Not everyone is cut out for pet ownership. Before you find the cutest dog you can find, consider what you are signing up for when buying or adopting a puppy.
Are You Ready to own a Dog?
A friend once told me that before she would allow her children to get a “real” dog they would have to take care of a “stuffed animal dog.” She would monitor how they were at changing the food dish and water dish. In addition, did they moan and groan when she would ask them to take the dog out or clean up after the dog would have an “accident.” The family never got a dog because the children were not ready for the responsibility and the adults did not want any additional responsibilities. Here are some thoughts to consider before having the joyful adventure of having a dog…
The Initial costs
Please note that there are initial costs of the dog, of course. The water and food bowl(s). Some people like to keep a water bowl outside as well as inside. Will the dog need a dog house/cage? Will the dog need a fenced in yard or invisible fencing (www.invisiblefence.com). Will a stake in the ground with a way to hook the leash to the roping via the stake be enough “freedom” for the dog? How will you clean the feet of the dog when the muddy yard stamps the dogs feet with mud?
The on-going costs
The renewal of the dog license. The heart worm pills. Especially the cost of food with the recent scare on dog food, many people had to re-buy dog food. I understand that there may be a refund procedure. The treats can be costly. Especially with the experiment of what kind of treats does the dog actually eat. In addition I know some dogs are highly allergic to food/treats. Consider giving the dog half of a treat to make the supply last longer. My American Eskimo considers it a treat when I put some of the dog food in my hand and allow him to eat from my hand, spoiled I know!
The care and attention
What are you expecting out of the dog? What is the dog expecting out of you? How often can you make it home to the let dog out for the bathroom as well as exercise? How much company can you keep the dog? Consider having timed lighting if you come home in the dark and leave in the light. Some dogs fancy a radio or TV on for noise. My dog is not a playful dog, which is good and bad. More the good because he does not take or destroy any of our belongings, he is good at knowing what toys are his though he rarely pays them any mind. My grandma’s dog is a playful dog. My grandma’s dog has deflated many a ball except the wonderful Jolly ball as can be viewed at: www.dogtoys.com/jollyball10.html. This ball is very durable and has a nice handle on it for more interactive playing with the dog.
Does the vet recommend pet insurance? Does the vet charge a reasonable rate for the services performed? Does the vet run on time? My American Eskimo is so anti-dogs that we have to be able to go right from the car into to the exam room.
We have a decorative pillow that reads “no outfit is complete without dog hair.” Consider the type of dog hair. My American Eskimo sheds so much that we actually took into consideration the color of carpeting to replace in our home so his hair would be less noticeable. His hair is white so it is noticeable even on the furniture and dark clothing. So get your lint brush ready for your clothes, the car seats and the home furnishings. We do not take him to a groomer. The vet will do the nail trimmings for a minimal fee. I do the brushing with a comb and a brush. Sometimes scissors are need for his tuffs (hair knots). I brush him outside when the weather is nice. When the weather is not conducive to being outside, I use our garage. In addition scissors are sometimes needed for his tail when he decides to decorate it with his bathroom duties. Understand how the teeth on the dog need cleaned.
The relationship with others
My American Eskimo is very protective. He has never bit anyone. He does bark a lot when there is a new face at the door, but when we welcome the person into the home, he stops barking as though he trusts our judgement. He is better around adults that children. He does not harm children, I think he is just intimidated because the child is on eye level with him. Consider the backyard. Our neighbors have dogs. In the summer he does not bark as much at the other dogs because the foliage does not allow him to see into the neighbors yard as well. In the winter though, he can see the others. So we check to see if the dogs are out before letting him out. In addition to our dog we have a bird. The dog is actually scared of the bird, as the bird has a nasty beak. So we never have had a problem with them being in the same house whether the bird be in the cage or out of the cage.
Understand what kind of product will work best for your type of flooring for cleaning up accidents. My dog does not have urinary accidents. He does have “poop” accidents occasionally. He mostly has his accidents when there is a lot of commotion, the kind that is not regular that is. For example, he can sense when we are going on vacation and have all of the luggage out and about the house.
We have house sitters that are friends of the family take care of our dog while we are on vacation. This works the best for us because he (the dog) gets to stay in a familiar setting. With another dog we had in the past we did board the dog. This is costly. In addition precautions have to be taken so that the dog does not get communicable diseases. Two things that helped the dog to be less anxious was to bring a blanket from home and to bring dog food from home with our hands having went through the food putting our scents on the food.
One of my friends chose to get her dog a set of steps that go up to her bed because the dog liked to sleep on the bed, but had a bad back and the steps took the strain of jumping on the bed off of the dog’s back. A picture of the steps can be seen at: www.nextag.com/dog-steps/search-html.
Do you foresee having to move while having the dog? Case and point. My coworker currently has a fenced in yard, so she just lets her dog out in the backyard. When she found out she was moving to an apartment she had to start remembering to hook the dog up on a leash and take the dog out so that the dog could get used to going to the bathroom on a leash. If you need to seek apartment housing, is there a weight limit or breed specifications? Is there a separate deposit just for the dog? In addition is the dog/pet deposit refundable? When you have to walk the dog are you prepared to bring a scoop and bag with you in order to tidy up after the dog potties.
There are many things to consider before having a special four legged friend. Obtain information from the place that you get your dog as to what is special to your unique dog. Keep learning as you have your dog and love every minute.