Maybe you have been thinking about getting a dog for some time and wondering would I be a good dog owner; perhaps it is as a result of a promise made to a family member; it could even be that Pet Shelter adverts online or on TV have tugged at your heartstrings.
There is so much planning needed; way beyond just making your yard is secure, of that you have bought it a bed, lead, collar, food and water bowls etc.
It is a huge responsibility and commitment (for many years to come) when brining a new dog into your home. You want your dog to be healthy and happy, and that means:
- Feeding them right with a balanced diet and not too many treats
- Giving them daily exercise
- Making them feel safe with somewhere to play, sleep, shelter and use as a toilet
- That you give them appropriate training
- That you make sure they get regular veterinary care; including appropriate vaccinations, checkups and de-sexing if you are not planning to breed them.
The purpose of this blog is too answer the question would i be a good dog owner and to highlight all the things you need to plan, so that not just you are ready for a dog; but the entire family has to be ready; and, that a dog is ready for you and your family too.
Asking would I be a good dog owner while navigating the emotional side of the decision-making process
We have all probably witnessed or experienced a pleading child that is desperate to have a Puppy/Dog; in many cases in some way as a “pretend” baby.
However, we tend to overlook a similar behavior that sometimes arises in a relationship, where one of the partners is wanting a puppy/dog; but as a “practice” baby.
There needs to be a far greater research with dog ownership statistics 2020, assessment and decision-making process in getting a dog than those types of emotionally fueled examples.
With children their pleading can be caused by things such as the association that they make in their minds with dogs on TV, Movies, Social media, etc.
It can also be because of peer pressure, or in some cases by their attempts to manipulate a parent or grandparent into buying them a dog.
With a partner wanting a dog it is equally as difficult a purchase decision to make because you need to assess if your own relationship is actually at that stage yet when bringing a new dog into your home. After all, what happens to the dog (who gets it) if you are not really ready to commit fully as life partners.
Whatever the human make-up of your family unit the decision-making process needs to table and discuss various aspects of bringing a dog into the household, such as:
– Who is going to walk the dog every day?
– Who will feed the dog; and included in that, will be using store bought food or making your own?
– Grooming takes a lot of time, especially if you choose a long-haired breed; you need to know who will doing that task each day.
– Who will wash the dogs bedding?
– Who will help clean any dog hair off the floor or furniture?
– Who will clean up the dog poo in the yard?
– Will one family member be responsible for training, or will that be shared
– Would i be a good dog owner if I purchased professional dog training classes?
Sharing all of those responsibilities can be a great thing. You may have even taken a would you be a good dog owner quiz to really find out would i make a good dog owner.
It could be a case of each person being responsible to particular task(s), or it could work to have a roster so that each family member learns all of the responsibilities, as well understanding how much effort each family member is contributing to better understand the question of would i be a good dog owner.
You should bear in mind the expected life span for your dog; small dogs can often live until 15+ years, whereas a large dog may only be in the 8-10-year range.
In a family situation the dog may be considered to belong more to one child than other family members for example.
What happens when that family member matures and wants to fly the nest, such as to University, Overseas, or to a different location for work?
These things need to be discussed and agreed, as way too often the dog can be left with the parents to look after.
So, you have decided to get a puppy
We have left the discussion on cost until a later section as we have been covering your question about would I be a good dog owner.
However, what do you call a dog owner? For the current section we are going to look at the selection process and include all those extra duties and responsibilities that come with getting a puppy.
After all, it is like bringing home a human baby in that you don’t share a common language, so communication is difficult; they want lots of sleep, food, attention and toilet breaks; all of which can go day and night.
If you have a cat already, you may need to research how to introduce a cat to a puppy.
Are you considering a breed/cross-breed when bringing a new dog into your home?
You may already have decided what is the right dog for your family, or you may need a few helping hints, such as:
If you are looking at a particular breed of puppy see if you can see both parents to gauge what your dog should end up looking like. A photo may be all they can provide which is riskier and no guarantee of being accurate.
If the dog is supposed to be a particular breed and may also be a pedigree make sure that the breeders are registered and that all the health records and bloodline details are available to be given to you on purchase.
Was any form of pre-breeding done with the parents to check for possible particular health issues?
This may include health insurance, so make sure you ask those questions.
What ever breed the dog is always check health risks of that breed online.
