Are You Ready For A Dog?
Here's How To Tell If You Might Be Ready
Thinking about adopting a dog? Before you take the plunge, check out this list of seven criteria you should meet before getting a new puppy or adult dog.
You have the time to train and socialize a new pooch
Bringing home a dog means a huge commitment of time and patience. You have to teach him the rules of your home — including potty training, safe interaction with children or other pets, and which items are dog toys and which are your brand-new pair of expensive dress shoes. On top of that, you should have time for training sessions when necessary.
You've considered which kind of dog fits your lifestyle
If you're a retired senior looking for a laid-back companion who doesn't need much exercise, a Border Collie may not be your best bet. And if you're an athlete searching for a running companion, you probably don't want to bring home a Pug. Before you get a dog, think about your daily routine, your age and generally how a dog will fit into your lifestyle. If you are gone all the time, this might not be the right time to bring home a dog. Keep in mind that the majority of your dog's care and socialization still falls to you, and that's a huge time commitment. Check out our Choose The Right Dog For You page to learn about the types and breeds of dogs that may be suit your lifestyle.
You're financially ready to care for a dog
They may not need a $100,000 college education, but dogs do put some pressure on your bank account. Take a look at your finances and really consider whether you have enough disposable income to pay for a dog's needs. While all of the dogs at the Porter County Animal Shelter are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, you'll still need to cover the costs of their initial veterinary care, food, toys, shampoo, bowls, collars, leashes and cleaning supplies, among other things. And consider in some cases, your new dog may need training sessions with an animal behavior specialist. As careful and caring as you are, emergencies happen. While pet insurance can help, unexpected vet appointments and surgeries aren't easy on the wallet. Check out our The Costs Of Owning A Dog page for more information.
You can commit to having a dog for the next decade or longer
Those who are commitment-phobic should be aware that owning a canine definitely means a long-term obligation. A dog may be by your side for the next 10, 12 or 15 years.
Everyone else in your home is on board
If you're thinking about getting a dog, talk with everyone you live with to figure out how the care and training responsibilities will be shared. Kids can be great helpers with things like refilling the water bowl and exercising the dog, but the majority of the work falls to you, the adult. To think your kids are going to do all the work is unrealistic. You can include children in your dog's training, but ultimately, the dog's welfare is the obligation of the adult.
Children have a tendency to pull tails, play with dog toys, and grab handfuls of dog fur which may not be received well by your dog. You will have to teach your children how to interact with the dog. That includes how the should handle your dog, give your dog their own space, how to pet your dog, and to respect your dog's things. If you are not ready to make the time commitment to train your children how to interact, then you are not ready to adopt a dog.
The place where you live is right for a dog
Houses with big back yards and space for your dog to run are always good fits for dogs. But when it comes to condo or apartment pets, size does matter. Giant paws and long legs don’t always mix well with tiny living spaces. Additionally, many apartments and condominiums have restrictions on the breed and size of dog that residents are allowed to have (usually measured by weight), and some do not allow pets at all.
You've studied up on care and safety
Being educated on pet ownership will make your life, and your dog's life, so much better when your new companion comes home. Give yourself plenty of time to research proper nutrition, potential hazards in the home, dental care and local veterinarians. We promise it'll pay off!
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