must! Monitoring interactions between animals and setting up individualized spaces for each of your pets to have alone or cooldown time is an excellent tactic to ensure that all of your furry friends get along well! Oh, and don’t forget to plan activities and play for all of your pets to engage positively with one another as well!
Finances are one of the most often overlooked aspects of owning a dog. Consider your desired breed’s normal veterinary and grooming needs. Are they high maintenance? Are there common health problems that could cost substantial money long term? Can you handle grooming and bathing at home or will you need to make recurring appointments?
It’s also important to research your desired breed’s nutritional needs and feeding requirements. How much will the food cost weekly or monthly? Is there a specific diet you will need to follow that could cost substantially more than normal? Dog-walking services, fencing/protection, outerwear, leash/collar/harness, toys, bedding/kennel, etc. are just a handful of other financial considerations that can affect your decision on owning a puppy. Read our full article on cost of owning a dog here.
LIVING ARRANGEMENTS, LIFESTYLE, AND HEALTH
Before bringing a new puppy home, consider your living arrangement. Are you renting or do you own your own home? Usually, landlords have specifics on which (if any) animals are allowed along with fees that must be paid if pets are allowed. How much free space inside do you have available for your pup? If you plan to keep your pet primarily outdoors, do you have a fenced-in yard or another method of protection for your pup? If you plan to keep your dog indoors, are you conveniently located near a park or walking trails to allow for much needed outdoor play and sunshine? Your answers to these questions can point you in the right direction as to whether or not the breed your considering is right for you!
Another factor in bringing home a new puppy is the health concerns of your family — especially those for those who suffer from allergies. Allergies can be a major obstacle if anyone in your family struggles or has not been consistently exposed to dogs to know if they are allergic or not. Consider allergy testing to ensure that no allergies to pet hair and dander (even hypoallergenic dogs can cause some allergic reactions) are present!
Lastly, Are you a clean freak? Does your desired breed shed? If so, how do you plan to handle the shedding? Are you prepared to deal with potty accidents? Those of you who prioritize cleanliness, cringe at the image of furniture covered in dog hair, and can’t stand the thought of cleaning up poop and pee should definitely take into consideration the breed your considering, their shedding patterns, and trainability.
ACTIVITIES, ENERGY EXPECTATIONS, & HOBBIES
Finally, in determining whether or not you’re ready for a dog, you should consider your current level of activity, energy expectations of your pup, and your hobbies. What is your current activity level? Does it match the needs of your desired breed? Some dogs require moderate to extensive exercise and activity to avoid negative behaviors like chewing, excessive barking, etc. Other pups are content with a short stroll around the block. Given that, what will you do to make sure your pup’s energy needs are met?
In addition, choosing a breed whose interests align with yours is a must! For instance, if you love being outdoors and around water, a Labrador Retriever could be a great match for you! If you prefer cuddling on the couch watching Netflix or slow Saturday morning with coffee, try a Frenchie! If you love hanging out with friends and have a thriving social life, make sure that you choose a breed that adapts well to strangers and social atmospheres.
Now that we’ve helped walk you through some of the complexities of owning a pup, making an informed decision is your next step! If you’re still not sure if now is the best time for you to take the puppy plunge, take our quiz. Answering a few short questions can help you make that decision with confidence!
If you’re curious to learn more about specific breeds and other specifics about pup ownership, check out our other blog posts! We’re dedicated to helping you find your perfect pup — at the perfect time for you!
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