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People add pets to their households for a couple of reasons. Dog lovers cannot imagine life without the companionship of a trusty canine. Some people are attracted to a particular breed’s looks, and others want a partner in outdoor activities. Many, however, give too much weight to trends and looks, ignoring breed-specific care demands. Not every dog thrives in all environments, so it’s crucial to choose a breed that fits your lifestyle and living arrangements. Here are some simple ideas so you can navigate being a new dog owner.
Assess your life and what role a dog will play in it
A dog is, above all else, a serious obligation for its lifespan. When you bring a dog into your family, your pet will rely on you for food, water, shelter and veterinary care. But that’s not all; a dog needs attention and exercise. Not everyone can provide this to a dog. Even the best-intention dog lovers may have jobs or other obligations that get in the way of dutiful dog ownership. People who work long hours are going to have a hard time training a puppy. And if you live in an apartment or a home without a fenced-in yard, your dog will need to be walked several times a day.
This is not to say that those with busy schedules cannot be good dog owners. There are many excellent and convenient dog walking and sitting services available, which can provide your pup with attention. Walking services are helpful for most dog owners, as they provide your pet with activity and relief while you can be less stressed at work or away from home.
Here are some things to consider when hiring a pet walking or sitting service:
- Reach out to friends for referrals
- Meet with the dog walker for a pre-interview
- Establish good communication with the dog walker
- Make sure you know how the walker will respond in an emergency
When assessing your lifestyle and home, consider where the dog will spend most of her time. Establishing some stability before you adopt will make for an easier transition for the dog.
Seriously consider breeds and look beyond go beyond looks
Breed is an important consideration because there are many different variations in temperament and care needs. There are several online tools for matching dog breeds with lifestyle. The ASPCA website and other animal websites have easy to use interfaces. Not everyone is looking for a purebred dog, so these characteristics can be loose guidelines when it comes to mixed breed animals.
While there are no hard and set rules, so to speak, you can generalize by size and body shape of the dog. A larger muscular dog, such as a Labrador Retriever, is going to need exercise for contentment. A much smaller breed, such as a Chihuahua or French Bulldogs (see Ethical Frenchie for reference), may not be much of a jogger but she will still need training and attention. Since she is smaller, she might not be able to go an entire workday without having a bathroom break.
Learn about breed temperament
It helps to do some research in the area of dog breed temperament especially if you have other pets in your house such as cats or if you have small children. If you're adopting, the Humane Society will provide you with information on breed temperament. The last thing they want to have an animal return to their custody because an owner was ill-informed.
Breed affects train-ability to some extent as well. While some dogs are highly trainable others, such as a Weimaraners, may have difficulties with some training such as crate training and keeping off the furniture this is because these dogs simply don’t think their dogs and they don’t understand why they can’t sit on the couch if you are.
Dog ownership requires flexibility and a desire to bond on the owner’s part. Be prepared for some hard work - for both you and your new canine friend. Do research before you commit and you’ll be prepared for many years of fun dog companionship.