What you need to know before getting a dog.
Dog’s are such beautiful & loyal companions. They jump up and down and get excited when you arrive home and always want to be with you. They are a great excuse to fit more exercise into your life and to get kids outdoors to a local dog park or play on the beach. And they also come with the huge responsibility of looking after them emotionally, physically & financially – almost like another child.
Here is everything you need to know before getting a dog.
REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GETTING A DOG
REMEMBER WAKING IN THE NIGHT WITH YOUR NEWBORN BABY?
If you are looking at adopting a newborn puppy you best remember those nights with your newborn baby and having to get up several times a night!
Puppy’s are babies that have been removed from the warmth of their mother’s comfort and bed and they need a lot of attention and care.
You will be their new mother. This means you will need to need to take on all the motherly duties. This includes setting an alarm clock in the middle of the night to take your puppy outside to wee & poo (because they can’t hold their bladder too long as a baby); having a clock with a ticking sound under their bed to emulate their mother’s beating heart; and snuggling them with one of your shirts with your scent.
Puppies often cry out when they are left and need lots of love and attention, just as a newborn baby does. This is one of the most important things you need to know before getting a dog, especially a puppy.
TRAINING A PUPPY TAKES TIME
With the right training and time given, you can help your new family member adapt into your home with a bit more ease.
It means paying anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand (all up) to fully train your puppy to be toilet trained, to sit, walk on a lead well, and also learn to eat safely around children This takes time and commitment and each day you and your children will be required to practice the skills you have learnt in training and implement them with your dog.
It definitely helps to have a positive mindset to support you on this journey!
KNOWING WHAT BREED IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR FAMILY
Each dog breed comes with different challenges as well as amazing & exciting traits.
My Pomeranian for example is a crazy, fun, playful and beautiful small dog who we love dearly, but she is a huge yapper. She barks at people walking past our home, when she see’s a bird, at people mowing their lawns and, of course, whenever another dog barks.
It’s important that you take the time to research which dog breed would be a good fit for your family.
Keeping in mind:
- If you have a big backyard or a small one
- If your dog will be allowed inside
- Where they will sleep
- How much exercise they need
- If they yap
- Behavioural issues (including some breeds being more aggressive naturally)
- Any health issues they may end up having
Some dog breeds are much better around children based on temperament & size (little dogs could easily be injured by small children running around the home).
DOGS REQUIRE A LOT OF ATTENTION
Unlike cats, dogs do require a lot of attention and get bored when they are not stimulated which can lead to negative behaviours like constant barking, chewing up things around the home and digging-up garden beds.
When it comes to what you need to know before getting a dog, you will have to consider if you are home a lot, or if you are away from the home. If you are away from your home for the weekend or holidays on a regular basis you will need to organise someone to pet-sit your dog, or put them into a kennel which costs on average $25.00 a day. Plus, dogs need to have up-to-date kennel cough vaccinations in most kennels, which is another hundred or so dollars! The costs associated with putting our dog into a kennel have stopped us from going on holiday from time-to-time as it all adds up.
They will need to be played with daily and taken for walks, to dog parks and considered when doing anything in your home or away from the home.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GETTING A DOG WHEN YOU HAVE CHILDREN
We got our beautiful dog Layla as a puppy 8-years ago, pre-kids, and she was my fur baby, she got all my love and attention. When my girls were born, they become my primary focus, especially while they were babies.
For safety reasons, I chose to stop my dog from coming into the home. Layla is a small dog and as my girls have gotten older and now are both confident walkers, being age 2 and 4 years old, we have brought Layla back into the home. We made this decision for both the dog and baby’s safety.
As Layla was an outside dog (in the day) for the last few years we had to re-train her to wee and poo outside. We always have to be careful that the children don’t have food around her because dogs will bite and growl naturally and attack anything that tries to mess with their food. It has been hard to navigate and educate our young children around food and even their soft toys get eaten and used as chew toys!
Layla loves to settle in for the night and relax and my girls love to run around playing and often don’t notice Layla on the floor (she loves to lay in the worst spots… like the walkway!) She has a nice comfy bed and huge crate to retreat to – but always chooses to stay with us. She loves to live on the edge!
I’m constantly having to keep her safe from the kids and navigate times when she growls at the girls and scares the life out of them. Of course, the girls forget and two minutes later they are annoying her again!
REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GETTING A DOG (CONT.)
AS THE MOTHER YOU WILL BE WELL, THE MOTHER!
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that if you decide to get a dog that you will be the one who will be taking most of the responsibility of your new family addition. Financially, emotionally and physically.
It doesn’t matter what other people say, because let’s face it, children will promise the world to get what they want. Yet I am still the only person in the household who feeds our fish (and I didn’t want them in the first place!).
Make sure that you have space, patience and time to be able to fit another member to your family. While dogs are so loving, rewarding and fun, just like children they are a huge responsibility that can be with you for 20-years, which is even longer than some children staying at home.
Our pets deserve to be homed with the best intentions, a well thought out plan and a realistic idea of what being a pet owner is like. The last thing you want to happen is to realise that you have over committed and cannot care for this beautiful animal.
Lastly, it’s important to really understand why you want a pet and exactly what you can offer one. Don’t take on more than you can handle and always ensure you fit in some daily self care so you can not only look after yourself but look after everyone else.
Hopefully this article has given you a good idea of what you need to know before getting a dog. You might also like: The family pet: To buy or not to buy.
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