Getting a dog?

My husband and I love dogs. You could say we’re “dog people”. And it riles us to see dogs left behind in yards without much shelter, tied to a chair or post, without much human contact, looking very unkempt and forlorn. I’m no dog expert but I do believe I’m a responsible dog person. And as such, I have learned to always consider the pointers below before thinking of getting a new dog. These are tips I wish I could just print out and post on the doors of all our irresponsible dog neighbors.

Peanut & Bulldog the toySo if you’re thinking of getting a dog, or any pet for that matter, do consider the following tips:

1. Do your research.

It’s pretty simple, really. The internet is loaded with information about all breeds available and their proper care, so there is absolutely no excuse to be ignorant.

2. Know yourself.

Do you really want a dog, and if you do, can you really handle the responsibility? Can you afford it? What type of breed will suit your personality and lifestyle?

Please, people, a dog is not a show-thing, a status symbol or an alarm system — it’s a pet. It is very disheartening to see a teacup-sized Chihuahua tied to a window outside our neighbor’s house. It’s a toy dog, for crying out! Let it stay inside your house and take care of it.  It needs love and attention, just like we do.

Don’t forget the bills you will incur from buying dog food, vet visits, pet sitters, and what not. It can all add up really fast!

Are you the type of person who loves to take long walks in the park? All dogs love to take a stroll. Are you out of the house for eight to twelve hours, six days a week? Be sure to get a dog that does not require a lot of exercise and is content to be left at home for long hours (though I still wouldn’t recommend a pet at this point). Are you OC about your house and furniture? Then get a dog that doesn’t shed, or that sheds very little.

3. Be ready to train your dog.

If you want to enjoy your pet to the fullest, train it or have it trained. No one wants urine and feces all over the carpet! A well-behaved dog is a joy to have.

4. Socialize your dog.

If you want your dog to get along with everyone in your household and your immediate community or circle of friends, introduce it right away. Expose your dog to different situations with different people — on leash, of course.

5. Love your dog.

Our dogs give us so much love (their way of loving) and dedication, mostly undeserved. Let’s love them too. In fact, let’s love them first. It is a joy to come home to wagging tails and excited jumps. All the effort on our part will be worth it.

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