Adopting a dog is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It’s a decision that will change your life in more ways than one and can be a lot of hard work. Dogs can misbehave, get messy and can incur expensive medical bills if they aren’t trained and cared for correctly. Unfortunately, many people get dogs on impulse without thinking about whether they are up to the challenge. Not considering the idea in full can make both you and your canine friend miserable and may even cause you to regret your decision. So it’s crucial that you know as much as you can before committing to becoming a dog owner. Here are some common mistakes that new dog owners make which are often caused by lack of planning and consideration.
Basing their choice on looks alone
Many wannabe dog owners choose dogs based on their appearance. This is understandable as you obviously want a dog that appeals to you and that you think is handsome or cute. But making a decision based on looks alone is a big mistake. Even though you might like the look of a certain breed, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the perfect dog for you. The breed you like might need more exercise than most dogs. If you are unable to fit plenty of walks into your daily schedule, this can put your new pet’s health at risk. So you need to think about how much exercise and time you are able to provide. If it’s not a lot, this should greatly influence your choice of potential breeds. Like humans, all dogs have their own personality. Some are energetic and outgoing whereas others are more shy and timid. Some of these traits relate to their breed, whereas others are associated with their past owners. You need to think about whether you have the time to train an overly excited dog or form a bond with a dog that’s been mistreated. You should also consider whether their personality will suit your lifestyle. For instance, if you have lots of friends with dogs, a confident and friendly dog may be the best option.
So before heading to a shelter, do some research into different breeds of dogs on sites like Pedigree.com. Find out how much exercise they require, what their personalities are like and what care requirements they have. It can also be wise to research potential health issues each breed has as these can vary significantly. It shouldn’t take long for you to find a few potential options that look beautiful and also fit into your lifestyle.
Overlooking the cost of keeping a dog
Many people fall in love with the idea of owning a dog, but don’t realize just how expensive they can be. Not making sure you can afford to look after a dog for its entire life is, unfortunately, a common mistake that people make. From vets bills to food, there are a lot of things your dog needs to stay healthy. However, many of these things can be expensive when combined. So another thing you should do is check your finances and do some research into how much owning a dog can cost.
The best way to do this is by talking to other dog owners. While every dog has different needs, there are some universal things they cannot do without. Ask other owners about how much they spend on dog food, grooming and training sessions each month. Also, don’t forget about the cost of vet checkups and medication if your dog becomes ill. As a new owner, you will also have the initial costs of paying for spaying or neutering and buying things like pet doors, beds and leads.
Once you have a rough idea of approximately how much owning a dog can cost, refer to your finances. Are there things you could cut back on to give you the money you need? Or do you think that owning a dog is completely out of reach? Be honest with yourself and how much you can afford. The worst thing you can do is adopt a dog only to return it when you realize you can’t afford to take care of it.
Forgetting to dog-proof their home
Dog-proofing your home and garden is an absolute must when you become a dog owner, particularly when you adopt a puppy. But you’d be surprised just how many people forget to do this. While many shelters require inspections of a property before completing an adoption, not all of them do. Unfortunately, this can greatly increase the chance of your new pet getting lost or injured. This is something that every pet owner wants to avoid at all costs. So to give your dog the protection it needs, it’s crucial that you ensure your home is as safe as possible beforehand.
Go through each room in your home ahead of time and look at it from a dog’s point of view. Remove anything that they can reach which might poison, electrocute or be a choking hazard. You should buy child locks for cupboards that contain cleaning products and medication. These can also be added to your toilet and trash can. This is also the perfect opportunity to designate which rooms your dog can enter and which ones are off limit. Many dog owners use baby gates to control which rooms their dogs go into. So it might be a good idea to invest and install in some before your dog is brought home. To help your new family member settle in as quickly as possible, make sure you have all the essentials they need. This should include a comfortable bed, lead, collar, toys and bowls. These should then be placed in the room your dog will spend the most time in.
Your garden also needs plenty of attention before you bring your need pet home. Look at the walls and fences to see if there are any gaps your dog could crawl through. These need to be repaired to make sure your dog cannot leave your outdoor space. You can go to a gardening center to replace your fencing or visit Atkinsinc.com to learn more about underground pet fencing instead. You will also need to remove all sharp and hazardous items from your lawn and flower beds too. Some flowers and plants are poisonous and potentially fatal to dogs if they consume them. Gardening tools (I ran into this one myself), broken glass and rat poison pellets can also cause injury and illness. So check every inch of your garden and remove anything you consider to be a hazard. Some of these vital changes to your home will cost you money. So before you get started, always make sure you have a suitable budget to work with. If you don’t at the moment, you may need to put off the adoption until you can afford to upgrade your home.
Failing to set consistent rules
Dogs are highly intelligent creatures, but they can make mistakes from time to time. As they get used to their new surroundings, they might chew a pair of your shoes or dig a hole in your garden. If can be tempting to let them get away with bad behavior but this is a big mistake to make. Without set rules for them to abide by, your new dog’s behavior may get worse. It’s also confusing for your dog to let him do something for a few weeks to then punish him for it the next. So one of the most important things you need to do is establish some rules before bringing them home. This will help your dog learn what they should and shouldn’t do more quickly. Sit down with your family and discuss what you consider to be bad behavior. You should also talk about who is going to be responsible for walks, feeding time and training. Write these rules down on a large piece of paper and place them in a place where everyone can refer to it. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows the importance of being consistent in regards to the rules you have set. This will not only be beneficial for your dog but will also help your family get involved in caring for their new pet. Also remember that praising and rewarding your dog for good behavior can set a fantastic example too.
This guide should have given you valuable insight into whether or not being a dog owner is right for you. If it’s not, it’s better to discover this now rather than after introducing a dog to your home and family. Why not volunteer at a local dog shelter or walk an elderly neighbor’s dog rather than being a full-time owner instead. If you do think this is the right decision for you, continue to do as much research as you can before getting a dog. The more you know about the responsibility of having a dog, the better prepared you will be to love and care for your new best friend.