There are many questions you should ask yourself before getting a dog. There are also many things to consider. You should think about this decision carefully and research not only dog breeds, but the temperament of the dog you are getting (meet it, interact with it, talk to the owner or shelter workers and glean all possible information)!
* Can you afford the added expense of a dog? This is a long-time commitment (10 to 15 years generally) and should not be treated like a piece of furniture that you can just “get rid of” when you get tired of it.
* Is anyone in your home allergic to dog hair?
* Are you prepared to accept the fact that dogs are not humans and invest some time into learning how to properly treat your dog and communicate with your dog in order to keep him or her balanced?
* Are you prepared for the responsibility?
* Do you understand natural dog behavior?
* Do you understand what makes a dog tick and what it instinctually needs as a canine animal?
* Are you willing and able to invest the necessary time and effort?
* Are you prepared to walk and exercise it every day? Dogs need mental exercise as well as physical.
* Are you prepared to show the dog consistent leadership, putting your emotions aside and seeing it as a canine animal?
* Are you prepared to train it or seek help getting training?
* What kind of dog should you get?
* Do you have children, plan to have children, or have children in your home on a regular basis?
* Have you ever owned a dog? If so, are you capable of accepting the fact that another dog, even of the same, exact breed, will likely have a completely different personality?
Considerations and things to know:
A dog’s temperament is a direct result of the owner’s ability to understand him and give him what he instinctually needs as a canine animal. (There are caveats to this when adopting a rescue or shelter dog, of course.)
When adopting: Get ALL information you can from prior owners, rescue volunteers, shelter workers and volunteers who have interacted with the dog; seek a behaviorist who can perform and temperament evaluation; KNOW that there may be issues from the dog’s previous history and be willing to accept those issues and assist the dog in overcoming those issues or seek the appropriate help.
When buying: NEVER buy from a pet store! NEVER buy from a puppy mill! RESEARCH the breeder THOROUGHLY and ask for references and contact information for several other people who have obtained dogs from that breeder.
KNOW THIS – breed does NOT determine temperament. While there are genetic “traits” in each breed, every dog is an individual and will have its own personality!
Assess your lifestyle and match the dog you get, as best you possibly can, with that lifestyle.
A dog will be a longtime companion who never judges you on your looks, personality, level of income or the type of car you drive. Love them back with the same level of openness and lack of judgment!
Be willing to provide the proper amount of exercise, discipline, love, care, LEADERSHIP and understanding!
Get familiar with the different stages of canine development: 1) Neonatal; 2) Transitional; 3) Socialization; 4) Adolescence; 5) Adulthood.
Research several different veterinarians and find one whom you trust and has a good reputation. You can even check with your Veterinary Board to see their track record. For Arkansas, the information is located at http://www.arvetboard.com/