Before You Get A Dog: A Beginner’s Guide

Soulmates by Lali Masriera
Soulmates by Lali Masriera

What if dogs could talk? Well, humans would have probably lost their best friends, as some people say while smirking maliciously. Luckily for us, dogs haven't mastered the skill of speaking human language yet, and they still make great companions. But this does not only apply to reclusive people. Many families with children often make a choice to extend their "pack" after moving into a big house by adopting a four-legged buddy to live with them. Maybe you have similar thoughts; but have you truly considered all the pros and cons?

First of all, it's important to mention that this article only provides some very basic information. The last thing you should do is be hasty about this decision. It may sound like a cliché, but owning a dog goes hand in hand with a huge responsibility not only toward the pet itself, but also toward your surroundings. Are you ready for such a commitment? Okay, let's go!

Puppies, Cute Puppies

Sleeping Puppy by halfrain
Sleeping Puppy by halfrain

Novels could be written about how to choose the right breed for you, but probably the most important thing is: it's not just about how they look! Every dog breed has different qualities, traits, and temperament characteristics, but also different needs. How much time would you be able to spend with your dog? Would you like a dog to guard your house or to play with your kids — or maybe you would like both? These are some of the basic questions you should ask yourself before getting a four-legged friend.

Nevertheless, sometimes it's easy to forget about all of that once you take a look at all those super-cute puppies. Cute. Puppies! They all look the same: sweet, innocent, irresistible… well, beware. In a way, raising a dog is very similar to raising a child. The socialization and training of your puppy during its first few weeks at your home has a great influence on its quality of life as an adult dog. The first three months are especially crucial. And proper training takes a lot of your time and energy.

Puppies grow fast. One day you have a cuddly ball of fur, and in a few short days it turns into a raging, incontrollable adolescent. You should be aware of their developmental priorities along with the basics of raising a puppy and teaching manners and obedience. Dogs are usually abandoned or surrendered to shelters because they misbehave. But if they do, it's simply because nobody taught them to behave appropriately. Be patient while teaching them the basics. You'll be rewarded by a sociable and well mannered companion who will be happy to live his entire life by your side.

Dog is in the House

Begging by Zach Beauvais
Begging by Zach Beauvais

Most Canadian dogs are house dogs. Though many dogs participate with their masters in various leisure and sport activities, they still need some room to stretch their legs while spending time at home. So the question is: do you actually have room for a dog? A small dog can often get all the necessary exercise he needs even in a small apartment, but other, large breeds require more space.

Therefore you should be realistic about how much activity from what sized dog your home and yard (if there's any) can take and how much time will you be able to reserve for taking the dog out for additional exercise if the conditions at home are insufficient.
Additionally, you should prepare for the inevitable. A dog in the house also means a constant supply of shed hair (it depends on the breed and the season, though), occasional mess, and sometimes even dog poo — even a well trained dog can have its weak moment while dealing with sickness. As for dog hair, are you absolutely sure that nobody in your household is allergic? Forgetting about this could cause serious problems later.

The last thing we're going to mention here is the question of money. You should take the following expenses into consideration: initial adoption costs (these may range from free-to-a-good-home to several thousand dollars), veterinary care (vaccinations, emergency issues, et cetera), dog food (the larger the dog, the more you'll have to spend), chew toys, outerwear (necessary for some breeds), and other miscellaneous supplies (bowls, beds, brushes, shampoos, flea products, odour neutralizers for accidents, baby gates, leashes, collars, heart worm prevention, and so forth).

Finally, it's better to visit a reputable breeder than a pet shop when getting a puppy — those people are not just usually much more dedicated dog-lovers, but they are also usually pretty serious about what they do and also (paradoxically) mostly cheaper.

Please Be Responsible

Sammy and Momma by Andrew Morrell
Sammy and Momma
by Andrew Morrell

The most important of all these considerations is to truly take your decision to get a puppy seriously. Several million dogs are abandoned, given to shelters, and even euthanized every year — so often only because easily treatable and rather predictable puppy issues were allowed to develop into much more difficult to handle adult behaviour, training, and temperament problems. Don't let your best friend suffer, for if you give him all the love he needs, he will always be there for you. Always.

3 comments on “Before You Get A Dog: A Beginner’s Guide

  1. My cousin has been thinking about getting a poodle because she needs some company while she works from home. Having to walk her could help her get out of the home, and exercise, and help her to be more healthy. I’ll be sure to tell her how she should think about how much room she has for a dog, and how much time she has to walk to make sure that she gets the irght amount of excerise.

  2. It was helpful when you said to consider the breed to get. My husband and I want to look into getting a puppy for our family. We’ll make sure to keep these tips in mind as we search for one to get.

  3. I have read many articles regarding dogs But this article catches my heart. Love to read the informative tips. I will definitely use these tips while going on vacation.

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