23 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Dog

Questions to ask before getting a new dog

There’s no doubt that getting a new dog is an exciting time, but it’s also a huge commitment. To ensure that you’re prepared for your new best friend here’s 23 questions you should ask yourself before getting a dog.

1. Is Everyone in the Family in Agreement?

Getting a dog is a huge commitment, and it’s not something that should be taken lightly. If you want to get a dog be sure to discuss it with your family first. Don’t assume that everyone will be on board, and don’t just assume everyone will “learn to love him.” While that strategy may work sometimes it’s not a guarantee that everyone will be happy with the decision.

Talk to your spouse about it, and make sure they’re on board. Maybe he doesn’t think your current dog will get along with another, or perhaps he’d rather take that 2 week vacation before making a commitment.

2. Will You Make Time to Train Your Dog?

If you get a puppy it’s important to understand that it’s going to take a lot of time and commitment on your part to turn him into a well behaved dog. It’s not done overnight, and it’s not done just by teaching him a few tricks.

Training takes a lot of patience and consistency, and it’s about more than just potty training and tricks. You’ll be responsible form everything from properly socializing your new dog to teaching them good leash manners.

3. Will You Be Able to Take Your Dog if You Move?

Before getting another dog it’s important to take a step back and think about what you’d do if you had to move. Would you find a way to make sure your dog would be able to come with you? Would you be able to make sure you moved into a place that’s dog friendly? Is the dog you’re planning on getting subject to any breed specific legislation?

4. What Happens to the Dog When You Go on Vacation?

What will you do with your dog when you go on vacation? Will one of your friends or family be willing to take care of them for you? If not are you aware of any boarding facilities in your area you’re comfortable with?

5. Will You be Able to Provide Adequate Daily Exercise?

This is a big one, especially if you’re going to be getting a young, active dog. Without proper exercise many dogs get bored, and with that boredom comes destruction. In addition to the daily walk you can add in a game of fetch, frisbee or flirt pole to help provide your dog with adequate exercise.

6. How Long Will Your Dog Be Alone Each Day?

Not all dogs are well suited to being left along for long periods of time. If you get a puppy and work long hours consider asking a friend, relative or neighbor to let him out during lunch. If you have an energetic dog consider hiring a dog walker.

7. Are You Ready to Make a 10-15 Year Commitment?

This is a big one, and it’s important to keep in mind when getting a new dog because they’ll be with you through many life changes. Are you willing to take on the responsibility of caring for a dog for 10-15 years? Are you planning on having kids in the near future? Do you think you’ll be making any big moves?

8. Do You Know What Your Life Will be Like in 5 Years?

Now I know that you’re not psychic, but there are some questions you should ask yourself about the future before getting a dog. Do you plan on getting married? Having children? Will your job require you to move?

9. How Much Time Can You Dedicate to a Dog Each Day?

When you get home from work will you have time to take your dog for a walk? Will you be able to work in some short training sessions a couple times a day? Do you have some ways to keep your dog entertained while you’re busy?

10. If You Have Pets Will They Accept a New Dog?

If you’re not sure how your current pets will handle a new addition I suggest finding a rescue that has a foster to adopt program. By fostering first you’ll be able to guarantee that all of your pets get along before making the commitment.

11. Are You Able to Handle the Financial Responsibility?

In a perfect world we’d all have 6 months of our salary saved up in case of an emergency. But that’s not the case for most of us.

Be prepared before getting a new dog. Find out what sort of payment options your local vets offer, and if there’s clinics in your area that offer low cost services.

12. Do you Have Small Children at Home, Will You in the Future?

There’s no doubt having kids benefit from growing up with dog(s), but it’s important to make sure everyone stays safe.

Not only will you have to teach your children that the dog is not a toy and not to be teased, you’ll also want to make sure your dog doesn’t play too rough with them.

Young dogs can be quite rambunctious, so be sure you have the time available to supervise their interactions.

13. Are You Willing to Make Lifestyle Changes?

Life can be tough, and sometimes things out of our control happen. If you’re faced with sudden lifestyle changes such as having to move or working different hours will you still be able to care for your dog?

