Guilty. We could spend all day looking at puppy videos on Facebook, or playing with our friend’s dog. It’s the best way to procrastinate. But what do you need to consider before getting a dog of your own?
Here are some things to consider before getting a dog:
Can you commit?
A dog is for life, not for Christmas. Remember that ad? Can you give a pooch your full attention alongside all of the other stuff you have going on?
- Think about early morning, or late night walks (in the rain!)
- Play time is as important as the cwtching* up time. Even if you’re wrecked after work!
- Holidays – who’s going to look after your pet?
*Cwtch is a top Welsh term, it’s like a hug but better
Which dog suits you?
Dogs obviously come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s important you think about what breed suits you/your lifestyle. If you have others at home (including kids) then you need to consider fit over anything else. Also, does anyone have a dog allergy? A new furry friend may make things difficult if so.
A Newfoundland in a small City flat isn’t going to work very well. A breed that needs lots of attention isn’t going to enjoy being alone.
There are some great guides (like this one from the PDSA) to help you to find a breed that would be a perfect fit for your family.
- Where is your dog from?
- Is it a responsible breeder?
- Adoption/shelter facility?
- A friend?
- A randomer from Gumtree?
Do your homework wherever you are getting a pet from. Don’t meet by the side of a road and see the parents of the dog wherever possible.
Charities and rehoming shelters are a great way to give a dog a second chance. Those cute puppies are not the only option. Every dog needs a loving home.
Regardless of where they are coming from, make sure they are well looked after, and ready to leave their mum. Remember things like microchipping and vaccines.
Where are they going to live?
Sure most dogs live indoors, but where exactly in your home? Put some thoughts around any adjustments to your current living space.
- Will they have their own room?
- Where will they sleep?
- Do you need to make any changes to your home? Think about fencing and stair gates etc.
- What about outdoors, is there a safe space for them to use?
So you have decided on which pooch is best for you, what happens next?
What do you need when they come home?
There are some universal things that you will need whenever you bring a dog home. Puppies will need more toys and stimulation than an older dog may.
Bring a blanket or similar from their previous home whenever possible. Top tip – leave a blanket with the owner (before you pick the pooch up) so that the dog gets used to your smell, and can bring the scent from their old home with them.
Make sure you have:
- A comfy bed
- A dog crate can be useful, many breeds like the feeling of being enclosed
- Toys – find all manner online and in your local pet shop. Remember the essentials, like chew toys and balls
- Food – get the right product depending on the age of the do
- Puppy pads – for those accidents that happen
Get to know each other
There will be tears and worries. And that’s just from you.
Give yourself and your new family member some time to get used to each other. Your pooch will want to get to know their new environment. Let them sniff around and feel at home.
Show them where their new toilet spots are, where the food will be, and where their bed is.
A brilliant relationship won’t come overnight, but your dog needs your patience and commitment to thrive. Yes both sides will make mistakes, some shoes will be chewed and some cross words said. But patience is key, you are all he/she has.
If you can give this love and patience, you will get a lifelong friend in return.
I’d love to hear about your dog/s, tell us about them in the Comments!