The choice of a dog is a big decision and one that is often taken all too lightly. You need to choose the right dog for you, your lifestyle and family. There are all sorts of factors to consider when choosing the right dog for you.
Here are three simple questions that all dog owners should ask themselves before making that lifetime commitment to a dog:
- Will I have time for a dog?
- Can I afford the bills, including food, treats, toys, and running costs?
- Am I prepared to change my lifestyle so I can include my dog in those changes?
Your dog will be a part of your family and your lifestyle for many years.
You need to value the time and effort you will spend on your dog by considering all these questions and weighing the answers.
If you don’t have time to spend with your dog, then perhaps looking at other priorities should be first.
For example, if you are extremely busy every day and come home very infrequently, perhaps a dog isn’t the ideal pet for you.
Taking care of a dog will involve a commitment of your time and energy for the lifetime of your dog.
If you don’t have the time to commit to exercise, grooming, and your dog’s health, then perhaps looking at other alternatives should be first.
Can I afford the bills, including food, treats, toys, and running costs?
The bills don’t stop coming even if you figure things out after you’ve made your decision. As soon as you’ve picked your new dog up, you’ll be on the receiving end of veterinary bills.
Determine how much you can afford to spend on your dog each month and know that there will be a monthly spending spree.
Am I prepared to change my lifestyle so I can include my dog in those changes?
You can’t keep your dog at home forever. If you and your dog aren’t a good match, you need to make a change to include your dog in your life.
This may involve moving home, changing jobs, or even taking a year off work. Remember that your dog is part of your family and needs to be included in those changes.
If you aren’t delighted with your answers to these questions, then maybe a re-think is needed.
Taking the time to reflect and weigh your options is the best way to improve your happiness and your dog’s happiness.
Where do you draw the line?
That’s an important question and one that many people don’t really think of. What should you do if your dog is showing dangerous signs that you can’t control?
For example, aggressive tendencies, harmful aggression, lack of control, barking uncontrollably.
While it may be easy to get caught up in the moment’s emotions and end up assuming the dog is just ‘being a dog,’ ignoring any of the above issues is a recipe for disaster.
Consistency is really the key here. As you and your family members know, dealing with a dog involves a level of consistency.
The way you live and treat your dog is a reflection of you. Are you strong-willed and fair? Or are you usually soft and convince?
If you are usually soft, then you’ll be just as bad when your dog misbehaves, making your dog’s behavior problems worse.
So, remember, if you find yourself suddenly having trouble with your dog, step back, evaluate your own actions and your knowledge of the subject. Newer to dog training?
You will need a refresher course on correct training techniques.
For example, does your dog pull on the leash? If so, you need to re-establish yourself as the leader. How does your dog treat ‘his’ toys? If you let your dog basically have it his way, you’ll make it very difficult for him to tell that he’s not allowed to touch his own toys.
Only allow toys for him to play with when you’re around. Ensure that he knows that if he wants to play with his toys, he has to earn them by doing an action. Use this process with all of his toys – get him to pay attention to his own toys and only allow toys he choosing to play with.