If you have always dreamed of adopting a dog and you are finally about to take the plunge read on. Becoming a pet owner is about more than just nurturing a young animal and training it to be viable as a pet in your home. You too need to be ready. Here are some top tips to help you consider your lifestyle and to prepare to let a young dog into your life and home.
Adopting a dog changes your life
You may have long dreamed of adopting a dog. Deciding to adopt a dog is exciting. It’s also a big decision that will require some major lifestyle changes.
If you are adopting a puppy then it is even more important that you prepare yourself and your home.
Here are five changes you’ll need to make to provide the right home for a dog.
Free up space on your calendar
You likely already know that any pet will be a time commitment. But, unless you luck out and get a fully-trained, senior rescue dog, you’re probably underestimating exactly how much time you’ll need to commit training your new furry friend. Whether you’re going down the rescue road or adopting a puppy from a reputable breeder, there’s going to be a substantial learning curve.
Rescue dogs often have behavioral problems, such as fear-aggression towards other dogs, or shyness and anxiety. Sometimes when you are adopting a dog from a shelter you may not realise the full extent of the problem. It is often only once you have been together for a while that you realise they need help and training. They may have never been properly trained to walk on a leash or obey commands. Puppies can be even more challenging, especially if you’ve never trained a dog before. You should expect your first three to six months to be spent following and applying puppy training tips. Make sure your schedule can accommodate this.
Be prepared to spend more time at home
Gone are the days when you’d meet your coworkers for drinks after work and take spontaneous weekend trips. While you may feel that you’re able to leave your dog alone for hours at a time, it isn’t fair to the animal. Unless you work from home, a 40-hour office-based work week away from your pet is already pushing it.
If you live in a large household and have family members who are willing to take turns taking care of your dog, you may have more flexibility. It’s important that you seriously consider your lifestyle to determine if a dog is a good fit.
Achieve financial security
Becoming a pet owner has certain responsibilities, not least financial. Your dog is going to cost you a lot more than you might think. In addition to all the food, toys, grooming costs, and other supplies, there will be regular vet appointments. It only takes a split second for your dog to eat something he shouldn’t have or lunge at a porcupine, requiring an expensive trip to the vet.
As your dog ages, you can expect more frequent trips to the vet, where your dog may be prescribed medication or therapy. While you can’t guarantee your financial future, set aside some money while your dog is still young to help with senior dog vet bills down the road. Adopting a dog carries real responsibilities.
Move into a pet-friendly place
Your living situation is a very important consideration when getting a dog. A large breed should have a backyard with lots of space to roam around, while smaller dogs are more suited to apartment living. If a backyard isn’t an option and you do want a larger breed, you need to be prepared to take your dog on frequent walks.
Living in an apartment has other restrictions. If you’re renting, make sure your apartment building is pet-friendly. If it’s not, you’ll have to find a new place. Websites like for-sale.com can help you filter through potential properties for a place that fits all your needs.
Get active before adopting a dog
It may seem obvious to some but perhaps not to others. You need to get active before adopting a dog. Though you may not be much of an outdoors person, even small dogs need to go on daily walks. Walks provide an opportunity to burn off energy, maintain your pet’s physical health, and stimulate their minds. If you’re set on a larger breed, be prepared to go on lengthy walks at least twice a day.
Not only will getting active benefit your dog’s health, but it’ll improve yours, too.