Should I Get A Dog?

Getting a dog is like getting a new family member.  There are many factors that should play a role in the decision making process.  First you would like to ask yourself some of these common and important questions.  You should answer yes to all of them

 

Questions to ask yourself before getting a dog

 

  1. Do you have the time to take care of the dog?
  2. Can you afford a dog at this time?
  3. Are dogs allowed at your residence?
  4. Have you considered the neighbors?
  5. Do you know how to take care of a dog?
  6. Do all of your family members agree with having a dog?
  7. Is your situation stable?
  8. Will the dog get along with other pets in the house
  9. Does your life style accommodate a dog?
  10. Have you researched the breed to understand common behaviors?

 

Another important question to ask yourself is, “Why do I want to get a dog?”

 

There are a variety of answers and all need to be thoroughly thought through and evaluated.

 

  1. My children would like to have a dog.-  This is a very common and logical answer, but usually leaves all of the dog care for the adults.  Children, generally younger children, need to also learn how to behave with and around their new family member,
  2. Protection-  When a dog barks at a visitor at the door, that is very common and the first step to protection.  They alert you that someone is there.  When trying to teach a dog

 

 

Before you select a specific dog there are several other components you should consider before you let the cute little puppy eyes reel you in.  You will probably have the dog for 10-15 years and the puppyhood phase only lasts a few months so doing the proper research is very important.

 

Size:  The size of your living space in doors and out play an important role in what size dog you should get.  A large dog in small spaces can cause a variety of issues.  Do you want to carry and cuddle with the dog or one of more size lay on and give a bear hug?  If you will travel with the dog, you need to make sure it can fit in your car.  Also, the larger the dog, the more food it consumes and then expels.

 

Activity Level:  Some dogs need more exercise then others.  Some large breeds have lower energy levels in comparison to many smaller ones.  If you plan on running with your dog or working with your dog often, then a high energy dog is what you need.  If a dog with a lot of energy does not get the release that it needs, generally they will find other ways to do so, usually negatively.  Such as chewing your new furniture or clothing.

 

Hair and Fur-  Some people are allergic to dog fur and therefor need to get a particular breed that has hair rather then fur.  My family didn’t want to have to vacuum up dog hair twice a day everyday and use a roller to clean our clothes after cuddling with our dog for 30 seconds so we got a short haired dog but a doggie coat was needed during the winter.  So, if you plan on having your dog outside to face the elements, a double coated dog would work best if you don’t mind grooming and maintenance.

 

Personality with children-  If you have children or will have your dog around them, then it is a good idea to know what breeds generally work well with kids.  With what kind of kids will the dog interact?  Will the children want to roughhouse or dress up the dog?  A dog that is quiet, sensitive and prefers space may not work well with children who are loud and intrusive.

 

Age-  The age of the dog will play a major role on the impact to your day to day life.  No matter how cute and cuddly a puppy may be sleeping in your arms when its tired, the housebreaking, mouthing, chewing and many other undesired behaviors can be trying and some people may or may not wish to go through it.  If you would prefer a housebroken dog with little to no of these negative behaviors, an older dog is what you are looking for.  Yet when you get an older dog, the past of the dog is often not known or changed to make the dog more marketable.  So, past issue may present problems but the mental maturity of the dog may allocate for more benefits.

 

Pure breed or mutt-  Some people are looking for particular characteristics that are found in certain breeds such as speed, energy, personality, looks or working abilities.  More often then not a distinct breed will be chosen and you can be fairly assured of look, size, temperament and other basic characteristics.  Others are not all that selective and go for mixed.  For them, the dog will become a member of the family no matter what and are happy with what ever size and shape they get.  Many will have a basic understanding of the types of breeds mixed it while others many have no clue but ok with that.  Lassie is a pure bred but Benji is a mixed breed taken from a shelter.  Both are excellent.

 

Price-  Pure bred dogs are usually more expensive depending on the breed and breeder.  Some may charge anywhere from $300 to a few thousand dollars.  Older pure bred dogs can be found at rescue groups at a much lower cost.  Mixed breeds are common and near free from shelters.  They have usually been spayed or neutered and had their shots which will cut down on initial costs a great deal.

 

 

Where To Get A Dog-

 

There are a variety of places and ways to get your new loved one, some are recommended while others are not.  It isn’t always easy to get the right dog for your household but it is important to do your research.

 

Shelters-  Approximately 2 million to 4 million dogs enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 1.5 million to 2 million are euthanized (60 percent).  These dogs about brought the shelters from about half former owners and half animal control. These are national estimates.  Only about 15 to 20 percent of dogs are returned to their owners, mostly by tags, tattoos or microchips.  About 25% of local shelter dogs are purebred.  These dogs need homes and if you adopt them, you will be saving a life.  Many shelters have dogs of all ages and temperaments, many of whom could fit perfectly in your homes.

 

Specific breed rescue- There are many rescue groups who specialize in specific breeds to be able to help you save a particular dog that you may desire.  Some dogs are used by immoral and careless people for certain jobs and when they outlive their usefulness, are abandoned.  Just because a dog is in a shelter does not mean that there is anything wrong with them or they are aggressive.  Contact the club associated with the specific breed to find an appropriate rescue group and then speak with someone to find the right match for you and what you want.

 

Breeder-  A breeder is a person who mates dogs to produce puppies.  A good breeder will mate two dogs that have the positive characteristics with regards to health and temperament.  When you speak with the breeder, make sure they care to inform you about the parents and how the puppy interacts with his/her litter mates.  The level of canine value can been seen in the breeder.  You should see the grounds and parents.  The breeder should be knowledgable and be happy to answer all of your questions while asking some of you to ensure a successful future.  Breeders man be located through the American Kennel Club (http://www.akc.org/) .

 

Newspaper Advertisement-  Be careful.  People placing ads can be very responsible and caring but many times are not.  There are many people out there who want to make a “quick buck” or feel that their dog is something special and decide to breed their dog with no true knowledge of what they are doing.  Do some background checks and make sure that you know what you are getting.  You may have the little one for 10-15 years so make sure that he’s more then just cute as a puppy and choose carefully.

 

Pet Shops-  I do not recommend buying a puppy from a pet shop and for good reason.  Dogs in pet stores are often acquired from puppy mills( mass production under terrible conditions) and not bred for quality.  Many born into atrocious conditions and can have one of many ailments.

 

Friends or Acquaintances-  Just because your friends with someone and they have always had dogs does not mean that they are competent breeders.  There is a lot more then just putting two dogs of opposite sex in a room to become a good breeder.

 

Which Puppy Passes the Test?

 

Please note these tips before picking a puppy.

 

  1. Generally you want to look for the middle of the road puppy.  By that I mean, do not choose the boldest, toughest and most energetic nor the shy, smaller, weaker one.
  2. Cradle the puppy in your arms, belly up, like a baby.  You would want to look for the puppy that relaxes and allows you to do this.  This can show the dogs trust, willingness to submit and cooperation.
  3. Make a random loud and unusual sound, like a bang noise or keys falling and observe the dog when you do this.  If the dog attacks, that may be an aggressive puppy. More often then not you would prefer one that get startled but  quickly comes back to check out the scene.
  4. Squat down and call the puppy over to you in a pleasant voice. Read the dogs reaction.  If it comes up to you happily, then it may be people oriented.  If it cowers in fear on its way or runs away, then this dog may be too fearful.  This behavior may or may not change over the course of the dogs life.
  5. You do not want to take a puppy away from its mother and litter mates before it is 7 to 8 weeks old.  The puppy will learn a lot during this time, relating to but not solely, bite restriction, caring, sharing and getting along with other dogs.