Getting a dog is never a good idea. It's a great idea. In today's world, more and more people are adopting furry friends to keep them company, improve mood, decrease depression/anxiety, support them while enduring hardships, encourage them to push onward, and of course to celebrate life!!
Getting a dog is also a huge deal. Caring for an animal or in our case, another family member is a full-time job. It's a huge responsibility, and it changes your life for a large chunk of your life. For us, that's exactly what we wanted, hoped for, and received. One of the biggest things that I share with people is that having a dog for us was never a hardship because we never expected it to be easy.
I want to make sure that I share my opinion up front- getting Pax has been the greatest adventure of our lives so far. He has brought my husband and me closer, he's been my muse while growing my business, he has increased my happiness and filled my heart with such joy. Jarrod and I also had an ideal situation getting a dog, which made the process more adaptable in our lives.
People always ask me "what are some things I should prepare myself for when getting a puppy. I've compiled 7 things to really think about before you get your dog!
1. How zen are you?
Would you get upset if your dog tracked mud in the house or messes up your bed pillows? How about when your puppy is 9 weeks old and has a bladder the size of an ant, and it's peeing all over your house. Your mindset about getting a dog and what the reality will be like is essential to think about.
My experience is that those who were not prepared for the responsibility of a dog struggle the most. That also goes with those who have unrealistic expectations or just think pawenthood is what they see on Instagram. You will absolutely get frustrated with your puppy. Being ready, willing, and able, in my opinion, seals the positive experience with getting a dog.
2. Are you ok leaving a party early?
Dogs are pack animals, and they miss you when you're gone. If you're like me - I think I miss Pax more than he misses me. Also, if you get wasted the night before you still have to get up at 6am to take your dog out to potty the next morning. If you want to jet out for a weekend, you'll have to think about where your dog is going to stay. We've had some "ehh" experiences with Rover (a local pet sitting & walking company), and I'm so grateful nothing terrible happened. But it gets harder and harder to leave your fur baby when you know they aren't going to treat them accurately as you would. Additionally, you can't just leave your dog home for 6+ hours alone without potty breaks, walks, cuddles, and food. Are you ready to start planning your day around your dog's needs?
3. Are you ready to be less selfish?
I stopped taking care of myself for awhile - especially while he was a puppy. I felt guilty if I left, I felt overwhelmed when I took him places, and I felt so much love when I was with him. I sometimes didn't go anywhere at all. I stopped exercising and leaving the house as much for certain things I use to do (hello amazon & post mates). But it also brought me new love, activities, and community.
Getting a dog (whether you rescue or go through a breeder) is going to cost you money. From dog food to shots to random ear aches you'll be spending more money than you planned. Also, p.s. Dog bow ties and bandanas aren't free. :) What about when you go out of town, and you have to pay for boarding. I know a woman who got a dog even though she knew that they had a 25-day vacation coming up. Boarding ended up costing $1,000!
5. What is your work schedule, and do you have a dog-friendly office?
If you travel Tuesday-Thursday, you'll need to prepare for your dog to be cared for which is more effort for you. Do you work 12-14 hours a day? Or even an 8-hour shift you'll need to figure out how your pup will go potty if you don't have a way they can go in and out. If you aren't home, that can cause stress for both you and your dog due to lack of routine and a lonely pup at home. If you have a dog-friendly office, you'll have more flexibility, but it will still be a distraction.
Chewing behavior is fun for dogs and can enhance brain stimulation, it promotes strong jaws and healthy teeth, the trick is just making sure that your dog is chewing on appropriate items. Here are some tips for encouraging healthy chewing behavior: If you adopt a dog with a partner, it definitely will change the dynamic. I am so grateful for the closeness, fun, and a house full of love that having a dog has created in our life. Have you asked your partner how they feel about getting a dog? How will you split responsibilities? We talked about all these things before getting our pup, and it was constructive. If only one person wants the dog and the other is only half committed to getting a puppy, it will make it that much more challenging when you get one. Also, dogs can truly feel the energy. Living in a home with frustration, stress, and resentment isn't suitable for anyone!
7. Housing situation.
Do you live with roommates? Is anyone allergic to dogs? How do you feel about mud on your couch? These are real realities. Today I took Pax to the dog park, and he rolled around in the dirt and then promptly laid down on my pillow when we get home. Can you even have a dog? Does your landlord let you? Are you in a big house with lots of room? How will your pup go potty?
I highly recommend not impulsively getting a dog. It is a 10-16 year commitment, and they aren't like children where you can take them everywhere. They also never "grow up" like children who can start taking care of themselves. Your dog will always be your baby. They depend on you for everything. It's essential to think about why you are getting a dog, what is its purpose. It's important not to get a puppy just to get a puppy and that you are ready to take that next step into pawenthood! When you are ready, just know there is nothing like the relationship between a dog and their human, it's the most special around!
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