IS A DOG THE RIGHT COMPANION FOR YOU?
Caring for a companion animal goes far beyond providing food, water and shelter. It also takes planning for expected and unexpected medical expenses. The average first year cost of owning a dog is over $1,000 and $500 each year after. It takes research and careful planning to bring the right pet into your home, and to make sure your lifestyle is the right one for your pet.
When adopting, you are making a commitment to care for an animal for the rest of its life—that could mean 10 to 15 years for dogs. Before adopting, consider the ways your life and circumstances could change such as moves, the birth of children, and new jobs; are you prepared for your pet to remain a permanent part of your life?
And is your home prepared for a new pet? Whether it’s tightly sealing your garbage cans or paying attention to dangerous decorations during the holidays, you’ll need to make your home safe before adopting. That includes keeping toxic foods, pet-unfriendly plants, and dangerous household items out of paw’s reach.
How Do You Pick Your Next Best Friend?
OK. You want a dog. Now you have to decide: Do you want an energetic puppy, an active adolescent, a calm adult or a snugly senior dog? Is a small, cuddly lap dog, a high-energy working breed, or a big comfortable couch potato the right match?
Yes, puppies are adorable and they have that sweet puppy breath, but they are also new to the world. You will have to teach them everything! A young adult dog may give you the energy level you want without all the training involved with a puppy. Adult dogs are settled and usually adapt quickly to your routine. Senior dogs make great companions. They are usually potty-trained, know basic commands, and walk well on leash.
Energy is the most important choice when picking a dog. And size doesn’t always predict a dog’s activity level. Small terriers have high energy; big lab mixes can be low-key. Working/herding breeds like Aussies, heelers, and collies are intelligent and need lots of exercise and training.
AAR highly recommends crate training for all dogs. If you train your dog to be content in a crate, the benefits are enormous: the dog is safe, cozy & secure; no worrying about accidents or destruction; you can relax when guests visit and more! The basics: Give them a command to enter, such as “kennel.” Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat, and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to ten minutes, and then go into another room for a few minutes.