Frequently Asked Questions
Am I ready to own a dog?
Adding a Dog to Your Family: Seven Questions Potential Dog Owners Should Ask Themselves
- Are you aware that having a dog requires a large time, financial, and emotional commitment?
- Are you not only willing but also able to spend a considerable amount of time with your dog?
- If you live in an apartment or rent a house, do you have your landlord's written permission to keep a dog?
- Are you prepared to provide adequate daily exercise for your new dog as well as provide frequent "potty" breaks through out the day?
- Do you have the time, desire, and ability to enjoy the company of a new dog?
- Are you aware that a young dog, especially a puppy, should be supervised all the times, especially when they are interacting with young children?
- Are you in a financial position to assume the expenses of keeping a dog, including grooming, supplies, food, training and veterinary expenses?
Should I get a puppy or an adult dog?
Deciding to bring a puppy or older dog home is an important decision. Commitment of time and attention is crucial. Make certain you're ready to take on responsibility for the dog for the rest of its life. Now is the time to be honest with yourself and the breeder before going any further. If you're hesitant about the responsibility or the possibility of unexpected expenses (medical expenses and care increase as dogs develop some of the ills of aging, such as, arthritis and cardiac problems), or if you don't have enough time, don't buy a puppy or older dog now. Wait until you're truly ready. Adding a Dog to Your Family: Should You Get a Puppy or an Adult Dog? (courtesy AKC) Almost everyone loves puppies. They're cute, and almost always entertaining. Raising a puppy gives you the opportunity to bond with him from the start, and to train him in your own style. Puppies should not be separated from the litter before 7 weeks of age. They need this time to socialize with their litter mates and mother. After 8 weeks, the puppy is ready to move to a human family. You can begin to socialize the puppy to respond calmly when approached by visitors, vets, children and other dogs. Puppies also need to be housebroken, and during this time they will have a few accidents in the house. Puppies also like (and need) a great deal of attention. Some may even chew on furniture, because they are bored when you're not around to play. (Crate training may be a solution here!) Puppies will also need a series of shots. Its important to go to the vet and find out what you need to do to ensure your puppy's good health. An adult or older dog who is already housebroken may be a better choice for people who work and don't have time to raise a puppy. In addition to being housebroken, an adult dog may be less prone to chewing on furniture, may be more serene than an energetic puppy, and might already know the basic commands of sit, stay, come, heel and down. But, adult dogs have special needs too. Adult and older dogs may be unpredictable in their behavior. For example, every time a dog hears a horn beep he may get upset and bark a lot. This could be because he had a bad experience in the past that makes him behave this way. You might not know the history of an adult or older dog, but you may be able to change behavior with special training and attention. Questions to ask yourself:
- Will the older dog be able to adapt to a new home?
- How much time can I spend training my dog?
- Do I have the patience needed to meet a dogs needs?
What breed or mix will suit my lifestyle?
Once you've determined that you are ready, willing, able and committed to adding a dog to your family, you need to find out which breed or breeds will fit your family and lifestyle. Even if you are planning on getting a mixed breed, you should do some research on the different types of breeds that fit your lifestyle. Knowing the breed traits can help you predict the dog's personality. Become familiar with the breed standard, common genetic disorders in that breed, and general temperament by reading as much as you can about the breeds you are looking for. If you're not sure what breed is right for you or your family or where to begin, we regularly recommend the following two books for prospective puppy/dog parents (available at your local library or bookstore): Choosing a Dog for Dummies® by Chris Walkowicz, John Wiley & Sons, 2001 Your purebred puppy: a buyer's guide by Michele Welton, H. Holt 2nd edition, 2000 The following links may also be of help to you: Dog Owner's Guide Topic List: Choosing the right dog Cindy Tittle Moore's FAQ: Getting a dog Amy Hendrix's FAQ: Selecting a Dog Breed