It has been said that owning a dog is like having a two year old that stays two for his entire life. There is some truth in this statement. Dogs–like children–have many needs, and each dog has a unique personality. But, as any dog owner will tell you, there is no greater joy than coming home to your tail-wagging, slobbering best friend.
There are several factors you should consider before getting a dog. You’ll want to think about how much time you have to spend with the dog, your family’s ability to contribute to caring for him or her, and how suitable your home and yard are.
Your dog’s new home
If you’ve always wanted a large, playful dog, you should think about the size of your home and yard. Big dogs and dogs with high energy need a lot of room to run around in.
If you live on a busy road would you consider putting up a fence to keep your dog safe from traffic? If not you might have to tether your dog to a run in the backyard, which is significantly less fun and exercise for the both of you.
Inside the home poses another challenge. If you are considering a puppy, know that there is much training involved to keep your dog safe and your house in one piece. One of the many benefits of adopting an older dog is that they tend to already be housebroken, avoiding a lot of clean-ups and chewed furniture.
Raising a dog is a team effort
If you are thinking about getting a puppy or a high energy dog (in other words, a “permanent puppy”) it’s important to recognize that your whole family will have to be on the same page when it comes to training.
Your dog takes cues from your family’s behavior. So if one person in your family allows the dog to jump up on them when another doesn’t it will give the dog mixed signals. This is also true for rewarding good behavior. Your dog should obey each member of your family because they trust them, not fear them or feel dominant over them. Play-time and treats are a great way to build that trust with every member of your household.
Please consider adopting
We all have the image in our heads of our children playing with a new puppy. But the same joy and bonding can come from adopting an older dog. When you adopt, you can teach your kids the value of rescuing and caring for animals that have been neglected. What’s more, adopting is also a way to show support for shelters rather than puppy mills who often breed puppies in poor conditions.
Guidelines for dogs and your home
- If you have a small home and yard, get a small dog or an older, low-energy dog
- Likewise, take the dog on lots of walk to make up for missed exercise in the yard
- If you have a wooded yard be extra vigilant about ticks and fleas
- Training never ends for you or your dog. Make sure you are constantly working with your dog