Each breed has health implications such as hip displacement, jaw issues, teeth issues, eye conditions, ear issues, skin conditions, allergies, etc. and you want to know the potential risks in advance.
Love it or hate it, but the internet can be a great source of information, especially if you search using legitimate sites like the RSPCA, Dog Clubs, Registered Breed Clubs or WIKI.
The internet can also bring up biased or information of a lesser quality about would i be a good dog owner.
Forums can sometimes be varied in the quality of information and in addition, just make sure you are aware if a site is sponsored or linked to sites such as Pet Food companies, Dog Pharmaceutical companies etc.
Perhaps you are not looking at a particular breed when bringing a new dog into your home.
This happens a lot when people are looking at animals at a Pet Shelter or a Pet Shop.
In those situations, it is not uncommon for people to “buy with their eyes” or be swayed by the emotional “caught in the moment” response within you but there are no set rules for dog owners.
Those things are not necessarily bad per se, but you still need to do all the checks on health and breed that we have listed above.
Your preferred dog breed may actually be something quite different such as based on size; Small, Medium or Large.
Depending on the breed mix you still need to research what you can related to health, temperament, etc.
Just make sure you do as much research on parentage as possible; many a person has been told their dog was a particular size/breed (such as a cute and cuddly small dog), only to find their dog is a completely different size when full grown.
One potential sign could be paw size when young; with a smallish puppy having very big feet probably indicates you are going to end up with a larger dog.
There is a massive trend in recent years for “Designer Pooches”; some of it driven by celebrity (i.e., Paris Hilton), or in movies (i.e., Reese Wetherspoons character in Legally Blonde), or just because they look cute, or for the non-allergy plus that goes with Poodles or many of the Poodle crossbreeds that are available.
Once again, check all of those hints above; particularly relating to parentage and health. You can even search how to be a good dog owner Reddit.
Dog behavior and temperament are important
Observing what you can about a dog’s behavior is important but within the limits of your experience or training of course.
You are not expected to be a Dog Psychologist but there will be certain behavioral traits that you can pick up; both good and not so good. Here are a few examples:
- Does the animal have bright, alive looking eyes?
- If the dog is with others when you view it, how does your potential dog interact with the others? Is it aggressive, passive, dominant, relaxed, over excitable, playful, etc.?
- Does the dog respond when you talk to it, or does it try to hide, look timid, frightened, growl, or cower? If looking at an older dog this may indicate some behavioral problem or possible previous mistreatment.
- If more than one family member is present, how does the dog behave towards different people.
Would I be a good dog owner? Is my home, yard and neighbourhood ready for a dog?
See our earlier Blog “Dog Friendly Backyard Landscaping Ideas” where we go into detail about how to make your yard work for both your dog and the humans that make up your family unit.
In particular you need key zones for the humans to have outdoor meals and living space, play space for children, resting areas (such as under a tree), full fencing to keep the dog in and others out of the yard, and a separate area inaccessible from the dog if you intend to have a fruit, herb and vegetable garden and/or a Chicken Coop.
You dog needs areas for playing, resting, digging, feeding and a toilet area set up in a triangle, to create the different zones.
Plant selection is important because you need to make sure that there are no plants (entire or just certain parts) that are toxic to your pet.
Toxicity is also something you have to be conscious of when using and/or storing fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. If you are reading this thinking would i be a good dog owner then the safety of your backyard is a good place to start.
You don’t want residual chemicals or compounds on any plant or object within the area used by the dog, or within easy reach should they get into an adjoining area.
Things like rate/mouse poisons, slug and snail baits etc. are sometimes shaped and colored like certain dog dry food.
Therefore, these products should not be used in the same area as the dog and their storage needs to be somewhere safe and secure well outside the dog’s reach.
Inside of your home also needs to have that same level of thought and care applied to it.
The dog also needs to be supervised when inside so that it knows that you are the boss.
You need to be prepared to say “No” when bad behavior is exhibited.
Make sure that the dog cannot chew through electrical cords, furniture, rugs, shoes, bedding, etc.
They need to have two bowls inside and another two bowls.
In each case there needs to be a bowl of water so that the dog always has somewhere to drink from and to minimize dehydration.
The second bowl in each location needs to be left empty and depending on whether at the next meal you are going to feed them inside or outside you need to only put that food out at the actual meal time.
