Dogs are known as a man’s best friend, and the right four-legged friend can provide companionship and joy for years. But there is plenty to consider before bringing home a new pet.
Behavioral issues are common, especially in puppies.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, common problems dogs can present include aggression, barking, destructive chewing, howling and biting.
New pet owners also must be prepared for damage to their carpet if a dog has problems with potty training.
Speaking of training, it is vital that an owner spends time training a new dog right away, so be prepared to devote some energy to teaching a dog simple commands like “sit” and “lie down.”
A PETA.org article says, “the key to having a happy dog is setting clear rules and boundaries. It’s important to guide new pups with positive rewards.”
PETA preaches patience, as well.
“Don’t ever lock them in a crate or yell at them for ‘misbehaving,’” the article states “That will just make them afraid of you. Dogs can’t possibly know how you want them to behave until you and your family teach them.”
The time commitment goes beyond training, as well.
PETMD’s list of “10 things to consider before bringing a new pet home” lists “Can you commit?” as the No. 1 question.
Dogs need to be walked multiple times a day, and owners should also find time to play and interact with their dog indoors, as well.
If someone does not feel they will be able to commit to giving their dog the requisite attention, PETMD suggest one “stop right here and consider a fish or a parakeet as a low-demand animal companion.”
Potential dog owners also need to be prepared for the financial investment that comes along with taking on a pet.
According to PETA, “when you’re responsible for a dog, you need to spend money on regular and emergency vet visits, bedding, a collar and harness, high-quality dog food, treats, toys, grooming … the list goes on.”
Those who have young children or other pets already in their home need to be especially careful when choosing a new dog.
It is important to research breeds to find the right one to fit the home situation and lifestyle, rather than just picking the cutest dog.
PETMD recommends asking a lot of questions from those who are adopting out the dog to make sure it is right. PETMD also suggests consulting with a veterinarian before purchasing a dog, both to get advice on the type of dog to bring home and to develop a relationship with a vet entrusted to care for the new pet.
Even if a pet owner takes all the right steps and brings home the right dog, don’t expect everything to swimmingly immediately. Both owner and new dog will have to get used to each other.
PETMD recommends that before bringing the dog home, an owner sets up a “quiet, enclosed space with a comfortable bed, or a kennel that can be closed.” Have a permanent spot prepared for the dog.
While dog adoptions have soared as many people have spent more time at home due to the pandemic, potential owners who will be home most of the day at first should be prepared for dogs to have separation anxiety if they do return to working outside the house.
The American Kennel Club suggests leaving the house without the dog every day to get it accustomed to being alone, and to train the dog to spend time in a crate or in a gated area of the house, where it will be safe to leave them when they will be alone for long periods of time.