Before getting a new puppy, you need to know what you can realistically offer a dog. You also need to know what kind of dog will best suit your lifestyle. Here are 7 questions to ask yourself first.
1) What breed do I want? If you’re not sure, research breeds you are interested in. Consider temperament, energy level, size and any other factors that are important to you. Visit some breed-specific rescues to get a feel for the breed if you’re not familiar with it. Don’t forget that mixed-breed dogs make excellent pets and often have fewer health problems.
2) How much time do I have for exercising a new puppy? All dogs need daily walks. But some large breed dogs, like Greyhounds and Labrador Retrievers, are high-energy and will need much more exercise.
3) Do I have time for training? If you don’t have time for daily training on housebreaking, socialization and basic training, a puppy is not for you. A rescued adult dog that already has basic training might be a better fit.
4) How much space do I have for a big dog? Some big dogs like Newfoundlands are mellow in temperament and can handle living in an apartment or condo (with enough exercise, of course). High-energy dogs will need a yard to run.
5) Can I afford to have a dog? Big dogs need annual exams, vaccines, licensing, and lots of food. The first year also requires the puppy series of shots, spaying/neutering, and the cost of whatever the puppy chews that will be replaced.
6) How will my other pets respond? If your other pets are fine with dogs (this could be your cat just ignoring dogs) then that’s a good sign. An older dog in fragile health may not be able to deal with a new puppy, but healthy older dogs are often rejuvenated by their energy.
7) Who will be responsible for the dog? Decide ahead of time how responsibilities will be assigned. Who will walk, feed, clean up after, train and groom the dog? Are chores divided among household members? Will you take turns?
These questions will help you find a new puppy that fits your lifestyle and prepare you for the change that a puppy brings. If you’re ready and you know what you’re looking for, you can get to the exciting task of picking your new family member. Don’t forget that you can get a great companion by adopting a rescue dog.
Have fun getting a new puppy – and get your camera ready for lots of cute photos.
If you liked this, you might also like:
Does breed matter?
Good dog names - a top 20 list
5 common puppy training mistakes
Photo by basykes on Flickr and used with Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.