Step Two: Time and Puppy
Research breeds before choosing a dog
Though you may have always dreamed of owning a poodle or a German shepherd, it's important to know what you're in for with each type of dog before you head to the shelter or breeder. For instance, it is critical that the breed matches your lifestyle.
Another issue is a breed's temperament. We fall in love with the form but don't always realize that temperaments can be extremely different; that is because often people think all dogs are the same and they just have different exteriors
In short, every breed has a personality of its own and knowing in advance what exactly that is could save you a lot of trouble down the road.
Can you afford to have a dog?
Take some time to consider the financial costs of dog-ownership: vet bills, food, and a pet deposit on your lease, as well as, potentially, professional training and a dog walker. These things add up. Call a local vet and find out the average costs of routine care: vaccines, check ups, heartworm pills, and spaying or neutering.
Be sure to think about emergencies, too-do you have a financial cushion that would allow you to pay for unexpected veterinary expenses? Puppies get sick and accidents happen that you can't predict. You don't want to end up in a situation in which you have to choose between caring for your dog and paying your rent.
Do you really want a puppy?
Puppies are super adorable, but they are also little monsters that require a ton of work and attention. If you don't have the time or energy to deal with housetraining or the natural hyperness of puppies, consider getting an adult dog. There are lots of sweet, low-key adult dogs in shelters that are looking for loving, permanent homes.
Getting a grown-up puppy can allow you to skip some of the hardest baby stages, while still having an awesome, devoted dog.
Do you have the time and availability for a puppy?
Puppies need a lot of attention, and-if you want house training to work-they need to be taken out regularly. If you work in an office for eight or nine hours a day, consider what you are going to do with your pet when you're gone. Will you be able to come home at lunch to take your dog for a short walk? If not, can you afford a dog walker?
Are you physically able and willing?
Most dogs, especially when they're young, need to be walked-a lot-for a number of reasons: Walking helps them burn energy and stay healthy, it gives them lots of time to train on the leash, and it gives them vital exposure to other people, other pets, weird smells and sights, and unexpected noises. Are you willing and able to spend a lot of time walking?
I'm not at all suggesting that people who physically can't walk their dogs shouldn't have pets, but it's important that you consider how you're going to give your dog exercise and exposure. Also think about the energy levels of different animals-if you are someone who doesn't like exercising or being outside, don't get a breed of dog that is known for high energy.
Conversely, if you want to take your dog on lots of 10-mile hikes, make sure you get a dog that's able to do that kind of work.
Puppies are about twenty times more difficult for the first 1-2 years than an adopted dog. If you don't spend the time, you'll pay in other ways (like lost shoes, noise complaints from neighbours, aggressive behaviour, and more). It will take multiple hours each day to train and exercise your puppy, but it will really pay off in the long run. You know those really cool dogs that happily wait outside of stores without a leash, or sit quietly at an outdoors restaurant even when other dogs are present? That didn't happen by accident.
Dogs take up a lot of time and energy. Yes, they are rewarding. But if you live alone and work twenty hours a day, then perhaps a dog is not the best choice for you. Hey, there are always those super-cool robot dogs.
If you are not often at home, and you really want a dog, you probably should invest in a dog walker. You'd probably be wise to choose a dog breed that isn't especially needy, too.
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