Are you planning to get a dog? The idea of adopting or buying a dog is really exciting, but most of us forget to plan what we will do after that. Here are the 9 most important things you should discuss before you get a dog.
1. What Energy Level Do You Need Your Dog to Have?
You need to choose a dog based on how much energy you can handle. Large breed dogs like the retrievers have more energy. Hence, they will need more play and walk to reduce their anxiety. On the other hand, small dog breeds need less exercise, which means they are better for inactive people or live in an apartment. People who want to get the most preferred retriever dog breed should refrain from it if you cannot give them enough exercise. If you still want a breed similar to that, you can go for a mini Goldendoodle, a small dog breed with the goofy traits of a Golden Retriever.
2. What are Your House Rules?
Every household has different rules to be followed. You cannot get a dog and decide what rules you would like your dog to follow. The things you allow them to do from the beginning are something they will get used to. It is tough to change habits later on. Better to decide what is allowed and what is not. For example, think beforehand if you will allow your dog to climb on your furniture. If yes, then it is ok but if you do not want that, discourage that behavior. Similarly, you should not let your dog go inside the kitchen, hence add a barrier to put that into practice.
3. What is the Punishment for Bad Behavior?
We do not encourage any physical form of punishment, but you should definitely think about handling bad behavior. Dogs have a short association span; hence you need to act immediately if the dog does not behave well. You can simply withdraw your attention which the dog will not like. You can also introduce a word or a phrase that represents you are unhappy with what the dog has done. Whatever you decide, stay consistent with your technique to disciple your dog.
4. Where Will Your Dog Sleep?
The dog needs its own place where the dog feels comfortable. The dog will get associated with the space, hence decide it before you get the dog. Changing places will make them uncomfortable. This will be their spot. Hence, it should have a dog bed, crate, or a playpen where the dog will retreat when it feels like.
5. What Time Do You Plan on Feeding Your Dog?
Dogs prefer to follow a schedule. You should maintain their time of eating and sleeping. Decide beforehand based on your convenience when you want to feed the dog. You will obviously have to consult a vet as the number of times you will be feeding the dog will change as the puppy grows. By 6 months, you can feed the dog 2-3 times a day based on your preference. If you have the time, make it three meals per day. If you are working the entire day, divide the quantity of food twice with a gap of 12 hours between the meal.
6. What Will your Dog Eat?
You need to plan what you will be feeding the dog. Do you want to feed it kibbles, cooked meals, or keep the dog on a raw diet. This is a personal choice, but you should ensure that you provide the dog with a balanced meal based on their age.
7. What kind of Potty Training Do You Plan to Give?
This sounds to be simple, but it is not. Usually, people teach their dogs to go out of the house when they need to do their business. This works when you live in a house with a backyard. But if you are living in an apartment, then it gets tricky. You cannot let the dog out on its own and have to take the dog out every time it needs to pee or poop. As a puppy, they have less bladder control; hence, you will have to take them out frequently, which may not be possible. In such a scenario, first, teach them to pee on a pee pad to ensure your apartment remains clean. As they grow, slowly teach them to signal to you when they want to go by using a bell so that you can take them out.
8. How Will you Deal with Cleanliness?
Getting a dog is easy, but then taking care of it is rough. Keeping your house clean gets tougher, especially if you get a breed that sheds a lot. Think this through before you choose a breed. Big breeds like retrievers and german shepherds shed a lot seasonally and throughout the year. If you get one, you have to have a strong cleaning plan in place. On the other hand, if you get Poodles and Doodles, they are hypoallergenic dogs mostly. Hence you will have to deal less with shedding issues.
9. What Crate Size Should You Buy?
Many people prefer to put their dogs in a crate at night. It is a good practice as it confines the animal in space; hence, they do not move much, which means they can hold in any pressure until they are let out. Buying a crate for a large dog is easy, but consider several things if you buy one for a puppy. Your puppy will grow; hence do not buy one for its current size but get one that can hold the dog when it grows. Also, you should get a crate with a divider as you do not want your puppy to have all that extra space but expanded the area as they grow.
The Bottom Line:
While you need to plan a lot before you get a dog, which can overwhelm you to the limit that you may rethink your decision, getting a dog is the best decision you can make. Once the dog is home, you will realize there is a lot of responsibility attached, but that wagging tail will make all of it look worth it.