For many, adding a dog into their lives is exciting. However, it is important to know that getting a four-legged companion is more than just choosing the right breed for your family and finding a breeder who practices responsible puppy breeding. It demands commitment, energy, and money, making it a decision you will need to consider. If you are decided to adopt a dog for the first time, below are four things you need to consider.
1. Your Budget
One thing most first-time dog owners overlook when buying a pooch is the cost beyond the initial purchase. Aside from the adoption fee, you will need to spend on food, veterinarian bills, and grooming for the entirety of your furry friend’s life. This means you will need an income that is stable enough to keep yourself, your family, and your pooch healthy, well-fed, and happy for a good 10 to 15 years.
In addition to the non-negotiable dog essentials, you will also need to regularly buy the following pet products:
- Baby gates
- Brush or comb
- Collar, harness, and leash
- Food and water bowls
- Identification tag
- Nail clipper
- Poop bags and scooper
2. Your Home
When considering adopting a dog, ask yourself the following question: are you okay with your space getting soiled from time to time? With a pooch around, your home will likely become dirty and messy, no matter how well-trained your furball is. Dogs can leave pawprints on furniture. They can accidentally knock things over. And most of them shed, leaving you to vacuum daily. If you are fine with cleaning up after your future pet, you will be a suitable first-time dog owner.
Regarding living spaces, you will need to check with your building administrator or landlord if pets are allowed in your apartment or condominium. Should you live in a house, you will need to ensure that it is dog-friendly. Ample space should be dedicated for your pooch to roam, play, sleep, and go potty. Have a comfortable area to reward them through training and playtime with you. Keep training equipment and reward treats in a designated place so you always know where they are but out of reach from pets.
Safety measures should be in place, so you will need to dog-proof everything. This means tucking loose electrical cords, putting cleaning chemicals inside cabinets, placing toxic house plants on high shelves, and packing up your breakables, among many other things.
3. Your Time
Before deciding to get a dog, you must determine who will take care of it. If you live alone, it will be you. But if you live with other people, you will need to designate tasks and create a schedule.
This is because all pooches need to be fed, groomed, exercised, trained, played with, taken out for potty breaks, and brought to the vet. Even low-maintenance breeds and those that don’t mind a sedentary lifestyle need time and attention. So if you have a demanding job or are frequently out of the house, this may not be the best time for you to bring home a four-legged friend.
Should you truly have your heart set out on a dog but have a very busy schedule, it is recommended that you always have a support system outside your household to help you out. For instance, if you travel a lot and cannot take your pooch along every single time, hire someone you trust to be a sitter.
4. Your Patience
There is no such thing as the perfect dog. At one point in time, your pooch will show some behavioral issues that will test how much stress you can tolerate. It may be as simple as barking excessively at strangers or chewing on your favourite sheets, to something as serious as becoming aggressive towards other animals or showing signs of separation anxiety. Often, there are reasons why dogs do these things. Most of the time, it is because they seek their human’s attention. This is why it is a good idea to be well-informed of your chosen breed’s temperament before bringing one home.
Another way a dog can test your patience is during training. If you have a stubborn pooch, be prepared to be challenged both mentally and physically. But before you get frustrated and give up, keep in mind that it takes time, effort, and understanding before your furry pal will listen to you, follow your commands, and learn basic tricks. This does not only apply to independent and difficult dogs but also intelligent and eager-to-please breeds. To make training your pet much easier, it is advised to be consistent, use positive reinforcement, and give occasional treats.