Preparing to Welcome A Dog Into My Home

Getting a dog is a big decision and deserves some careful consideration. The following is a checklist that may be helpful in deciding if this is the right time to bring a dog into your family.

I Have Done the Research

One of the first steps is to do your research about what it takes to care for and support a dog followed by an honest evaluation of whether you have the time, energy, money, and motivation to be a dog owner.  Preparing yourself by reading and talking to friends, dog trainers, and reputable dog breeders will increase your understanding of whether getting a dog is right for you. If you have friends or family who will allow you to “dog sit” their dog in your home, you will get the opportunity to “try on” the actual experience of being a dog owner.

I Have the Time to be a Member of the Pack

Dogs are social creatures and to live happily, they must be part of your family pack. You should be available on a regular, consistent basis for the well-being of your canine friend. A general rule of thumb is that a dog over five years of age should not be left alone for more than 4 to 6 hours on a regular basis. If your dog is under 5 years of age, that drops to 2 to 4 hours. Your dog depends on you and needs humans around as much as possible.

I have the Energy and Motivation to Get Up Early and Often

Dog breed Karen holding Goldendoodle puppy

Are you ready to attend to your puppy in the wee hours of the morning and late hours of the evening? If you bring home a puppy, he/she will need to go out every few hours until fully housetrained. The upside is that this stage does not last forever, but in the beginning, a lot of time and a bit of sleep disruption is involved.

I Am Ready to Deal With the Responsibilities and Frustration of Training and Ownership

Dogs don’t do the cleanup after themselves nor do they wipe their muddy feet on the mat! That is their human’s job! Also, depending on how careful your family members are with the training routine, puppies can chew and damage some of your prize possessions. It’s the owner’s  responsibility to create the appropriate environment for the dog to safely grow, explore, and chew as they need to. You must be patient and accepting if the dog does undesirable things when you have allowed an opportunity for these mishaps. If this role does not fit for you (and you don’t have hired help), you might want to think twice about getting a dog.

I Have the Financial Resources To Support a Dog

Veterinarian swarmed by black Goldendoodle puppies

There are many expenses related to dog/puppy care. From dog food to grooming to vet care, the average cost of owning a dog in Canada is considerable. You will need to be prepared for unexpected vet costs for accidents and illness. In fact, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association estimates the costs can be in excess of $3000 per year. Before you bring that puppy home, you should consider whether these expenses are within your budget.

Karen Moore