How To Choose The Best Dog For You And Your Family
Looking for a new member of the family is a huge task. Maybe you have grown up with dogs and understand the types of breeds that work for you. Perhaps you are a first time doggy parent and want to make the right decision for you and your family. Which breed will suit your needs? Should you adopt from a shelter or find a reputable breeder? What size dog are you looking for? There are a ton of questions to be answered when starting this fun adventure. One thing is for certain, any dog you end up getting will be your friend and family member.
You will want to protect them and look after them by attaining a cheap pet insurance policy. You may need to set a little money aside for this new animal purchase. From leashes to food to beds and even higher fencing, a dog is a huge responsibility. Owning a pet, no matter the size should not be taken lightly. Putting in time and attention is key. To find out more about what you should expect when purchasing a dog, just keep reading. We’ll figure out your perfect match for pet insurance!
First Things First
- First of all, let’s talk logistics. Are you in the right head space to own a new pet? If you work 60 hour work weeks and live in a studio apartment, it may be harder to find a breed of dog to match your lifestyle. Having said that, you could look into options such as doggie daycare or a pet sitter. There is usually a solution to every problem. When it comes to dogs specifically, they need a lot of attention. Unlike cats, who are pretty self sufficient and enjoy being alone, dogs are pack animals. That is why they are able to bond so deeply with humans. When you walk through your front door and are greeted by licks and jumps and a wagging tail, you realize that your dog truly missed you. Every dog breed has some instinct to want to be together with another pack member. Think about this long and hard before choosing to purchase a dog. The best behaved dogs are the ones who get enough attention and exercise. Most of the time, doggy behavioral issue stem from them being left alone for too long. You might even consider getting two dogs who can be together when you are at work. Spending weekends taking your pooch to the park and on hikes is a great way to make sure their lives are balances.
- Let’s talk money. Are you financial able to afford a dog? Basically you will need a lump some of money at the beginning to not only purchase the animal but the things you will need for him. This could be anywhere from $300-$1000. Why so much? Let’s look at what you will need to start out:
- Maybe you choose to adopt a dog from a shelter. This is a cheap and reasonable thing to do. But you will still spend around $100. This money includes the animal being fixed or neutered, as well as all of their updated shots.
- Next you will need a collar and leash- $50
- Doggie food bowl, water bowl and the first bag of food- $50-$100
- Registering your dog with the city in which you live can cost up tp $50
- A dog bed or two as well as brushes and toys- $100-$200
- If there are any special requirements for this dog such as medication, a certain diet or any allergies you will need to put money aside to make sure they are comfortable.
- Last but not least you will want to get them on a flea and tick medication. You can usually get these from your vet for around $50 a month. Using store bought products or natural remedies is not as recommended as these can harm the dogs skin. Some dogs are even allergic to fleas.
- Bottom line is that buying a dog can be an amazing thing. But it will cost you some money.
- The monthly rate for owning a dog will be less than the initial cost.
- Don’t forget that if you live in an apartment or even rent a house, you could be looking at a pet deposit. This can run anywhere from $100 per pet up to $500.
- That cheap pet insurance you will want could be around $20-$50 a month as well. This is a great purchase and should never be overlooked. However it is still a cost to consider. After adding everything up, you will want to make sure that you can afford this new fuzzy family member.
The best way to know what dog to start looking for is to truly understand your lifestyle. That doesn’t just mean your way of life right now, but what it might look like in five, ten or even fifteen years. I know it’s hard to think that far in the future, but try. Having a dog is at least a ten year commitment depending on the age of your new pooch. If you want a puppy, you are looking at fifteen years of love and care and attention. So understand where you are going in life before you commit. It might not be as big of a decision like having children.
But every dog deserves to have constant love and care from the same person for its whole life. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than large dogs. If you have always been an admirer of Great Danes, just know that the average life span of this breed is 7-9 years. Maybe this is too heart wrenching for you to think about. Some smaller Terrier breeds live up to 17 years of age. This might seem like more of the commitment you are looking for.
Where You Live
Besides the time frame of your life, think about where you live now and then realistically where you will end up in the future. Are you a city dweller who will most likely always work and live within the city limits? This means that you must look for a breed of dog that can handle apartment living. Having cheap renters insurance is something to think about when looking for a dog as well. Some dogs do great in confined spaces as long as they get their walks in.
Others will pick up neurotic tendencies or even become aggressive. The rule of thumb here is to look at what the breed is actually bred to do. When you are looking at herding dogs for example, realize that these animals have been bred for centuries to work on a farm all day long. They need a job constantly. Even if this job is just hunting for squirrels in your back yard. The apartment lifestyle might not fit them.
