- A decision to get a dog comes with a lot of responsibility.
If you order a pair of shoes that is not your size, you can easily return it, usually with just a few clicks of a mouse. This is not what happens when you get a pet, which is why you need to think thoroughly about getting one before you go look at puppies.
- After you get a dog, it will need a lot of care.
Dogs need not only a bed to sleep. They need coat care, food, preventive medical treatments, exercise and more.
- Dogs come with financial expenses
Dog love is love that money can buy, but the expenses don’t end when you bring a puppy home. They are just starting. A dog of a medium size can easily cost around $1,000 a year is food and toys expenses alone, not counting visits to a vet, where an average bill will run about $200 for a visit.
- If you are not sure whether you are making a good decision, you can always rent a dog.
You most likely have friends or neighbors who have dogs. They will be glad to give you their pet when they go away for a long weekend or on a vacation. Having a dog for a few days or few weeks can let you experience what it feels to be a dog owner without making long-term commitment.
- Deciding on getting a dog is only the beginning of your decisions.
Should you get a male dog or a female one? What size of a dog? Pure breed or mixed? What breed? A puppy or an adult dog? You may be thinking that once you decide that you really want a dog, your decisions are over, but in reality you are just in the beginning of a long process that requires a lot of work and research.
- Getting a puppy means a lot of work.
Puppies need a lot of attention, training and socialization. If you fail to train a puppy, you may end up with a dog that has very poor behaviors. Housetraining a puppy is also very time-consuming.
- Getting an adult dog comes with its own pros and cons.
On the one hand, you will get a pet that is housetrained, versed in basic training and probably more laid back than a puppy. On the other hand, you may have difficulty bonding with an adult dog or get a pet with bad habits that are hard to undo.
- Different breeds have different temperaments.
The mix that you will often see in shelters typically has some sporting breed in it, such as Retriever or German pointer. These breeds are very high energy. People get a puppy expecting it to become laid-back and instead they get a 75-pound dog with a lot of energy. Do your homework about the breeds before you decide on one.
- Just like people, dogs today live longer lives.
The smaller the breed, the longer it will live. A small dog can easily live 13-15 years. Medium dogs live 11-13 years, large ones for 10-12.
- A dog as a Christmas gift is not a good idea.
Dog trainers and veterinarians all agree that Christmas morning is not the time to introduce a puppy to the family. A dog is not simply a gift. It needs a lot of attention and care, which you may not be able to provide during a busy holiday season.