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if you are ready for a dog

How to Tell If You Are Ready for a Dog

by Martha Simmonds

Dogs are lovely creatures that truly do become fully-fledged family members. They are emotionally intelligent, great with kids, and an excellent way to keep your family active and outdoors. Wanting a dog, however, is very different from being ready for a dog. If you are too busy, too stressed, or too strapped for funds, then it’s probably not a good time to add a dog to the mix.

How Old Are Your Children?

One of the biggest considerations to make is your children’s age. Raising kids is a huge responsibility, but as they get older they become more independent and eventually won’t require ongoing supervision. Introducing a puppy or rescue to your household when you’re strapped to your limits caring for an infant or toddler is not a good mix. You need the space (emotionally and even physically) to commit yourselves to train your new dog and creating a consistent routine your new family member can depend on.

Just like kids, dogs need a routine to understand when their needs are going to be met. This means feedings at the same time, walking around at the same time, and sleeping at the same time. Routine is how you set the right expectations for everyone and keep a healthy dog.

Which Type can you Have in Your Home?

You can have a dog in any accommodation situation, but the breed of dog you choose will have to reflect the amenities and accommodations that you can offer them. If you live in a house and have a backyard, then you can get one of those big fluffy dog breeds that are so popular in families. If you live in an apartment, a smaller dog that won’t take up too much space on your limited couch or floor space is a better fit.

As for working breeds, make sure you have plenty of outdoor space. You don’t have to have that space on your own property, but it needs to be accessible. If there is a large park or hiking area that allows dogs a short walk or drive from you, then you can accommodate the needs of high-energy, working breeds. All dogs are great but choosing the one that you can care for well is going to play a huge difference in how happy and healthy your dog will be.

Are You Ready to Train?

Regardless of the breed, you choose, it’s important that you research the breed extensively. Breed characteristics are real, and it’s better to assume your dog is going to exhibit all of them to fully prepare yourself. Many cute dogs have a high prey drive, since they were initially bred to hunt. If you aren’t aware of this drive and how to train your dog so that they respond to you and are socialized properly, then they may misbehave, you’ll likely get stressed, and everyone is worse off.

Know the breed, know how to train them, and be prepared to commit on your own without your children’s help. Yes, you can get the whole family involved with caring for the dog, but you need to guarantee you can care for your new pet without them. This is how you’ll raise a healthy, happy dog.

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