By Nancy Cope
Becoming a dog owner – or pet parent — is a huge commitment.
Here’s a list of things to consider before making it.
Depending on what your home is like, you may prefer a specific size of dog. Smaller dog breeds are perfect for smaller areas such as apartments and townhouses.
Could you imagine having a St. Bernard in an apartment building? You would go crazy and so would your dog because he just wouldn’t have enough room.
Think about your living space and how big or small you want your dog to be.
Many people opt for puppies. While adopting a dog as a puppy has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. Puppies will need to be trained so be prepared to spend some extra time with them to help them develop certain skills. Potty training is probably the biggest deal and you need to have some patience.
Animal shelters will have dogs of various ages and you can expect to find puppies there sometimes in addition to middle-aged dogs and senior dogs as well.
Senior dogs need good homes just as much as puppies do. With senior dogs you likely won’t have to do any training but if you have small children at home, then an older dog may not be your best bet.
Once you have determined what size dog you want and whether you want a puppy or not, you’ll want to research dog breeds based on the size of dog that you want.
When you’ve found a few breeds that you’re interested in, find out what their activity levels are. Some dog breeds will be more laid back while others are very high-strung. Animals that have more energy will need extra playtime and it would be a good idea to also take them on regular walks to help them burn off some energy.
You want to choose an animal that has an activity level that you can easily accommodate.
Taking ownership of a new dog, whether it is a puppy from a breeder or a senior dog from an animal shelter, is a big responsibility.
One thing many people fail to adequately consider is the cost of owning a dog. Use this pet ownership cost guide to figure out how much it will cost to own a dog for at least 15 years.
Dogs need to be fed, watered, cared for and loved. Dogs crave attention from their owners. Don’t get a dog just as a status symbol or to leave tied to a doghouse in the back yard.
If you’re certain you can handle the responsibility of owning a dog, research breeds that you have an interest in, to find out which will work best for you and your family.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.