You don’t become a dog person overnight; you are just born as one. My parents often told me how, even as a toddler, I used to bring stray puppies home. We’ve always had pets and supported as many strays as we could in the vicinity. Having a furry companion is the WAY OF LIFE for me. When I met my life partner only question I ever asked him was, “does he like dogs?”. Thankfully, he loves them as much as I do. Dogs love you, selflessly! Therefore, if you and your family plan to bring a pet into your life, these are the ten things to know before you get a dog.
1 Are you ready as a family?
This is the most crucial factor before you bring a dog into the family. If there is even one family member who isn’t ready to have a dog, you should avoid getting one. Especially if that member is your wife or mother. It’s a fact, significant responsibility of feeding, walking, and grooming ends up falling on mothers, and if they don’t think they are ready to handle additional responsibility, then their point of view should be respected. It is not only just emotional responsibility but financial too. You might not have to send your dog to college, but you definitely need to take care of his health and other expenses.
2 Pup or a grown up dog?
Another critical decision to decide is whether you want to bring a full-grown dog or a pup to your family. Getting a puppy in your home is like having another baby. Everyone knows puppies need extra care and attention. So, be very conscious of your decision if you have an infant or toddler in the house. Taking care of two babies is not an easy task. Puppy kisses and puppy days are the most beautiful part of having a dog, but they poop and pee all the time on the flip side. You can’t put diapers on them.
According to experts, a pup should be 90 days old before you bring them home. Even if you follow the rule, dogs take six to nine months to get house trained. Till then, it will be testing times for you and your family. You need to be extra careful about maintaining hygiene if you have a toddler or younger kids at home. Also, pups have sharper nails and teeth, they become blunter as they grow up, but you have to be super careful around kids.
3 Don’t be impulsive
We all think, plan, and then think some more before we start planning for a baby. One should put equal thought into bringing a dog into the family. Never ever get a dog on a whim. All claims have consequences. Your family might love it or hate it or later regret it. They will be able to voice their opinions, but your pup will never say a word. It is scientifically proven, once you bring a dog into your life, it imprints on you. You become his/her person. You will forever be his family.
4 Do you have the right set up for a dog?
Dogs need exercise, to be fed (irrespective of whether or your mood or a drunken night with friends or late nights at work). Your furry baby is waiting for you at home. He needs you for his survival because he is now domesticated. It’s imperative you evaluate if you have the right set up in place. How would you feel if you have to wait the whole day for someone to come and take you for pee or poop? Yikes!
You don’t want a hungry, bored, depressed, or cranky dog. Couches dug up, pillows were torn, poop/pee accidents are signs of a bored and hungry dog. A dog needs exercise and a good meal. Nobody wants nasty surprises after a long day at work. Ensure your dog has a food and exercise routine.
5 Adopt or buying?
Another major decision one needs to make is whether you want to adopt a pup or buy one from a legitimate breeder? I strongly recommend adopting and not shopping, but if you have your heart set on a particular breed, make sure you do a thorough background check on the breeder. We all animal lovers should make sure never to get a pup from a puppy mill, they might be easy on your pocket, but you can’t be a dog lover and encourage such trauma against these loving creatures.
Still, look out on Facebook adopting groups, pet adoption sites, and pounds before you make the decision of buying. Adoption is the best. Your favorite breed might be up for adoption.
6 Do you plan to move or put in your roots?
When we brought our first puppy 6 years back, we were all set to put our roots and settle down but life is full of surprises. We just didn’t transfer to a different state but a whole new country. I still remember everyone suggesting us to give away our pup. Till date when we tell people that sparky came with us from India, they are surprised. My experience has taught me it is important to realize where you are in your life and what are your ambitions.
One would think it is not such an important consideration but it is. As the world is shrinking by the day and we have to travel to different continents for our dream opportunities, it is an important factor. I did a detailed research about which airline to take and how to safely/comfortably transport my pup. Soon, I will share that experience as well.
7 Rescue dogs need extra care
You have a very special heart if you are rescuing a pup. The best happy endings are where a dog who has been through severe physical and emotional distress finds a forever home. But please ensure you have required skills to rehabilitate rescue dog or access to a suitable trainer.
8 Why do you want a dog in family?
Ask yourself why are you getting a dog? It’s not like a movie. Having a dog is not just about running in the sun, playing fetch and swimming in the ocean. It is all that and much more. Having a dog means irrespective of what’s going on in your life, it is your responsibility. A dog is a friend, a baby, a companion and most important of all a life-long COMMITMENT.
9 No one in family is allergic to pets
Nothing’s worse than bringing a dog in family and then have to give it away because someone is allergic. It is also better to ensure no one is allergic to a pet before you get one at home. In case, there is a new family member in the household and they have allergies, what is your back up plan for the pup?
10 How responsible are you as a person?
Every where on TV, radio, print and social media you will hear “Pet is not a gift”. Why people say that? Dogs are living, breathing beings, who think and feel. When you get a dog in family, it becomes his family too. You become part of his pack. So, before you get a dog ask yourself, are you responsible enough? Committed enough? Because you might decide to leave him after few months or years or when it gets old but a dog never leaves you.
Mum Mum Ma
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