As a dog trainer, one of the main questions I get asked is, “How do I know I am ready to get a dog?” I usually respond by listing the responsibilities of having a dog and everything else that comes with it. However, as I was responding to multiple clients all wondering the same thing, I wrote it all down for you, so it’s always there to return to.
There are several things to take into account before getting a dog. One of the main reasons we have so many dogs in shelters that are sometimes euthanized is that society doesn’t take enough time to educate themselves before getting a dog. Getting a dog can be fun and exciting until the fact that it’s often a 10-15 year commitment hits, and it causes more problems that most don’t have solutions for. Here are some things to consider before buying or adopting a dog:
How much room do you have?
Several behavioral issues stem from dogs simply not having enough space to function. This does NOT mean they should have the freedom to roam your house… I talk about this a lot! That is a whole other blog. What I mean by enough space is how big of a yard do you have for the dog to run around to go potty? Or how big is your living room to sit down and play with them for a while? Can you fit a stay bed in a corner for your dog to sit out of the way? These are all critical questions to ask yourself.
Dogs are not cheap.
Believe it or not, many people get dogs they simply can’t afford. Knowing how much a dog will cost is challenging, as every dog is different. But this is no excuse to get a dog without having an estimated or educated guess. A few things to consider for cost are vet bills, good quality dog food (what you feed your dog matters), toys, training tools, kennels, stay beds, maintenance, and things to spoil them with! Please take the time to make sure you can afford a dog before you get one.
How much time do you have to spend with them?
Dogs are not cats. We cannot leave them home for hours and expect them not to go stir-crazy. If you work 10-hour days, 6 days a week, a dog might not be your best option! Leaving a dog home alone for that long can potentially be the root of many behavioral issues, especially if the dog is young. Never leave a puppy unattended for any period of time without being in a kennel. A kennel is there for a reason; make sure you use it! If you work a regular 9-5 job, ensure you have the time to exercise your dog. Pay attention to what your dog was bred to do and base the exercise time and games you play off of the job they were bred to have.
Are you willing to learn how to train your dog or pay for it to be trained?
I love what I do, the dogs I can see, and the people I get to help! An untrained dog with an owner unwilling to learn how to train their dog or pay someone else to do it often leads to disaster. Behavioral issues such as excessive barking, chewing, pulling on the leash, disobedience, jumping on people, and so much more can occur when a dog has no training. Training a dog is not something to neglect for their safety and yours. So if training is not something that interests you, that is okay! But maybe consider getting an older dog with those manners or, even better… perhaps a cat!
I mentioned earlier that what you feed your dog matters. If you are curious about my suggestions, please check out my website at karleestark.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I would love to help you out!
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