We’ve all seen irresistible pictures of puppies – all eyes, noses and charming bundles of fur. Indeed, welcoming a dog into the family is wonderful and will bring you years of joy and friendship!
However, like infants, every dog is an individual with a unique personality. And for many pet owners, their dogs don’t quite turn out to be the match they had hoped for. How then do we pick the right dog? Choosing a companion for at least the next 10 years is without a doubt an important decision and must be taken seriously. The following are some all-important basic considerations that potential owners must think through:
Why Do You Want A Pet?
All pet owners have their reasons for wanting to welcome a furry addition. Many have always loved animals and want them as part of the family, others miss the companionship of a loved one and look for the companionship of a dog instead. Sometimes, however, the decision to buy a pet is not in the pet’s best interests. Beware of impulse purchases or Christmas puppies bought in the gift-giving spirit, as there is often little consideration for if and how a new dog will fit in with the family for the long-term.
Are you retired and hoping to lead a quiet lifestyle? A couch-potato? A family with young children? Potential owners must understand the kind of lifestyle they lead and are realistically able to provide for the dog. Dog owners must also be fully committed to basic training and regular exercise, and need to understand that this will take time out of a busy schedule and require a certain amount of sacrifice for as long as the dog is part of the family. This is crucial in ensuring a properly-trained healthy puppy or adult dog. Shelters worldwide are flooded with unwanted dogs that have been labelled by angry and frustrated owners as ‘difficult’ and ‘uncontrollable’, when very often they were either trained poorly or not at all and left to develop undesirable habits.
While many want to bring home a puppy, keep in mind that like newborns, puppies require a lot of time and attention. If you feel that you’re not suited to bringing up a puppy and enduring its wilful teenage years or if you work long hours, consider adopting an adult rescue. There are many wonderful dogs in shelters waiting for good homes.
Breed characteristics are often a good indication of fairly stable traits and habits, and all potential owners should take the time to do some thorough reading about the breeds that they are interested in.
Food, vaccinations, neutering or spaying, emergency operations, grooming. The costs of keeping a dog can add up substantially and potential owners need to factor this into their monthly budgets to ensure that they are able to manage financially.
Does your apartment have restrictions on the breeds you are allowed to own? Do you have sufficient space for that Great Dane you always wanted? Our living arrangements usually dictate the breed size that we are able to maintain.