Owning a dog can be a tremendously rewarding experience. They’ll act as companions, guards, and exercise partners, as well as provide you with a reason to get out of the house. 

If you haven’t owned a dog before, then the first time can throw up a few challenges – many of which might take you by surprise. The responsibility of owning a dog isn’t for everyone, and the scale of the responsibility is worth researching before you make the commitment.

Let’s look at a few tips for making the experience as smooth as possible.

1. Dogs are for life

As the saying goes, a dog is for life, and not just for Christmas (or a birthday). The warm glow that you get from playing and interacting with a dog might well wear off when you have to contend with the not-so-glamorous aspects of dog ownership. Which is a long way of saying that you’d better be sure about what you’re committing to before you make the commitment. 

2. Research the breed

Certain breeds of dog will impose a massively different experience on the owner. Some are more excitable; some have naturally higher levels of energy. While size is a factor, it’s not the only one worth considering. Many smaller breeds of dogs tend to bark more than larger ones, but it’s not an ironclad rule.

Once you’ve narrowed the field down to a few specific breeds, make sure that you research them inside and out. Bear in mind if you’re going for a rescue dog that you might not be able to determine exactly what breed you’re buying.

3. Do you have time?

Dogs require regular walks if they’re to remain healthy. This is a good thing, as you’ll benefit from the exercise, too. But if you can’t commit to setting the time aside, then dog ownership might not be a good fit for your circumstances. There’s no point in paying a dog-walker to take care of the task for you, after all.

4. Can you afford it?

Dog toys

Dogs will also impose a series of additional costs. You’ll need to feed them, buy collars and leads for them, treat them for fleas, and microchip them. Then there’s the cost of pet insurance to consider. You might also want to invest in a few dog toys to keep them occupied!

5. Is your home ready?

If you don’t have a garden for your dog to stretch its legs in, then you might find that it becomes a little bit stir-crazy. You should also be aware of the other occupants of the household, including young children and other pets. Talk over the decision with all the people you’re living with, and don’t try to surprise them with a new dog – it isn’t fair on them or the dog itself!

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