When is it the right time to get a dog?
Where to start?
So you are really excited at the prospect of getting a dog and sharing your life with a faithful four - legged friend. Where to start?
Initially you need to decide whether a puppy or older re-homed dog is right for you and best for the dog. What are your home circumstances? Do you have the considerable time, patience, money and dedication to look after a puppy properly? Taking it from that cute fluffy bundle at 8 weeks old to the adult obedient dog of your dreams?
You need to consider that puppies can’t be left on their own for too long.
Lots of attention.
Regular meal times.
Visits to the vet for inoculations, flea and worming treatments and health check-ups.
Lots of play.
Time to ‘crash out’ and sleep.
Exclusive time to bond with their new owner.
All this is a major commitment. If you can’t be at home all day then another family member or friend needs to share the responsibility. Maybe this doesn’t seem possible at the moment and you are thinking an older dog would be a wiser choice. You can find more information on this, here.
Puppy Vs Rehoming.
Giving a home to an elder dog is a kind and worthy thing to do. The dog could well come with all the house training and obedience issues sorted out and once it has got to know you and its new environment, become a loving pet and joy to have in your home.
But you do need to know the background of the dog you are taking in. Talk in detail to the re-homing centre or person parting with the dog. Find out everything you can about the dog and why it is up for re-homing. Sometimes the owners have unforeseen reasons why they can’t keep the dog, sometimes they can’t cope, sometimes the dog has been rescued from a bad situation.
Not all dogs have a good start in life and they come with behavioural problems that need a lot of time, love and patience to sort out. Some dogs never completely get over their early challenges and are not suitable pets to have in a household alongside young children or other dogs. Some need ‘one to one’ homes and all dogs are big commitments and can necessitate changes in your lifestyle.
Benefits to owning a dog.
But there are many plusses involved in having a dog. They give you unconditional love and they think their owners are AMAZING! this is a big ego boost when you’re feeling down!
Being a dog owner is a constant in your life and it’s marvellous to have a devoted friend who generates love and purpose. There are lots of studies that show how stroking a dog brings down blood pressure and generally reduces stress and promotes wellbeing. Walking is also very beneficial for human health and many people count that as a valid reason for dog ownership. You have to get out there, come rain or shine, to walk your dog. So being a ‘couch potato’ is not an option.