Bedding is important and that may also mean getting a separate dog bed for inside and outside depending on whether your dog is going to be an “outside” dog or an “inside/outside” dog.
Selection of the right type of bed is essential; you need to consider the age and size of your dog; whether they already have health concerns or their breed may be susceptible to particular health concerns and need a different bed because of it.
Some dogs fret, or feel the cold or the heat more than other breeds, therefore you need to look at beds that offer your dog the appropriate comfort and emotional security.
From a hygiene and maintenance perspective the bedding needs to be able to cleaned easily and regularly, so removable covers are a wise choice when bringing a new dog into your home.
As your dog grows or requires that extra bit of support look for bedding that has easy access for you to add extra filling.
If your dog is going to spend a lot of time inside, such as a young puppy, or as an old dog, or if your residence dictates that (apartment living for example), you need to make sure that you have some sort of toilet for them.
This could be “puppy pads” or litter trays which should be essentials in any basic dog owners rights and responsibilities guide.
You may need to install baby gates, and cupboard door locks as you would with a human toddler, so that you can keep your dog in, or out of specific areas of your home.
Any dog that is left alone can soon become bored and this often leads to barking out of sheer boredom. It can be a good idea to leave some fun toys and puzzles in both your home and backyard to keep your dog occupied while you’re away from home.
Keep toys in a box and alternate them each day.
Your dog will need a regular bath, so make sure you get appropriate products and a selection of old towels for drying them off afterwards.
When purchasing products such as dog wash/shampoo buy a small bottle to start with and try it out in a few small places on your dog, just to make sure they don’t have a reaction to them.
Depending on the breed of dog and their type of coat this will dictate how much brushing and combing you will need to do.
This may also be done in conjunction with checking for ticks and/or fleas and the appropriate products that may be required for those processes.
Clipping your dog’s nails is also important and often best left to have done at the Vet Clinic.
Introducing your dog to your neighborhood is important and usually done as a part of the walking process. Remember that some dogs like to walk more than others and generally need a couple of walks daily; anywhere from 30-mins to 60-mins for each walk.
Make sure that your dog has an appropriate collar, lead, designer dog bed, harness and muzzle (if needed). They need to be practical and safe above all else, although that is not to say that you can’t have some fun in the form of novelty or colorful items.
Because the walk can also be a good time to introduce and reinforce positive training always make sure that you have some small treats with you.
Being a responsible dog owner means that taking Poo Bags with you each time you walk is a must. Depending on where you live there are usually dispensers and rubbish bins in many local parks, or even at entry/exit points on dog walk approved beaches.
4: The cost to buy the right dog
The cheapest way of purchasing a dog is often off the internet through sites like GumTree.
It can also be the most risk too, especially if you don’t have all the health details, vaccination papers or know about dog ownership laws, etc.
It’s also not worth considering the heartache if it turns out the dog has been stolen and being offloaded quickly, so that the advert could already be taken down and the dog sold before the rightful owner has reported it stolen/missing.
Let the buyer beware.
From a feelgood perspective rehousing a dog from an animal shelter is become increasingly popular as an option of bringing a new dog into your home.
What many people don’t understand is that such a purchase can still be upwards of $400 after you get a dog ownership transfer form.
However, prices can vary particularly for an older dog that could be more difficult to rehouse.
You also need to be aware of how much you get for your purchase through an animal shelter; things such as a medical and dental check, vaccinations, usually they are microchipped and de-sexed.
There is a lot of value included in that initial purchase amount.
Buying a puppy from a registered breeder is very much the sky’s the limit when it comes to cost and dog ownership paperwork; it can be anywhere from $800+ into several thousands of dollars depending on the breed.
You need to factor all of those things when selecting what sort of pet you are after and answering the question yourself about would i be a good dog owner.
Pet insurance can be a very worthwhile expense when you consider your pet’s welfare, purchase amount and the cost of professional treatment when your pet’s health is on the line.
We don’t want to put you off from making that purchase of a beautiful pet dog to join your family.
The purpose of this Blog is to gently remind readers that it can be very easy to become emotionally seduced by the gorgeous pics and video clips we see on TV, print media or the internet via the various social media platforms.
However, real life isn’t always like these various avenues and it can be well worth the expense of time to look at all the reasons why you want a dog and how you can all fit in with each other.
It is also important to remember that all human members of the household should be involved in the selection process as well as the day to day responsibilities and enjoyment that come with dog ownership.