Four Things to Consider Before Becoming a Pet Parent
Being a responsible pet owner, or “Pet Parent” as many are becoming accustomed to calling it, is something I’ve never had to think about. I guess it comes from the way I was raised to treat my dogs. My parents have had dogs since, well, before I was born. They were always inside dogs. They went to the vet when they were sick. They were treated like…family. I find it hard to believe people are able to not treat their dogs like family but know it happens every day.
It raises the question; why some and not all? As in, why do some people take their dogs everywhere as if they are toddlers, and some get a dog house out in the yard and, come rain or shine, that’s the only home they have?
I feel like it has a lot to do with how the adoption begins. Planning and actually thinking about what kind of dog is good for your lifestyle goes a long way.
The four most important things to consider before becoming a pet parent:
What Are Your Boundaries? – Weight, size, and breed limitations are, unfortunately, a common thing in today’s world, especially for renters. Find out what your restrictions are before looking at any dogs. It is also important go give special considerations to things like: energy level, temperament, ability to be trained, special needs, etc. All of these items and your ability to work them into your daily life make a huge difference when adopting a dog.
Why Do You Want a Dog? – Every type of dog was bred with different characteristics and purposes in mind. It is important to give consideration to the reason you want a dog when choosing a breed. For example, if you want a guard dog, don’t adopt a Labrador Retriever or if you want a lap dog, don’t adopt an Australian Shepherd. When dogs are placed in environments that are not conducive to their instinctual purpose the repercussions can be dire.
What Is Your Schedule Like? – Dogs need attention at many points in the day. It is not OK to expect your dog to be at home alone if you work on average 9+ hours / day unless you’ve made special arrangements. My fiancé and I work slightly different schedules and he regularly works from home. If we ever know we won’t be home for 8+ hours in a day, we take the dogs to my parents’ house to play or have someone stop by to let them out mid-day.
Can You Handle a Puppy? – Everyone always tends to want a puppy when they go to a rescue or breeder. While puppies are super-cute, they are a lot of work and can cause a lot of damage as they grow up if you don’t know how to handle and train one properly. Think of them as furry 3-month-old children, they don’t know anything, especially not where to go to the bathroom. If you are a first time dog owner, you may be better off adopting a dog that is already trained and house broken.
The Bottom Line: THINK FIRST – Dog ownership is not something to go into on a whim. Owning a dog is a long-term emotional and financial commitment. Before deciding that any dog is right for you, take an honest look at to whether or not your life is right for a dog.
Bonus: The AKC has a list of 101 suggestions to consider before becoming a Pet Parent.http://www.akc.org/public_education/responsible_dog_owner.cfm
Photo by: Katie@!
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