They’re a life time commitment, so be sure you have a plan in case the unthinkable arises.

14. Does Anyone in Your Home Have Pet Allergies?

Allergies are a bit one when it comes to dog ownership. While it is true there are medications that can make having pets tolerable for some you also need to take your partner and any future children into consideration.

15. If You Rent Do You Know Their Pet Policy?

Unfortunately rent policies aren’t black and white. Some policies can be negotiated with landlords, and others are pretty set in stone from the beginning.

If you don’t own a home or can see yourself renting in the future you’ll want to take your dog’s size and breed into consideration. Some places have rules against certain dog breeds (often Pitbulls, Shepherds, Rottweilers), as well as weight restrictions.

16.Does Your Community Have Any Breed Specific Legislation?

While some states and jurisdictions have banned breed specific legislation, others such as Miami and Chicago have certain rules regarding “bully breeds” in place. Be sure you check all your local rules before getting a new dog.

17. Is Your Home Ready For a Dog?

While not quite as serious as the other points, making sure your home is dog friendly/safe is another consideration to make.

Do you have a nice place outside you can take your pup to do their business? If you have a fence is it tall enough to make sure they can’t jump over it? Some large breeds (as well as some medium ones) can jump over a standard 4 foot fence.

When you go to work will you be able to keep your dog safe from things such as chewing on wires?

18. Are You Willing to Accept That Your New Dog Will Have Accidents?

This is a big one. So many young dogs get returned to the shelter because they make a mess at home, whether it’s peeing on the carpet or chewing up curtains.

Dogs, especially puppies, are a ton of work. It takes time to teach them the rules, and young dogs love to explore everything with their mouth.

If you get a puppy it’s important to understand beforehand that they’re going to chew on all the things; be prepared to spend at least a few months supervising them closely.

19. What Happens if You Can no Longer Care for Your Dog?

If the unfortunate happens and you’re unable to care for your dog do you have a backup plan? Discuss this with your family and friends, see if anyone would be willing to help if the unforseen happens.

20. Are You Prepared to Deal with Challenges Having a Dog Might Present?

Dogs give us unconditional love and affection, but it’s not without it’s challenges. Have you thought about how much your life is going to change once you’re responsible for a dog?

Do you have the time needed to provide them with enough mental and physical exercise each day? Will you be able to take them with you on vacation, if not where will they stay? If you spend nights out who will be there to take care of the dog?

21. Have You Researched What Sort of Dog Will Suit Your Lifestyle?

Dogs come in all different shapes and sizes, and that’s true for their personalities as well. You also need to take age into consideration.

No matter what breed you get a puppy will be a ton of work. Are you willing to take on a rambunctious pup, or do you want a more mellow companion from the get go?

If you’re a first time dog owner whose just looking for a couch potato companion you’re probably not well suited to a Border Collie.

Take your time researching breeds, and take as many of those dog breed selector quizzes as you can until you have a better understanding of what sort of activity level you’re looking for and what breeds sound compatible.

22. Are You Getting a Dog That’s Right For the Whole Family?

Now this is a big one; just because you have your heart set on a Pomeranian puppy doesn’t mean it’s the perfect dog for your whole family.

If you have younger kids you might want to consider which breeds are great for kids. If you have a social lifestyle look into friendly breeds that are known to get along with everyone.

If you’re not set on getting a puppy I recommend visiting your local shelter or rescue. There’s tons of dogs available, and if you adopt from a dog that’s already being fostered in a home you should be able to get a pretty good sense of their personality.

23. Have You Researched Where You’re Getting Your Dog From?

It’s easier than ever to get a dog these days, but that also comes with risks.

Many of the “buy a purebreed puppy” sites are puppy mills, meaning you’ll end up with a dog whose had little to no socialization before they get to your home. It also means the breeder is more dedicated to churning out pups than they are to the overall health of their litters. So be very cautious when searching online, and if your have your mind set on a purebred dog do your research to make sure they come from a reputable breeder.

You can also use a site like petfinder to narrow down your search by breed, age, kid friendly, cat friendly etc. It’s the perfect way to get matched with dogs in your area looking for a home.

Questions to ask before getting a new dog

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