Remember the campaign slogan, “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas”. We think that should be extended to cover other things people forget when impulsively jumping into getting a dog. A dog gives a lot, but also takes, for example.
There are other problems new dog-owners forget, however. Like how a dog isn’t going to adapt to your life, and to force them to is just cruel. How training is important to the development of a dog, and takes active work from you. All of this and more we’re covering in this little guide. Take a look to make sure you really know what you’re getting into.
Going for what you want over what is compatible
Choosing what dog breed you want is really dictated by your lifestyle. You might want the massive Golden Labrador that would make a great cuddle buddy, but if you’ve only got the time for a walk around the block a day, or you live in an apartment, you’d be best going with something a lot smaller.
Deciding what breed or cross breed you go with really comes down to what can fit in your lifestyle. Do you have kids? Other pets? A garden? A lot of energy? These are the things you need to think about more than whether that French bulldog would look cute in your purse. You can find detailed blogs on what each breed’s temperament is suited to online, so narrow them down based on what you can offer the dog, rather than what the dog can offer you.
Underestimating the cost
Getting a pet is no cheap endeavour and depending on how you go about it you could have a big upfront cost on top of the ongoing basic costs of housing and feeding a pet. With dogs, for example, there is the option to pick up a rescue pup at the local shelter, or spend hundreds, sometimes thousands, on a purebred.
Added to that is the vet bills. Your dog will need a lot of up-front procedures while visiting the vet, like microchipping and vaccines, but if, God forbid, something more serious were to need the vet’s attention, not only is your dog in trouble, but your wallet too. If you get dog insurance with lifetime cover, you won’t have to worry about any surprise bills for the entirety of your dog’s life. Getting dog insurance might seem like another monthly expense in the moment, but it will pay off when your dog gets ill and you find you can do something about it and still make rent this month.
Skipping the crate training
When you bring your dog home for the first time, it’s important to have a crate handy. It is supposed to develop into your dog’s safe space, but when they’re scared and left alone with the optics of being locked up in a miniature jail cell, it’s easy to cave in and have them sleep with you. Whether they’re on the bed or sofa or in their own space, they know you’re nearby and that comforts them. This isn’t a good thing. Skipping on the crate training creates anxious dogs with separation anxiety. Suddenly you have a pup that can’t be left alone while you take a shower, never mind going to work.
The crate is supposed to be their safe space, so make it so with plenty of blankets, toys, water, and something that smells like you, like a piece of clothing, so that they know you’re nearby. Eventually, as you keep coming back and letting them out, they’ll get the hint.