What to Consider Before Adding a New Dog to the Family


 

Thinking of Adding a New Dog to the Family this Holiday Season?

 

The holidays are upon us, people are shopping for gifts for friends and family and one of the most common gifts each year is a new dog. If you’re considering adding a new dog to your family this holiday season read out tips below to help make sure you’re making a good, well thought out decisions. Dogs are a big commitment and you want to make sure you know what you’re up for and prepared before deciding on one as a holiday gift for your family.

 

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Examine Your Current Life Style:

jelly and kidsThere is a lot of responsibility that comes along with getting a dog. Take some time to examine your current life style to make sure that now is the right time to get a dog, especially if you’re considering a puppy.

 

  • What does your schedule look like? Is there somebody home enough to make sure the dog will be fed, let out for potty breaks, and walked regularly? Especially if you’re getting a puppy; remember puppies need to go out for potty breaks every couple hours. Will there be somebody home to let the puppy out? Are you willing to pay a dog walker to come over and let your puppy out if necessary?
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  • Do you currently have kids or plan to add kids to the family in the next few years? Both a new dog and kids take a lot of time and energy. If you have kids already are you able to balance taking care of the kids and the dog? We often hear parents say that the kids will be responsible for helping with the dogs… this rarely works out as planned. If you’re getting a dog don’t assume the kids will be reliable help, if you aren’t willing to take care of the dog yourself then now might not be a good time add a dog to the family. If you don’t have kids currently is there a possibility of kids in the future? A lot of dogs are given up when babies come into the picture. If the idea of having a baby and a dog at the same time seems like too much you might want to hold off on getting a dog.
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  • Where do you currently live? Are you in a small apartment or do you have a house with a yard? Is your yard fenced in or not? All things to consider when determining what size and breed of dog would be best for your lifestyle. For instance, if you live in a small 1-bedroom apartment you’re going to want to stay away from breeds like the Husky who are larger dogs and known for being extremely active and vocal. Your neighbors might not appreciate your Husky’s howling while you’re away at work and a walk around the block won’t be near enough exercise to satisfy your Husky. Also consider if there are breed or size restrictions where you live.
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    Your neighbors might not appreciate your Husky’s howling while you’re away at work and a walk around the block won’t be near enough exercise to satisfy your Husky.

     

  • Do you currently have any other pets? If you currently have a dog or another pet make sure to consider them when deciding if to add a new dog to the family. Some dogs and cats might not be thrilled with the new addition. Also if your current dog has behavior issues it’s best to address those and get those under control before adding a new dog. The new dog might pick up on some of the bad behaviors your current dog has.
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  • Does your budget allow for a dog? Dogs aren’t cheap especially puppies. Puppies will need several rounds of puppy shots every few weeks when they are young. Then if you plan to spay or neuter your puppy expect to be paying $100+ depending on their size. Quality dog food is also an added cost and the bigger the dog the more they eat. Grooming and training are added expenses to consider as well. Dog’s with high maintenance coats like poodle mixes need frequent brushing and frequent trips to the groomers which is a time and financial commitment. Price out how much a new dog will cost you and make sure you have room in your budget.
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    Determine What Breed of Dog is Best for You:

    Spend some time researching dog breeds and find one who’s characteristics fit your personality and life. Are you active and want a dog that can be active with you? Are you more of a homebody who wants a dog who is more than happy to chill at home and snuggle with you? Are there any particular dog sports or activities you want to be able to do with your dog such as agility trials, hunting, therapy dog work, etc? Finding a dog with characteristics that match your personality and lifestyle will go a long way to find the right dog for you.

     
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    Determine What Age of Dog Would Work Best for Your Family:

    how to train your puppy Adorable puppy faces are hard to resist but puppies also come with a lot of added responsibility. They need to be potty trained which means frequent potty breaks throughout the day as well as cleaning up accidents in the house. Added vet bills when they are young as well as added cost and time commitment for training. If you’re able to provide all of those things, then a puppy can be great addition to your family. If you want a dog but don’t have the extra time a puppy requires then getting a young adult dog or senior dog could be a better choice for you. Adult dogs are typically potty trained and may have already been through training in the past and may be up to date on their shots.

     
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    Determine Where to Get Your Dog From:

    When looking for a dog there are multiple options on where to get a dog from.

    1. You Can Get a Dog From a Breeder. If you plan to get a puppy from a breeder there are a few things you want to ask to make sure you’re getting a good quality puppy.

      • First visit the kennel or house where the puppies, is the place and puppies kept clean? Do the puppies look well fed and cared for or are there signs of illness?

     

      • Ask to meet one or both of the parent dogs. Check out the parent’s temperament as this will give you an idea of how your puppy may be when he/she grows up. If you aren’t allowed to meet any of the parent dog this can be a huge red flag.

     

      • Especially for larger breed dogs like Shepherds ask the breeder if they have the parent’s hips and elbows certified or if they have any other health certifications. A good breeder will take the necessary steps to show the dogs they are breeding are in good health. A good breeder should also be knowledge about health issues commonly seen in their breed and be able to inform you about them

     

      • A good breeder should also not let puppies leave for new home till 8 weeks. If a breeder is letting you take a puppy around 6 weeks or sooner that is a red flag. Spending their early weeks with their mom and litter mates is huge for their social development. Separating them from their litter mates too early could set them up for issues down the road

     

    2. If you plan to get your dog or puppy from a rescue or shelter here are a few things to consider and ask about

      • Rescue dogs (even puppies) often have unknown genetic backgrounds which means there could be health issues that you’re not aware of but could end up costing you big bucks in the long run. Unknown genetics means your dog could end up with hip dysplasia or tears in their ACL which are both costly surgeries to correct cost thousands of dollars.

     

      • An unknown background also means unknown temperament and behavior issues. Especially if you’re considering adopting a dog from a shelter you’re taking a chance. Shelters are very chaotic environments and most dogs don’t adjust well to living in such chaos. Once you bring a dog home and allow them to adjust for a few weeks then you’ll start to see a dog’s true colors and behavior issues you were unaware of may come out.

     

      • Get as much information as possible on a dog before adopting them. Beware that while there are some awesome rescues and shelters out there that have a dog’s best interest at heart and want to make sure every dog goes to a home that is a good fit for them, there are also rescue and shelters out there that are dishonest about a dog’s past or their issues. Some rescues and shelters are more concerned about pushing dogs into any home even if the home isn’t the best fit for the dog or the family. Take the time to meet the dog and spend time with them in person. If a dog doesn’t seem to be a good fit for your lifestyle don’t let anybody pressure you into adopting the dog.

     
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    Training is Key!

    puppy group classNo matter where you decide to get a dog from, the age or breed of your dog the best thing you can do to set yourself and your dog up for success is to sign up for training! Training will help you to address any manners or behavior issues you may come across while also helping you to build a bond and relationship with your dog. If you’re adding a new dog to your family, this holiday season check out our training programs. For all dogs we offer private lesson and board and train programs as well as group classes for puppies under 6 months old. We would love to set up an evaluation with you and your new dog to discuss what training options would be best for your family. Check out our website and fill out the form on the right hand side to get more information about our programs! http://www.joeylukesdogtraining.com/services

     

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