Saturday, February 18, 2006

So You Want To Get A Dog?

To the Chinese, this year is the Year of the Dog, but please Don't get a Dog just because this is the Year of the Dog.

A Dog is not a toy, it has life.

There are quite a few things to consider before jumping in and getting a puppy.

The first step in the journey towards dog ownership has nothing to do with a dog; it has to do with you.

It requires a long, in depth look at your life, your needs, and your plans for the next fifteen years or so of your life.

· The first question to ask is whether you have time for a dog. Dogs are pack animals, and once they join your pack, they will want to be with you all the time.

· Those who travel often, work long hours every day, or go dancing every night should opt for a less dependent pet.

· Even the most steel-hearted dog owner will regret leaving their dog alone; a lot of bad behavior including anxious chewing, excessive barking, and potty accidents are the result of jilted dogs who don’t get the attention they deserve.

Another consideration is cost. Caring for a dog, even a small, healthy one, is expensive.
In addition to food, biscuits, and toys, (which I can’t resist buying even when I’m broke), there are annual trips to the vet. You need to pay for a check-up with every visit, annual rabies and distemper shots, and medicine to ward off heartworm and fleas. If you plan to board your dog while you travel, kennels require dogs to have a kennel cough or Bordatella, vaccination, which means additional cost at the vet.

One of the most important things to think about is whether your living situation allows for a noisy member of the family. All dogs bark, with the exception of the African Bisenji. They bark when they are happy, distressed, playful, angry, or lonely.
After a few months with your dog, you probably won’t mind a bit—but your neighbors may. Be sure that your neighbors and family members can tolerate your new friend’s communication style, especially if you live in an apartment.

After all is said and done, adding a puppy is a wonderful experience. I joke that it was a choice between having a baby and bringing a puppy home and I chose the second.
In reality, puppies take the same amount of energy to train as raising a child. If you plan to have children, try and get a puppy that gets along well with children. Tymmie and Cocoa LOVE children and will play and protect for hours!

No comments: