Thinking About Getting a Dog?
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Thinking About Getting a Dog?Posted by Korman Res | Thinking About Getting a Dog?
"A dog has one aim in life... to bestow his heart."
-- J.R. Ackerley
There are many reasons why dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend”. For starters, you’ll never find a more loyal companion or anyone more thrilled to see you when you walk through the door. Dogs are great listeners, never judge us, and never ask us for anything except for our love and attention (o.k., and the occasional treat). Dogs enrich our lives and become cherished family members. They are often our first “children”, who happily become our human children’s first playmates, and they are our faithful protectors, who would lay down their lives for us without thinking twice. In short, dogs give us their best every single day.
If you’re thinking about getting a dog, that’s wonderful! However, as wonderful as having a dog can be, it’s important to realize that keeping your dog happy and healthy will require considerable time and financial commitments. At the minimum, all dogs require daily playtime and outdoor activity (some more than others) as well as routine veterinary care. Investing in obedience training classes is also an important component of learning to communicate with your dog and establishing boundaries. While our dogs want nothing more than to please us, they can’t do what we ask of them if they don’t understand us.
Before you decide to bring home a new dog, you should ask yourself the following questions:
1. How much time do I have to devote to my dog’s training, exercise and playtime each day and how much time will he spend alone?
2. Am I willing and financially able to provide routine, and if necessary, emergency veterinary care for my dog (which can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars each year)?
3. Am I willing to accept that dogs are messy, sometimes have accidents, and can become destructive when they are bored, which could result in damage to expensive items, furnishings, or flooring in my home?
4. Do I have permission from my leasing office to keep a dog in my home? Are there any restrictions that would prevent me from owning a certain breed of dog in my community?
5. What will I do with my dog when I am away from home or on vacation? Dog sitter? Kennel? Will he stay with friends or family?
6. If I’m going to be out all day, do I have someone who will walk my dog for me?
If you still feel confident about bringing home a dog after asking yourself those questions, you’ve moved up to the next level! The next important questions you should ask yourself require a bit of research on your part:
1. What type of breed would best suit my family?
Choosing the right type of dog for your family’s lifestyle is crucial. Certain breeds have more energy than others, are prone to different physical maladies, have different grooming requirements, and have different temperaments. For example, if your family could be described as “couch potatoes” and you decide to adopt a Border Collie, both you and the dog will end up very unhappy. While the Border Collie is known as one of the most intelligent dog breeds, it is also one of the most energetic. Border Collies were bred as herding dogs, so they require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. If they don’t have a high-energy job to do, they become bored, hyper-active and sometimes destructive. No amount of cuddling with him while watching “Dancing with the Stars” can undo what has been hard-wired into his genes. Now, if you decided to adopt an English Bulldog or a Basset Hound, it would be a marriage made in heaven. In other words, do your research. Animal Planet has a great app on their website, called the “Dog Breed Selector”. After answering a series of questions about your personal preferences, it will select the dog breeds that best compliment your answers: http://www.animalplanet.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds.html .
2. Should I adopt or go through a breeder?
While there are numerous benefits to adoption, saving a life being one, buying your dog from a reputable breeder is a good choice if breed purity, American Kennel Club (AKC) registration, and tracing the temperament and health of the bloodline are important to you. You will pay considerably more money going through a breeder, but you will also be provided with health guarantees or certificates, which can give you peace of mind if you are concerned about known health issues in the breed (i.e. heart valve disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels). While reputable breeders do their best to produce dogs of sound temperament and health, it is important to mention that these dogs aren’t any less prone to illness or injury than a shelter dog.
Your next question might be, “What about a mutt?” Well, shelters are full of mixed-breed dogs, who may actually have an advantage over purebreds in terms of overall health and longevity. The hereditary diseases and physical maladies that plague purebred dogs are far less common in mixed breeds. But, the shelters and rescues are full of purebred dogs too. What’s even better is that many shelters and rescues will spay/neuter and microchip the dogs before they head to their new homes. Many also offer low-cost spay/neuter and microchip services to the public.
The biggest advantage of adopting through a shelter or rescue is that you are saving a life and providing love and a home to a dog who might never have known what that feels like. There are millions of dogs in shelters throughout our country, and sadly, most of them never find a home. If you’re thinking about adopting through a local shelter or rescue, Petfinder is a great resource. Just enter your zip code, breed, preferred age and gender, and Petfinder will do the rest: http://www.petfinder.com/.
Korman Residential is proud to be one of the most pet-friendly property management companies in the Philadelphia metro area. Our pets are members of our family, too, and they deserve a great place to live and play.