- Consider adopting an older dog or a rescue dog. Older dogs are usually more mellow and better trained if a puppy isn’t for you. Plus, there are plenty of dogs out there that need a loving home!
- Think carefully about the breed of dog you’d like to own, and ask questions. Make sure the needs of the breed you’d like fit your family and lifestyle.
- Consider the cost of dog ownership and make a budget for food, veterinary care, toys, and training classes.
Once you own a dog…
- Commit for the long haul. Serious bumps in the road can lead families to give up a beloved pet, but this shouldn’t be a go-to solution, and you shouldn’t “trade-in” your dog due to any issue.
- Find a great vet. Health issues will happen from time to time and your responsibility as a dog owner is to help manage them.
- Train your dog. Behavioral issues can usually be managed with classes or behavioral therapy.
- If you find yourself with an illness or disability that makes it hard to care for your dog, turn to family, friends, or rescue groups for help. Chances are, you can work together to care for your dog. Plus, your dog will likely be of great comfort to you.