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     10 things you need to know BEFORE getting a dog   

By: Debbie Ray

There are different points to think about whenever you are thinking about getting a dog for you or your family. You really want to match your new pets needs and personality to you and your family as closely as possible. Please, please, please, never get a dog on impulse. With any luck you're choosing a dog that is likely to be with you for several years. Select the right dog, and you will both enjoy all those years. Choose the wrong one, and you'll both regret it.

If you don't take the time to plan a bit ahead of time right now, you will probably regret it in the future. This is one of the main reasons that shelters are so full of unwanted pets today - and one thing that could easily be avoided. One good idea is to look for a dog rescue group or reputable breeder when choosing a dog - and to avoid getting a dog at a pet store.

This single decision can be overwhelming. The selection of available dog types is truly amazing. Did you know the dog comes in more than 400 different breeds? There is more variation among dogs than in any other animal species. Dogs can come in all shapes, sizes, coat types and personalities.

Your job is to find the perfect dog breed that fits both your personality and your lifestyle. So, here is a list of things, in no particular order, that you'll want to take into consideration when deciding on whether or not you should get a dog in the first place.

1) Why do you want a dog in the first place? Do you simply want a companion, a dog for protection purposes, a dog to participate in sports activities with, or some other reason? Again, you must research the breeds carefully. Example: if you want a dog that can be trained to duck hunt with you then a Corgi may not be the right breed for you.

2) Do you want a purebred or mixed breed dog? Unfortunately, many animal shelters and dog rescue organizations will have plenty of each. The main difference between purebreds or mixed breeds is that with the pure breeds you will have a much better chance of knowing how big he'll be once he reaches adulthood and what basic physical and behavioral characteristics he will probably have.

3) Learn all you can about the different individual dog breeds: visit local dog shows if possible to see many different dog breeds in one location, speak with groomers, dog breeders and your veterinarian. These dog professionals can all offer you more insight into various dog breeds - the good and bad of each, and can help you decide on a few dog breeds that you may be really interested in.

4) Are you already an experienced dog owner, or will this be your first dog ever? There are a lot of dog breeds that are not appropriate for a first time owner. Knowing all you can about the breed and what the breed was originally bred to do (it's original job) is a big step in understanding the dog and what you could possibly expect from it.

5) What is your lifestyle? Are you sedentary or are you very active? Some dog breeds require a lot of daily exercise both mental and physical. A half hour walk given to a Basset Hound is no where near enough exercise for an Australian Shepherd. Researching many dog breeds thoroughly before getting one is truly essential.

6) Can you properly house your new dog? Dogs are very social animals and your new dog should really be part of your family pack - they really do better when they are a real part of the family. And the best place for your new dog is in your home with you. You should also have a securely fenced area for your dog to exercise in. Having your dog chained in the back yard is not proper housing and is also very cruel. Which brings up a new issue.....

7) How much time can you truly devote to your new dog each day? Can you really commit to the dog for it's entire life? What if you have to move? Add another child to your family? If you have children, are you ready to teach the kids to peacefully co-exist with the dog? If you can't devote time to raising the dog, making sure it is socialized and well trained for the rest of it's life, then please, do not get one.

8) Puppy or adult dog? Keep in mind, puppies require a lot more work than adult dogs overall. You will have to schedule additional time for puppy classes, training, socialization, and many other activities. Remember, these are babies. Housebreaking and teething are just a few of the things you'll have to go through with a small puppy, but not necessarily an adult dog. Training and learning is a lifetime activity. Attending one obedience class does not make your dog trained.

9) Can you afford to own a dog throughout it's entire life? Getting the puppy or dog is just the beginning. Now comes all the other things you'll need to get: vet checks, leashes, collars, extra toys, all sorts of treats, a crate and other necessary supplies, puppy shots every few weeks, training classes, food (the bigger the dog the more food you'll go through), medical emergencies, etc.

10) What about dog grooming? All dog breeds need grooming of some kind even the hairless ones! Some breeds require only a few minutes of brushing once a day while others may require professional grooming. It's very important to know that all dogs also need regular attention to their teeth, ears and nails. Also, all dogs shed - some dog breeds may shed less than others but this is one fact you must accept.

I hope all these steps have gotten you to thinking that adding a dog to your life is no small thing. Impulse buying can often lead to trouble. It's your job as a future dog owner to think about both your life as well as several dog breeds to help decide on which breed is the best possible match for you - BEFORE you bring that new dog home.

Debbie Ray, owner of http://www.pedigreedpups.com , http://www.the-website-doctor.com , http://www.pedigreeddogs.com and http://www.total-german-shepherd.com is a dog owner, teacher and an internet business owner. Want to learn how to build a website by yourself? Interested in purebred dogs? Check my sites out anytime for more info. Let me teach you more.

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