On the other hand, a pug has been bred for generations to be a companion dog or lap dog. In fact, living outside could be detrimental to their fragile bodies. You could have a pug who lives with you in an apartment setting and does great as long as they have a warm body to curl up with at night. One of the most popular breeds in America is the Golden Retriever. And while these dogs are mild mannered and great with kids, they also shed a ton and tend to have skin issues. If dog hair and dandruff bother you, try looking for a hypoallergenic dog such as a Shitzu or Poodle.
Time And Energy
For most dog lovers, we couldn’t imagine not having a loving wet nose to come home to. But there are times when putting your pet as a priority can be hard. If you are looking for a dog for the very first time, you will want to consider how much time and energy you realistically have at the end of the day. Maybe you are starting a family and would love a dog to complete the package. Understand that everyone in the family must be on board and able to give love and attention to your pet.
If you work from home, a dog can be a great way to release stress and might even make you work more productively. If you go into an office every day, will you have the energy to come home and dedicate at least an hour of play time for your pooch? Maybe you live in a suburb with large backyards. Leaving your dog outside when you are gone could be a great thing. But this does not substitute for the time and attention they need. You might see your new beloved pet getting into trouble such as digging or barking at the neighbors. This is simply from boredom. So let’s take a look at some different examples of how much time your dog might need.
Example: The suburban family dog
The family dog that has a yard to run around in and then a warm bed to sleep in at night would seem to have the perfect life. But let’s look at what breed of dog he or she is and how much actual “pack time” or “family time” this dog receives. If you have a medium sized working dog such as a Labrador Retriever or Poodle, you most likely need to help that dog burn off some energy.
Unless they have another dog to keep them company during the day, when you get home from work or the kids get home from school, these dogs will need at least an hours worth of attention and play time. You could choose to take your family dog on a walk in the mornings before you leave for work. And then leave it up to the kids to play with them when they get home from school every day.
On weekends, you will want to plan something to do with the dog. Maybe a hike or a car ride to the local Petco. Any stimulation for these types of dogs will be well received. Giving them a shelter or “den” when you are gone is also a good idea. Sometimes loud noises can be intimidating. Dogs naturally want to have a covered area to sleep and escape to a few hours a day. This will also be helpful when it rains. You will want to always provide a place that your animal can stay warm and dry in. This might mean a doggie door heading into the garage. Or perhaps a kennel that has a shelter.
Keeping It Safe
Measure your fence hight and always make sure your fence line is secure. If you see your dog digging, make sure you attend to this right away. There are thousands of dogs that escape the backyard everyday just to follow a scent. Does your dog get along with the neighbor dog? Or do they bark and fight on the fence line. This fighting and aggression can not only cause stress for your dog and the neighbors dog, but can lead to other behavioral issues inside the home. Make sure that you can either introduce the dogs properly, or keep your dog away from the fence line when unattended. This is just one example of being a responsible pet owner. Making sure you have a great cheap homeowners insurance policy can help with this issue as well.
You will want to make sure that your family dog always has a collar on with the proper phone number where you can be reached. It might surprise you that dogs, no matter how docile can be great escape artists. Leaving them unattended for a 10 hour day means that they have plenty of time to jump a fence and make their way around the neighborhood. If you see this kind of behavior, it might mean they are bored and not receiving enough attention. Change up your routine and offer them more toys to play with.
Before you search for your families perfect dog, you might want to read some books together. And when you finally meet that perfect puppy, taking puppy classes can be very educational. Knowledge is power when it comes to raising dogs. Similar to raising children, you really don’t know what you are getting yourself into until you are already in it. Knowing about doggie language and behavior is crucial when it comes to having a happy dog in your life. A well-adjusted dog means less stress in the home as well.
One way to make sure your family blends well is by setting up a routine that the dog can expect. Feeding time should be twice a day and with manners. Always make your dog sit and wait to eat his food until you let him. You are the alpha. It isn’t about having a power trip, it is dog language. In a pack of dogs, there is only one alpha. In your home, the same is true! Who is the alpha? Is it the mom? Dad? Or dog? If your answer is dog, then you are in for a long road ahead.
Let the dog outside to go to the bathroom enough. Potty training can be hard for puppies. The best way to fix this is by letting them be outside as much as possible. If they are inside, try keeping them in a crate or “den”. This will actually feel quite safe for your young pup. When they bark, ignore them until they stop barking. Use your common sense. But above all, give your new dog enough attention. Puppies get bored and that is when they start to chew, jump or dig. So make sure they are exhausted before letting them in the house. More often than not, they will just fall asleep.
Making sure your pet is getting the best you have to offer is key. Protect your pet with pet insurance and always spay and neuter your animals!