Sparkles and Sunshine: 12 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting A Dog

12 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting A Dog

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I can't believe Diesel is 11 months old this month! Where has the time gone! I still remember when we got him last December when he was only 3 months old. He was definitely a handful haha. :) Having a dog is a big responsibility. You have to feed them, exercise them and make sure they stay healthy and strong from the vet.

 If you're debating whether or not you should get a dog, below are some questions Diesel wants you to ask yourself:
1) Do you have the time?
If you get a puppy, be prepared to take it on a ton of potty breaks! Puppies, like babies have to be potty trained. When I first got Diesel, I came home everyday on my lunch break to let him out for months. I'm pretty sure I started leaving him in longer duration's at six or seven months old. If you get an older dog (depending how old), you still might have to potty train. If not, there's still plenty that you will need time for!

2) Can you afford your pet?
Pets are expensive! Vet bills, food, treats and toys all cost a lot. When you first get a dog, immediately take it to the vet. Most puppies need multiple rounds of shots when you first get them and older dogs, depending if you are rescuing or purchasing, may still need some extra shots as well. 
In terms of food and treats, it really depends on what you get. I highly recommend talking to your vet about quality food that is in your budget. Not every food is right for every dog. We've been through a few! Also, know that just because the food is super expensive, doesn't mean it's the best for your dog. 

3) Do you have somewhere to exercise your dog?
Exercising your dog is extremely important! You wouldn't want to lie around in bed all day right? Well, depending on the day you ask! :) If you have a house, having a fenced in back yard is a must-have. This gives your dog plenty of room to run and play without the worry of them running off. If you live in an apartment like me, take your dog to the dog park if it has one or see if there is a local dog park nearby. The benefits of going to a dog park is the socialization! I've talked about this a few times before, but it truly does help your dog no matter the age! 
If you don't have the best access to what I mentioned above, taking your dog on a good 20-30 minute walk each day is a great form of exercise!

4) Do you know how to train a dog or do you have access to dog training?
Having your dog trained is super important. You never want the dog to think that it is alpha because then it will think it is in control of you and that it can get away with anything. We took Diesel to get trained at our local Petsmart. Petsmart has different levels of training starting at puppy! We had great success at Petsmart with the best trainer ever, Katie! If you prefer Petco over Petsmart, I know that they offer training as well.
If you don't want to go to either of those stores, ask your vet or some other friends that have pets to see what trainers they used locally. Training is definitely not limited to Petsmart or Petco! :) 
One thing to note here is that this should also be factored into the costs that you will be spending on your dog! Training isn't cheap. 

5) Will the dog be by itself or will it have a companion?
I always recommend starting with one dog if it is your first ever or if it is your first dog on your own since your parents. With everything that I have mentioned above, just think how insane it would be to double that all at once! Our plan is to wait until Diesel is at least two before we get another dog. One huge benefit of doing this is that once your first dog is very well trained and more mature, the new dog will learn so much from the older dog. My dog back home Aiden teaches Diesel something new every single time we go home! Granted, Aiden is a genius. :) #notbiased 

6) Do you have a way of socializing your dog?
Again, this is super important! We socialized Diesel by taking him to our dog park at our apartment complex, the local dog park, training classes at PetSmart and basically everywhere we could go that is dog friendly. 

7) Do you want a dog that’s children friendly?
Every type of dog has a different personality. Growing up, I only had Labrador Retrievers, aka the best family dogs ever! If you have a family, you definitely want a dog that fits that lifestyle. Some dogs are meant to be "it," meaning no kids. I highly recommend checking out the AKC breed list here to find a breed that works best for you!

8) Are you an athlete that wants a running partner?
You want to pick a breed that matches your lifestyle. If you're someone who's always on the go or if you have a very athletic routine, you should get a high energy dog. If you're more relaxed you should get a more chill dog. Going back to the question above, a mild manner dog is one you would want if you have kids! 

9) What age of dog do you want? Puppy or older dog?
All of the questions above can help you answer this one! Puppies definitely require more time and money up front, but you can train them from the beginning! Older dogs can be easier because some can already be trained (not always). 
10) Do you want to adopt or buy from a breeder?
We rescued Diesel from a local shelter and I am so happy that we did. The day that we saw him, we found out that the day before, a couple had brought him there. The shelter told us that the couple that got him was a newly wed couple that decided to get a dog after marriage, not realizing what came with that. We were beyond excited to give Diesel his furever home and he's been happier ever since! 
I'm not opposed to breeders either though. While adopting is such a great option, a lot of people want a specific breed and sometimes that's hard to find. My family and I used to breed purebred Labrador Retrievers so my family and I have a lot of knowledge in this area!
However, if you are looking at pet shops, the one thing I will make you aware of, is not every animal you get from a pet shop is coming from the right place. Some dogs come from places like puppy mills which are horrible places where dogs are bred until they can't anymore. These are being shut down as they are found, but they are still out there. My main advice is just to be cautious and do your research!

11) What size dog do you want?
I personally am a big dog person! Always have been. I like to feel protected and secure. While that might be my preference, it isn't everyone's! When you look at the breed list mentioned above, also take into consideration the size you want! It will definitely help narrow down your options! 
12) Are you a cat person or a dog person? 
Now, with this being my last question, I have to ask. Are you a cat person or a dog person? If you're looking for something low maintenance to start with, cats are definitely the way to go. I have had my two wonderful boys for 12 years now (holy cow!) and they are my pride and joy just like Diesel. If you want something more than that, then I would say a dog is the route to go! 
You can have both though! Of course I wouldn't get them both at once but just know that they can! My cats have been around multiple puppies in their lifetime and so while they aren't super excited about dogs they can definitely deal with Diesel. :) 
Before I end this article, I can't leave without showing you Diesel's brothers Oscar and Felix. He wanted me to introduce you to them. :)
I hope this helped you make your decision. I am more than happy to help with any other questions you might have. If I don't know the answer, I definitely recommend reaching out to your local rescue shelter or vet. They will have plenty of information to help you with your decision!

Shirt is from Francesca's :) 

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