Adopting a dog sounds like fun, but it is a major responsibility. It will be amazing, and you will gain so much love and appreciation for your furry companion over the years. But it is by no means an easy task. You must understand that the dog depends on you for a great deal more than you may expect. For you, it will be some of the best years of your life, but for your dog, it is their entire life.
Helping your dog to have the best life possible means understanding their needs. You cannot expect the dog to change to suit you better. A large dog with a shaggy coat will shed, and you will have to brush it more often. Small dogs need dog training just as much as large dogs, even if you think they are too sweet to need it. Active breeds will need a lot of exercise to stay healthy, and you will need to provide this even on rainy days and lazy days.
Owning a dog can be one of the best adventures you have ever taken in your life. But there is a lot to consider to make sure that it is the right journey at this time for you and your potential best friend.
You need to look into the breed of the dogs in your area to find one that works with your circumstances. If you have young children, it might be best to get a puppy from a breed known to be caring and affectionate. A hunting breed in a home with excitable small children might not be a good choice, especially if it is a rescue pet aged out of its optimal period to learn new behaviors.
Walking and Crate Training
Once you get a dog, you will have to follow a schedule that is not entirely your own. It is integral to your dogs’ health that they are walked regularly. Light rain is not a reason to avoid the walk, as there are plenty of dog raincoats and boots available for purchase for all breeds. Delaying exercise for too long will make your dog restless and act out as they need it for their mental and physical well-being.
Even docile breeds should not be kept in a crate for longer than a few hours. Crate training is important as you will need your dog to be comfortable being in the crate. The crate is the easiest way to transport your dog to the vet or to parks that are a driving distance away. But the crate should not be overused and misused. Crating your dog to spare you the trouble of cleaning up after them is abuse, and you should not get a dog if this is your plan.
Vet checkups and follow-up care can take time, and you will have to do these regularly even when you have a busy week. Your weekends will have to factor in for playtime as dogs need to interact with other people and dogs for socialization. This time can also be used to help them brush up on their training. Regular training refreshers are needed to ensure that your dog remembers the desired behaviors.
Younger dogs need more attention and affection than older dogs. But all dogs need to feel connected to you, and you cannot ignore them when they ask for attention the way you would not ignore a toddler that wants your attention.
Understand Energy Levels
Some dogs are very high energy and can never have too much exercise. Other dogs enjoy exercise but are just as happy to lounge in a sunny spot. Understanding the energy levels of different types of dogs can help you choose the one to provide the best care. Beagles, German shepherds, retrievers, and poodles are very high-energy breeds. Mutts that have one or more of these breeds in their genetic makeup are also likely to be quite high-energy.
Bulldogs, Great Danes, greyhounds, and pugs are low-energy dogs that will sometimes have to be made to exercise for their own good. These dogs have their own troubles with breathing and movement due to over-breeding. Be sure to learn the risks they have simply due to their breed so you can cater to their needs.
Many people do not imagine the surprise disruptions that a dog can bring into their life. You will have to become educated on the leash laws and license requirements of your area. Unless you own your own house with a yard, you may have to move to own a pet. Most apartment buildings restrict pet ownership by size and breed and may charge you a pet tax.
Some dogs are barkers, and even if you find a pet-friendly apartment, you can get in trouble if your pet dog sets off the other pets by barking all the time. Dogs thrive on routine. They need a designated spot to sleep, a designated area to keep their toys, and can develop a taste for specific types of dog food. You will find that not taking them for walks or feeding them at the same time every day can make them confused. There is a lot to consider and even more to be prepared for before you can responsibly adopt a dog. Foster a few rescue dogs to see if you have the mental capacity and physical ability to give a dog a good forever home.