So you’re thinking about getting a dog? Dogs are truly man’s best friend – very loving and loyal, however there are some things you should ask yourself and take into consideration before making this huge decision.

1) How long will the dog be alone?

This is probably one of the most important things to ask yourself. Dogs are very social beings and aren’t meant to be alone for long periods of time. Sure they can sit home for 9 hours but boredom will surely set in and that is often a recipe for disaster (i.e. destruction/chewing of your belongings). If you are gone for long periods of time, consider a friend or dog walker to come by and break the day up for your pooch. It will give them a chance to go to the bathroom and burn off some steam.
If you’re someone that’s gone for very long periods of time on a regular basis, skip the dog and get a stuffed one.

2) What breed of dog suits your lifestyle/surroundings?
When choosing a dog, it’s important to take into consideration the type of person you are, where you live, etc. If you’re a fairly active person who wants a dog to accompany you on adventures, then consider a sporting breed. If you’re more sedentary, then consider a toy breed or any non-sporting breed.
Aside from just your lifestyle, you should take into account where you live. If you’re deep in an urban area without much green space, a working or sporting breed might not be ideal. Do you live in a tiny apartment? This should be accounted for as well. A Great Dane won’t be happy in a closet-sized space.
If you’re out in the country with acres of land, you can definitely choose from a wider selection of breeds.

3) Can you afford the on-going cost of having a dog?
When people get a dog, they sometimes don’t take into consideration that dogs cost more than just food and poop bags. Dogs need annual visits to the vet, shots, and sometimes they get very sick and need more than just the basics.
There’s also boarding to consider. Do you enjoy going on vacation? Well you will need to find a place for your dog to stay while you’re away and it likely won’t be free.

4) Do you have time (and potential money) to devote to training your dog?
Whether you’re adopting a dog or getting a puppy from a breeder, your dog will require some basic training. Training of any kind will take lots of time, repetition and patience. If your dog develops an unruly habit that requires a professional’s assistance, it can be costly as well as time-consuming.

5) Are there other pets in the home or children to think about when getting a new dog?
If you have pets or kids already at home, getting a dog doesn’t always work out for the best. The existing pets could be jealous or territorial, the kids might be too young, etc. You only want to bring a new dog home if it will be peaceful for all. Consider seeking professional help to help make the transition better for everyone involved.

6) Lastly, is your lifestyle is stable enough for the long-term commitment of a dog.
A dog is not for 6 months or a year. Depending on the breed, a dog can live anywhere from 8-18 years and ideally they will only have one home in their lifetime. Consider getting a dog only when your life and career are stable and you’re ready to commit the next decade or so to your dog.

Tonia
Tonia has owned her own dog walking company and been a full-time professional dogwalker for over 4 years. She is a member of Pet Sitters International and the Pet Professional Guild (the Association for Force-Free Pet Professionals). She volunteers weekly at a local dog shelter where she gets to feed and spend time with many furry friends.
She started Dogwalker World to share her knowledge and passion about dogs and their natural instinct to walk and explore. She believes (and knows) that walking your dog can be a fun activity that will only strengthen your bond with them. This website is her dedication to you to ensure that you find the tools and advice necessary to make walking your dog a success!

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