Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. ~ Groucho Marx
A friend of mine wants a dog. As a single mom she will be at work at least four days a week for 10 –12 hours a day with the commute. I truly understand the peace of mind that a good dawgly provides. I also understand the expense and other considerations that need to be considered before you buy a beastly for your house.
Don’t get a dog if you think you can keep it in the back yard and have a happy dog. Dogs are pack animals and require a pack to be happy. With good crate training, living with a dog is doable and better for both of you. You will want to read up on this before you bring the puppy home.
Crate training takes no more than 3 to 4 weeks if done correctly and assuming you have a normal dog that is healthy and happy. One trick I use to bond with the animal is I put my stinkiest t-shirt in the crate with the puppy. Every dog I have done that with has become truly “my dawg”.
You must have a fenced in back yard at the very least. There will be times when the dog needs to go out and you are busy. Having a fenced in yard means you can let the beastie out and then check back in 5 or 10 minutes. Read more at Please Fence Me In.
Finally, dogs are expensive. They require regular visits to the vet, food, accoutrements, and often, medicine. Crates cost money too. If a $200 – $400 vet bills is too much for you, don’t put yourself in the position of having to pick between feeding your kids and taking your sick dog to the vets. Read more at “The Cost of Dog Ownership”.
No matter what your experience is with dogs, you and your children should go with the puppy to obedience training. The training is really for you and your kids, but this practically guarantees that you have assess to a pro, know the “new” basics about owning and operating a dawgly, and have even a chance of success. To my friend, we will give you three, free, half-hour lessons if you are interested.
Once you agree to these facts of dawg ownership, you can move on the the selection phase.
This Dog Breed Selector might be helpful in selecting a breed. It promises, “Get some help making this important decision, choosing the right dog breed, with this personalized guide. It’s simple: Tell us your preferences, and we’ll match them with a list of dog breeds, in ranked order, that best meet your desires.” If you aren’t a runner, you won’t want a high energy dog that requires constant running time.
If you are getting puppy consider these two tests which are indicators of the personality of the beastie you are considering to bring in your house:
1. If there is a litter of dawglies, don’t choose the first one that comes to the door of the cage/enclosure. That is mostly the alpha dog that will take a special person to control. Don’t take the one that cowers in the corner, that is the runt that can also take a special owner to work with it. Ever other animal of the pack is up for grabs so pick the one you like; maybe the one with the white socks or the white flash on the chest.
2. Take this puppy and separate it from the pack. Place it on it’s back. If it fights to get up and doesn’t stop, this is a stubborn, headstrong dawg. If it fights to get up and then relaxes, this is a normal dog.
Once you have selected and paid for your puppy, you are on your way to the joy, security, and sometimes, frustration of bringing another soul into your house. I can’t imagine not having a dog, so maybe I have the dog gene. But I also appreciate the fact that my wife is a natural with animals that makes it really easy for me to overstate how happy you will be with this new member of the family. You mileage may vary.