Considering a new pup is an important decision that requires a balance between the practical side of you and the side that loves waking up to a furry face in the morning. Dogs are indeed lots of work, but the rewards are unparalleled. For many, being a pet parent is a rewarding adventure with lots of sloppy kisses and fun times along the way.
Determining if you have time for a dog comes down to several critical factors, including the choice of dog breeds, your living circumstances and the amount of time, money and effort you’re willing to put into your pet.
Do I Have Time For A Dog? Making the Decision to Become a Dog Owner
Perhaps you’ve been considering getting a dog for some time or seen other pet parents at the park with their canines and realized what you were missing. No matter the catalyst, there are a few considerations when deciding to get a new dog.
- Consider the time you have to give to a new dog: Some dogs require more time than others, but dogs are social animals, especially when it comes to time spent with you. Make sure you choose a dog breed that aligns with your lifestyle in terms of how much attention you can offer. The last thing you want is to end up with a pup that needs you to spend quality time with them often when you can’t do so.
- Determine if your house can accommodate a new dog: You don’t need all the space in the world for your new addition, but you do need enough for them to have a small spot. You also need some space for their stuff. Choose your breed wisely, depending on your home. For instance, a mini goldendoodle may do well in an apartment, whereas a standard-sized labradoodle might need a little more room to stretch out.
Prepare for Your New Pet
Once you’ve decided to embark on the journey of pet parenthood, you’ll quickly realize that preparation is vital when a dog comes into your home. The more you prepare in advance, the smoother the transition will be in those first weeks regarding your dog’s behavior.
Create a Designated Area for Your Furry Companion
Many dogs thrive in their own spaces, just like their humans do. They also need their own alone time to calm down and rest. Set their crate or bed up near yours or in a quiet area of your home. Place toys and blankets in this area so your dog will quickly learn this space is its own.
Gather Essential Supplies for Pet Care
Some things — like treats and food — you’ll make decisions on with your dog. After all, it does you little good to stock up on a specific type of food if your dog hates it. However, you can gather some basics, including feeding bowls, a collar and leash, hygiene supplies, poop bags and a few toys. These will get you started, and you can gather more as you learn about your dog’s personality.
Create a List of Dog-Related Service Providers
The first few weeks of being a pet parent will be consumed by time spent learning about your new family member. Take the time before your new pup comes home to make a list of service providers so you have it ready.
Look for a reputable dog sitter, in case you need to travel, and a dog walker (if you work extensive hours and can’t let your pup out at crucial points in the day). You might also find a nearby doggy daycare for the same reason — you might find a pet sitter with tons of experience at the daycare.
Seek out the nearest dog park so you know where you can expose your pet to other dogs, since they’re such social creatures. This might be an excellent place to establish an exercise routine and an ideal destination for dog walkers to take your dog on the days you can’t.
Find a vet to quickly schedule an initial consultation when your newest family member arrives and a dog groomer so you can get on a grooming schedule immediately. A reputable dog trainer is also a good idea if you have a new puppy that requires training for potty breaks.
Establish a Routine With Your Furry Friend Right Away
One of the best things you can do for pets during any transitional period is to establish a routine and stick to it. Consistency is critical for pet owners and their family members. Most healthy pets do best when they know what to expect regarding feeding times, potty breaks, exercise and sleep schedules. A routine will help reduce stress for your new puppy and help it adjust to its new life with you.
A training course can also help in establishing a routine, especially as you try to establish good behavior habits right away. Training and routine go hand-in-hand for this purpose.
If you have a young puppy, be prepared for a few sleepless nights as it adjusts to your schedule. Younger dogs might also be more prone to separation anxiety than their adult dog counterparts. Dog care may vary by age, so consider this when deciding between a new puppy and an older dog.
Consistency in eating schedules will determine the efficacy of any potty break schedule you set for your puppy. Remember that puppies can typically “hold” their need to eliminate at a rate of one hour for every month of life. However, in those initial days, anxiety and stress associated with the transition might make them need to eliminate more often than usual. If you work long hours or have a busy schedule, plan for this using a dog walker, as getting in a walk is critical for dogs of all ages.
Adjust Your Expectations of What Equals Enough Time for a Dog
The truth is that most pet parents would prefer to enjoy time with their dogs over just about anything else. However, that’s just not the reality for most. This means you may need to adjust your expectations accordingly. Most dogs can thrive on quality time as much as they do the quantity of time you can offer.
For instance, if you spend many daylight hours a day away from home, consider doggy daycare so your new companion gets the attention it needs. Take your pet for a long walk before and after work to get your time in.
Ultimately, how much time you give your dog is less important than how you spend the time you have together engaging in activities that make your furry companion happy. There are plenty of options to work your dog into your busy life as long as you’re willing to show them the love, attention and care they deserve.