Dogs have long been considered man's best friend, and for good reason. They are loyal, affectionate, and can bring joy to your personal life and to the life of a family like no other pet can. However, getting a dog is not a decision to be taken lightly as dogs deserve to go to homes where their needs are met. It's a significant commitment that requires careful consideration. In this article, we'll discuss the important things to consider before getting a dog so that you are fully prepared to provide your new dog with everything it needs for a long, happy, healthy life.
1. TIME COMMITMENT
One of the most important things to consider before getting a dog is the time commitment involved. Dogs require a significant amount of attention, exercise, and training to thrive. You must be prepared to invest time and effort in meeting their needs. Depending on the breed, some dogs require a lot more exercise and time outdoors than others. For example, a high-energy breed like a Border Collie, Husky or a Dalmatian will need several hours of outdoor exercise every day. At Mountain Wild, we believe strongly that every breed of dog should have outdoor time each day. If you're unable to provide the necessary time and attention, it may not be the right time to get a dog.
Owning a dog requires a financial commitment. The initial cost of getting a dog is just the beginning. You'll need to factor in the cost of food, bedding, veterinary care, grooming, etc. Providing your dog with the healthiest foods may cost a bit more up front but will have long-lasting benefits such as better health and a longer life. It's essential to consider your budget and whether you can afford the ongoing costs associated with owning a dog and especially in providing your dog with the healthiest lifestyle possible.
3. LIVING ARRANGEMENTS
Your living arrangements are an important factor to consider when getting a dog. If you live in a small apartment or have limited outdoor space, certain breeds may not be suitable for such living conditions. Large breeds like Great Danes or Saint Bernards, for example, require a lot of space to move around. Additionally, some apartment buildings or rental properties may have restrictions on pet ownership. Before getting a dog, make sure that your living arrangements can accommodate them and provide them with the type of lifestyle that will help them thrive.
4. BREED CHARACTERISTICS
Different dog breeds have different characteristics that may or may not be suitable for your lifestyle. For example, some breeds are known for being highly active, while others are more laid back. Some breeds are more prone to certain health issues, while others are better suited for families with young children. Researching the breed characteristics of a dog can help you determine whether they're a good fit for your lifestyle. Dogs deserve to be part of a family where their needs can be met. By figuring out what those needs are before purchasing a breed of dog, you will go into the relationship with eyes wide open.
All dogs require training, regardless of their breed or age. Training is essential for helping your dog develop good behavior and socialization skills. If you're not prepared to invest the time and effort required for training, it may not be the right time to get a dog. Additionally, some breeds may require more training than others. High-energy breeds like Australian Shepherds or Siberian Huskies, for example, require a lot of training and exercise to keep them stimulated. If you need help in the area of training, there are knowledgeable dog training experts that can help guide you through the process. Committing to the time necessary for proper and consistent training of your dog will allow for a much more healthy and happy relationship between you and your dog.
6. ENERGY LEVEL
The energy level of a dog is an important factor to consider before getting one. Some breeds have high energy levels and require a lot of exercise, while others are more laid back. If you're not able to provide the necessary exercise, a high-energy dog is not going to be the right choice for you. Additionally, if you have young children or elderly individuals in your household, a high-energy dog may not be the best fit.
7. HEALTH CONCERNS
Like all animals, dogs can develop health issues over time. It's important to consider the potential health concerns of a breed before getting a dog. Some breeds are more prone to certain health issues, like hip dysplasia or blindness. Additionally, some breeds may require more frequent grooming or veterinary care than others. Researching the health concerns of a breed can help you make an informed decision and prevent frustration when the health issues arise. It can also help you to do certain things that will help prevent or slow down the onset of certain health issues.
8. TIME COMMITMENT FOR GROOMING
Grooming is an important part of keeping your dog healthy and happy. However, different breeds require different levels of grooming. It is very important that you understand the type of coat your dog will have and the time requirement to keep it in a healthy condition. For example, there are many popular mixed breeds such as labradoodles or goldendoodles that require consistent brushing to prevent matting. Many dog owners purchase dogs without considering the time commitment in brushing and maintaining the dogs coat and when not properly taken care of, severe matting can take place causing other problems.
The temperament of a dog is an essential factor to consider before getting one. Some breeds are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities, while others may be more reserved or even aggressive. If you have young children or other pets in the home, it's essential to choose a breed with a temperament that will work well with them. Additionally, if you're an experienced dog owner, you may be able to handle a dog with a more challenging temperament, but if you're a first-time dog owner, it's best to choose a breed known for its easy-going nature.
10. TIME COMMITMENT FOR SOCIALIZATION
Socialization is a critical aspect of raising a well-behaved and happy dog. Socializing your dog involves exposing them to different environments, people, and other animals, so they can learn how to interact appropriately. Socialization requires time and effort, and it's essential to start early in your dog's life. If you're not able to commit the necessary time for socialization, it can lead to behavior problems in the future. When visiting dog parks or other areas where there will be many dogs interacting, it’s important to always be assessing the behavior of your dog and other dogs in the area in order to prevent aggressive interactions.
Your lifestyle is an essential factor to consider when getting a dog. If you're an active person who enjoys hiking, running and other outdoor activities, a high-energy breed may be a good fit. If you are not someone that is highly active in the outdoors, a laid-back breed may be more suitable. Additionally, if you travel frequently, you'll need to take into considerations the arrangements that would need to be made for your dog while you're away.
13. AGE OF DOG
The age of the dog is an important consideration when getting one. Puppies, for example, require a lot of attention and training. Often, the amount of time and attention required to properly train a puppy is underestimated, while adult dogs, on the other hand, may already have some training and socialization skills. Additionally, older dogs may have health issues that require more frequent veterinary care. It's essential to consider the age of the dog and whether it's a good fit for your lifestyle.
14. LONG-TERM COMMITMENT
Owning a dog is a long-term commitment. Dogs can live for ten or more years, and it's important to consider whether you can provide for them throughout their life. If you're not prepared to make a long-term commitment to a dog, it may not be the right time to get one.
Adding a dog into your life is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. Too often, people rush into purchasing a dog without knowing all there is to know about the breed of dog and what is needed to make the dog’s life and your life happy and healthy. It's essential to think about the time commitment, cost, living arrangements, breed characteristics, training, energy level, health concerns, grooming requirements, temperament, socialization, lifestyle, age of the dog, and long-term commitment. By considering these important factors, you can make an informed decision and give your dog the very best life possible.