Everyone knows the feeling, you’re scrolling through Instagram or Twitter and you come across a cute picture of your friend’s puppy or or an article someone shared about the reasons why having a dog is good for your health. This leads to the google searches, first for more cute pictures, then for breeders or pet shops close to you. For some people, this leads to a spur of the moment decision to buy a dog, but if this describes you, or if it doesn’t, here are some questions to ask yourself before you rush into getting a dog to ensure you and your dog are the right fit for each other.
1. Are you financially stable enough to own a dog?
- Owning a dog costs a lot, from food to medical expenses. You will likely spend 2x the amount you paid for the dog in the first two years alone. You have to be willing to spend a lot of money and not be stingy when it comes to your puppy. You should be self-sufficient with a reliable source of disposable income.
2. Do you have enough time to devote to your dog?
- Dogs need love and affection and lots of training so if you don’t have the time to be with your dog, you might want to hold off for a bit. Being away from your dog for long periods of time is also incredibly dangerous to your dog’s mental and physical health. note: you should never leave your dog with a sitter or kennel for longer than a day during the first 18-24 months of his or her life
3. Is your home safe enough to raise a dog?
- There are many places online that have step-by-step tutorials to make sure your home is puppy proof. Your apartment has to have all the right equipment and safety checks in order for your dog to lead a happy and healthy life.
4. Is your neighborhood OK with you owning this dog?
- This applies more for apartment owners, but there are some neighborhoods that do not allow people to own certain types of dogs.
5. Is your place big enough to have a dog?
- For example, Labradors need lots of exercise and room to run and play; living in an apartment in a city might not be the best place for them.
6. Are you old enough to have a dog?
- This also goes along with having enough money and time, but you need to be mature and in a stable place for you to be able to raise a dog. The dog needs to be able to see you as an alpha that is in control. A lot of people make the mistake in college of tasting their newfound freedom and thinking they are old enough to take care of a dog, even with their classes and extracurricular activities.
7. Are you patient enough to own a dog?
- Dogs never are immediately those obedient, well-behaved dogs we see online. The amount of patience that those people put into training their dog is astronomical. If you are the kind of person to give up on something quickly, or go through fads, maybe owning a dog isn’t right for you.
8. Are you responsible enough to own a dog?
- A lot of people think that if they get a dog, it will give automatically give them these qualities. You have to be extremely responsible because this is another life that is depending on you for survival. Your dog is not something you can forget about or push aside when it is convenient for you. Take a look at your other commitments to see if you have what it takes to be truly committed to your dog’s life. I. E. Do you attend all of your classes on time? Do you get your homework done?
9. Do you have children or other pets?
- This is important because if you are getting a territorial dog, they might not be so keen on sharing the spotlight. You have to make sure that whatever type of pet you’re getting (not just dogs) are going to get along with the other members of your household?
10. Do you want a dog for the right reasons?
- Firstly, if you find yourself in the situation I described above, DO NOT BUY A DOG. Buying a dog should never be an impulse decision. Think about the reason you really want a dog. If it’s just because it is cute or it will help you get attention, i repeat, DO NOT BUY A DOG. A dog is a 10+ year commitment. He may not be your whole world , but to him, you are his whole life. All he will know is you. A dog should be a commitment to a life-long friend, to whom you are willing to make sacrifices.
These are some really hard questions, but you need to ask them before you take a dog into your home. If you are unsure, start off with something small, like a beta fish. Heck that’s what I’m doing right now (Craig is going on five months of being the ruler of his aquarium castle). Buying a dog is a big decision, one that should have a lot of thought and time placed into it.