Who doesn’t want a puppy? Is there anything cuter? But then it’s just to get one – as soon as possible? Almost, but before rushing off to the nearest kennel and buy a dog, it might be useful to think through some things.
Getting a dog is an adventure and a challenge at the same time. Remember, a pet is a long-term commitment. Depending on what kind of dog breed you choose, you’re looking at anywhere between 10 to 20 years of being a pet owner.
Puppies are brand new to the world, and they don’t know right from wrong. You’ll need to teach them every single thing you want them to know. They need positive encouragement and patience to help them learn how to be a good member of the household. It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding!
Does everyone want a dog?
Everyone who lives together will be involved or engaged in some way, whether they want it or not. Someone gets their book torn, and an accident will probably happen on someone’s favourite mat. At the same time, everyone will experience wonderfully cosy moments with the dog.
You need to find out that everyone who will be living with the dog wants a dog as much as you. It will be easier if everyone is equally enthusiastic about having a pet in the family.
For instance, puppies are brand new to the world, and they don’t know right from wrong. You’ll need to teach them every single thing you want them to know. When training a puppy, it’s necessary that everyone has the same rules and is consistent with what is applicable. To make this work, you must bring everyone on the journey.
Often it’s the children who nag about wanting a dog, but you need to understand that the ultimate responsibility falls to the adult. It’s just normal that the children after a while get tired or have better things to do than taking care of the dog. An excellent way to see if the child is ready for a dog is, for instance, to let them take a walk every day as if they had a dog and see if it’s still fun after some weeks.
Which breed of dog should I choose?
Here it’s crucial not only to choose with the heart. You have to think it through, do research and use reason. Most of us, of course, want a dog breed that is “easy to live with”. But dogs are just like us – individuals. Everyone has their own qualities regardless of race. Here it’s more about finding out what kind of person you are.
Do you like home-life on the couch or are you a person who loves long walks. Do you want a loyal and dedicated dog? A good family dog? Do you want to train your dog and maybe compete in sports, like agility? Are you a hunter? Start by choosing a few dog breeds you like and then read about their characteristics. There are plenty of facts about this on the web.
Before you buy a dog, you need to figure out if you want a puppy or an older dog, as well as what breed of dog would suit you best.
A little puppy is always cute and fun, but they typically have a lot of energy and will need plenty of attention. If you don’t have a lot of time and energy to spend socializing and training an active puppy, and you don’t feel up to cleaning up little “oopsie” while housetraining the puppy, then perhaps you should look at adopting an older dog.
An adult dog may not need as much training and support as a puppy, but it may have some habits that still need some training. Most adult dogs come housetrained and, especially when adopting a senior dog; their energy level may be lower than a puppy.
Besides thinking about whether you want a puppy or an adult dog, the breed of dog that you would like to adopt is a vital aspect to consider. Each race has its rewards and challenges. Don’t just pick a dog because of its look. The personality is a much more important factor to keep in mind.
Do you have time for a dog?
A puppy needs you all the time for the first four months. Remember that you can’t leave your puppy alone in the beginning. After four months, a puppy can be left alone for up to 4-5 hours.
Older dogs also don’t want to be alone too long, even though they have a big space to move around. They usually say that your company is more important than space. If the dog could choose, it would’t want to be alone at all.
Only buy a dog if you plan to be with it. Dogs are not a toy or accessory that should only be available when you have time or want. You get a dog “for life” because it’s someone you want to have a relationship with. They are not something you lock in an apartment eight hours a day.
Think through your everyday life. What does your work look like? What are your working hours? Can you go home at lunch to go out with the dog? If you travel a lot or have many other activities it can be difficult to bring your dog everywhere. If you are a person who likes to be home a lot, then it’s not a big problem.
Can you afford to have a dog?
Of course, it’s not just the purchase cost that one must expect. Before you buy a dog you need to consider the cost for insurance, food, veterinary, vaccinations, regular worming and flea treatments, grooming, bedding, toys, leash, crate and other dog accessories. Most of these costs are not a once-off, so you need to be prepared to budget for these costs all year round for the entire life of your dog.
Can you have a dog in your apartment?
If you lease, you need to check with your landlord, before you buy a dog, if you are allowed to have a pet in your apartment. Then it can also be useful to have it put in your lease contract, so you have it in black and white.
Do you travel a lot?
If you travel a lot, you need to find out what is possible with a dog. In most modes of transport such as trains, flights and even buses, there are restrictions. There are rules for how and where you can bring a dog, and also how big it can be. Read our article about “Flying with a dog”…
If you want to be able to bring your dog in the future, it may also be useful to choose a dog breed that stays small even as an adult. Then it’s much easier to carry the shorter distances if needed, for example, when travelling by air or train. Also if you travel by plane the dog, most go in the carriage if it’s over a specific size.
If you’re thinking about travelling for an extended period, where will you leave your dog?
Does anyone in the family have fur allergies?
If you are unsure of someone in the family or your vicinity (maybe you) have allergies to fur animals, you can try to visit someone for a few days who has a dog or dog sit a friends dog. If you don’t know any dog owner with the breed, you are thinking of buying then contact a breeder and ask to visit them. You can also take a test; of course, it’s not a guarantee for how it will be in the future. But it can indicate if you get a reaction directly. Read our article about “Taking care of a friends dog”…
Allergy-free dogs do they exist?
Although there are dogs that are “developed” not to be allergenic, sadly there are no dogs that are 100% allergenic proof. There are only dogs that in combination with some people, can cause minor symptoms. And in the end, it varies from person to person which breed they react to or not.
For a short time or outdoors maybe it’s ok but for a longer period or indoor it can be a different story. Unfortunately, people with allergies who get exposed to a dog over time get more and more sensitive.
Time to buy a dog?
Was that all? No, but this is some of the things that you need to think about in the early stage. Now, don’t let this discourage you from getting a dog.
Owning a dog is a very rewarding experience. Your dog will provide you with years of love, companionship and loyalty. As satisfying as it can be to own a dog, buying a dog is a big decision and requires careful thought and consideration. Take your time to research, search online, and ask friends with dogs, visit breeders or dog shelters, before making the final decision.