Many people want the dog to fill up a spot of incompleteness in their lives. People may feel their child needs a companion or responsibility. Some people think that getting a dog will make them exercise more, as those dusty machines in the corner have not motivated them to do. For some a dog is a replacement for children they can't have or adult children that have left. Sometimes people think too much about what they dog will do for them, and do not consider what must be done for the dog OR the spirit in which care should be done.
Some are in love with idea of rescue. That is fine, just remember there is no rescue unless the story ends with the dog living happily ever after with the family. There is more not only to rescuing a dog, but to purchasing a dog in general than paying the fee or providing food and shelter. All of the same questions need to be considered and gone over thoughtfully before seeking a or another dog.
Before getting a dog, please ask yourself the following questions:
- The very first question, is do YOU really want a dog and why? The answer should not be all about you, the human, and what you need.
- The next question is do you have the time, finances and commitment to have a dog? Even were you to acquire a dog for free, as a client once said "there is no such thing as a free dog". Food, bedding, toys, veterinary care, flea and tick medicine, grooming supplies, leashes, collars, training ET are all with a cost. A potential owner should be sure that they have the means to meet that cost to the best of their ability. The purchase price of the dog is going to be the least of your financial concerns.
- Is now the right time to get a dog? Is there stress going on, pregnancy, divorce, ET that may not make this an ideal time to care for a dog properly? The best time to bring in another dog is when there are no extraordinary stresses around for both the canine and the human.
- Is it possible that you have a medical condition or allergies that would make all or some types of dogs not healthy for you to own?
- Have you owned dogs in your adult life? How experienced are you in bringing up a dog to date? If you feel you have limited experience, you can get that experience either before you get a dog or after to some degree. Volunteering at a shelter or fostering a dog with the support of a shelter is a great way to start learning about dogs and some of their needs. Professionals of many sorts are there to support you once you have a dog or puppy. Know what support is available to you.
- How prepared is your house, yard, and overall living environment for an incoming dog?
- Will you be upset when the accidents happen due to non supervision or just as a result of life? By accidents, I am not just talking about housebreaking accidents, but damage to personal possessions and things.
- What sorts of personality traits will you be looking for in a dog? Do you want a dog that will follow you all the time be social and enjoy hugs and kisses? Do you prefer an independent dog?
- How committed are you to really training your dog? By training I mean to a real standard to respond to you on the first command, and to be trained to be able to (whether you choose to do this a lot or not) be unleashed and responsive to you. You should know that there is a high failure rate in those that get a dog, and can not do this. Not everyone is lucky enough to pick out the most "bomb proof" dog.
- Are all adult family members up to interacting, training, and taking the necessary care of a dog?
- Are there additional considerations that should be considered for other family members in the house (young and old or special needs)?
- How much research are you willing to spend on finding a responsible rescue or breeder to adopt your dog from?
- Are you willing to let the breeder and rescue give you input OR choose the appropriate dog or puppy for your family? Many responsible breeders and rescues do this.