What You Should Know Before Getting a Dog

What You Should Know Before Getting a Dog

Author WDF Staff


So you decided to bring a dog into your home? Although having a dog is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself, for your family, your health, and happiness, it is also important to carefully consider are you even the right person to own a dog. Never make these decisions impulsively. Dogs that are the result of rash decisions often end up neglected or homeless just because the people didn’t realize the implications of committing to dog ownership. Dog parenting is a long-term commitment!

Getting a dog - guide

Whether you decided to buy or to adopt, it is important to consider what breed is right for you. You shouldn't search only for cute or beautiful or popular - each breed is different and has its own rewards and challenges. Because each breed has a different temperament, energy level, grooming needs, tolerance towards other people and children, etc., you need to find a breed that fits your lifestyle. If you are living alone and working long hours or are more of a couch potato than an active person don't get a dog that can't stand to be left alone or that needs to be exercised vigorously. Also, if you have children, you need to consider more child-friendly breeds.

Although almost every dog breed sheds if you don't want to deal with daily grooming and vacuuming, choose a breed that doesn't shed heavily.  And even if you do brush your dog every day and regularly clean an entire apartment, you must prepare yourself for finding an occasional stray hair in your kitchen, on your bed, your clothes, etc.

shy dog

By bringing a dog home you are getting a friend for life, but also a friend who is expensive to have. Food, toys, bowls, collars, vet appointments (especially those not planned) are pricey. There is also a great possibility that you'll have to buy some new clothes, shoes, carpets or furniture because your puppy was teething or just playing roughly.

How to train a dog?

Once your dog is all settled in its new place, start with the training, as soon as possible. Training a puppy takes a lot of time and patience, but the key is to be firm but just, and consistent! Reward your puppy with lots of praise and occasionally some treats. If you think you are not able to train your dog by yourself – get some help or sign your dog up for school. House-training is very important and needs to be mastered quickly. In the beginning, your puppy needs a bathroom break very often and you need to be prepared to run outside every time you see your dog might do the business.

dog below table

How often should you feed your dog?

Puppies need to be fed at least three or four times a day and need to be taken outside immediately after eating or drinking. Still, even if you are doing everything right, in the beginning, accidents will happen, which means you need to be prepared for a lot of cleanups. Although this seems to be logical, a lot of people don’t know that, because of all the things mentioned above, just like little human babies, puppies may also wake you up several times during the night and you will have to take your pup outside in the middle of the night. Sometimes puppies will wake you up just because they are bored or feeling lonely.

A young puppy can't be left alone for more than a few hours. It's best for the puppy to stay in a crate when alone; this aids in house training and keeps the puppy from chewing up everything in your house. However, after a few hours, it is impossible for a puppy to hold its bladder (and sometimes bowels too).

Also, puppies have a habit of exploring and chewing whatever crosses their path. Make sure that area that is being explored is safe and “puppy-proofed”. Make sure there are no medicines, hazardous food, plants, glass out in the open, where your puppy might get them. Block access to elevated porches, balconies, and decks.

french bulldog in arms

How to socialize your dog?

Socialize your puppy well. Take your puppy to different places, expose it to many different sights, sounds, animals, people, and help your puppy to grow into a well-rounded dog. 

Before you even bring your dog home, make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Dogs need food, treats, toys, food, and water bowls, collar, leash, training crate, grooming supplies, shampoo, bed, etc.

Veterinarian checkup

Right after bringing your new buddy home, take him to the vet. It is important for the puppy to have a physical examination, even if no vaccines are due. This is essential to see a condition your dog is in and to make sure there are no health problems that went undetected by the breeder, shelter, or rescue group. When choosing a veterinarian, do your research and ask around for the best one possible to take care of your dog. Find one with a great reputation whose office is not too far away from your home (so if there is an emergency, you can bring your dog in no time). Keep track of the vaccinations and take your dog to the vet whenever there is something unusual happening or your dog is acting sick. To help with this, it is always a good idea to buy health insurance to help cover large unexpected health bills.

cavalier dog

If your dog is not already microchipped, do it immediately, so you never have a chance of losing your best friend.

What dog food should I get?

Make sure that you choose an age and breed-appropriate, well-balanced nutritional diet for your dog. Your pet food choices should be guided by the pet’s specific needs, age and lifestyle. The first year is the most critical. Your puppy’s, teeth, muscles, bones, and even fur will be growing rapidly so the puppy will need more daily calories than a mature dog.

Keep in mind that dogs don’t like their routines disturbed. If you were planning on taking your dog for a walk early in the morning during the week, but want to sleep in on weekends, it is possible that your dog might not like it won’t be shy to wake you up. Dogs love their routines. 

man holding a retriever

Getting a dog makes you responsible for another life. You cannot just go away on weekends like you used to. You need to take the time to plan who is going to feed, walk, and watch over your dog in your absence, or you need to check in advance whether you can bring your dog with you.

Remember, a dog is awesome to live with, but it is also a huge responsibility. A dog needs a lot of your time, money, love, and attention. Before getting a dog, just ask yourself these questions: Am I willing to commit? Do I have the time to take care of a dog? Can I afford it? What will my life be like in five or even ten years?  Once you get a dog, you are in it for life. Your dog is a part of your family. Treat them as such!


World Dog Finder team

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