Many people like the idea of having a dog, but they are not prepared for the responsibilities that come with it. Dogs are wonderful companions; they are intelligent, they are loyal, and they tend to be docile. On top of that, there are dozens of major breeds to choose from, offering dogs of varying sizes and specialties. But if you want to responsibly own a dog, there are some things you need to know.
What you should know before having a dog
Here are some of the most important things you should know before having a dog:
Different races have different needs
While most of the generic dog advice can be applied to any dog, you should be aware that different breeds have very different needs. Some breeds, like border collies, are extremely intelligent and need a lot of stimulation. Other breeds, like chihuahuas, require much less maintenance. Don’t buy a dog breed because you like their appearance – choose a dog breed based on their strengths and weaknesses.
Feeding and watering are not always easy
The most basic form of dog care is providing food and water, but even that’s not entirely straightforward. You need to feed your dog the right amount of food, otherwise, he could become obese or malnourished. You may also need to find the right type of food for your pet, as different lines of food offer different types of nutrition.
You will need to protect your home from pets
Before you bring a dog home, you will need to spend some time “testing” it. Block off areas that you don’t want your pet to have access to and make sure nothing valuable can be destroyed. Most importantly, beware of foods, chemicals, and other items that could be dangerous for your dog.
Dogs should be treated as a lifelong commitment
Dogs form strong bonds with their owners, so any change of ownership can be traumatic. It is ideal for a dog to have a home for life, with a consistent owner. Do not accept a dog if you are not prepared for many years of commitment.
Veterinary care can be expensive
Many new dog owners underestimate the cost of even routine veterinary care, which is important if you want your dog to be healthy. Checkups can cost over $ 100, and some procedures can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Is it part of your budget?
Dogs need physical activity
All dogs need physical activity, although some need more activity than others. You will need enough free time to walk or run with your dog every day if you want him to be healthy and happy. Without exercise, dogs can develop obesity and may be more susceptible to anxiety-related behaviors, such as chewing and aggression. If you don’t have a lot of time to exercise, consider getting a dog, or at least consider a dog that is less dependent on physical activity, like a Pekingese.
Home training is not always easy
Guides often make home training seem like a simple matter, but not all dogs do it equally well. You may find it very difficult to teach your dog to go outside to remove waste, and in the meantime, you will have to deal with a lot of mess inside.
Early socialization is imperative
If you have a puppy or a young dog, you need to understand the importance of early socialization. Your dog should have the opportunity to meet many other dogs in a safe environment, as well as other pets (such as cats), human adults, and human children. This exposure gives them confidence, decreases their anxiety, and can help them behave better long into the future.
Some obedience training is necessary
It is a good idea to spend at least some time training your dog in obedience. This is a good opportunity to curb their bad behavior (increase the safety of those around you), and it is also a valuable bonding experience that will bring you closer together.
Puppies are great, but so are older dogs
Many new dog owners exclusively consider getting a new puppy. Puppies have many advantages, including the capacity to form a true lifelong bond, but don’t neglect the possibility of adopting an older dog from an animal shelter.
Are You Ready for a Dog?
You should feel confident that you’re ready to own a dog before you actually get one. If you’re not sure, there are many ways to prepare yourself for the decision. For example, you can volunteer at your local animal shelter to get hands-on experience with dogs and get used to typical care; if you have friends with dogs, you can also consult them for advice.
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