5 Things to Think About BEFORE Getting a Dog

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Tyler and I adopted a PUPPY!  We had been talking about getting a dog for what felt like a century before we FINALLY decided we were ready.  Meet MURPHY!  He’s a Redbone Coonhound/Australian Shepherd mix from Hope Animal Rescues in Godfrey, Illinois.  He, along with his mother and litter mates, were rescued from a local animal control facility.  You’ll be seeing a lot of this little guy!

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Our Murphy at 12 weeks old!

I’ve worked with animals all my life – dolphins, cats, penguins, wallabies, goats, sea lions… you name it – but I’ve never worked with dogs.  So, me being me, I did hours upon hours of hours of research on puppy care, training, breeders, shelters, and rescues.  I’ve compiled enough information to keep even the most curious people busy for a year or two.  Now that I have a few tricks up my sleeve, let me share with you some of the things we learned while looking for our furry friend!

Are you ready?

Before you even start looking for a dog, really take the time to figure out if you’re ready.  Granted, you can never be totally ready – getting a dog will change your life, in more ways than one- but you need to committed to your pet for as long as he lives.  That means every single day, even the chaotic, poop-everywhere kind of days.

What are you looking for in a dog

Are you looking for a couch-potato partner?  A jogging companion?  A hefty protector?  An agility master?  These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you find yourself a pup.  If you’re only interested in long naps interspersed with episodes of ‘Making a Murder’, a Border Collie is probably not for you.  Or if you’re hoping your Pomeranian will be the next disc dog champion, you’re probably going to be disappointed.  Do some research before committing to a particular breed.  You’ll want to make sure it’s not only a good match for you, but also for your dog.  Your non-shredded sofa will thank me later :-).

What are your plans?

You may come to find that adopting a dog is darn near impossible.  Some applications can be very extensive, requiring all kinds of information.  Is the dog going to be inside or outside?  Will it have free range of the house or be kept in a kennel?  What are your plans for potty training?  How will you approach obedience training?  All of these are very important questions.  Consider them carefully.  What I’ve found is the longer the application, the more reputable the breeder/shelter.  Make sure you have your own list of questions, too!

To puppy or not to puppy?

Most people are dead set on getting a puppy, but always keep an open mind.  I have a passion for training animals, so I really wanted to start with a puppy.  Eleni and I will be the first to tell you, though, having a puppy is A LOT OF WORK.  You’ll be cleaning up messes, avoiding sharp puppy teeth…you’ll be frustrated, tired, and on the brink of giving up.  You’ll look into those big puppy eyes and think, “How can something so small have such a large attitude??”  They’re cute for a reason!  But if you think you’re ready to raise a puppy, you won’t regret it!  If you aren’t so sure, consider adopting an older dog!  They might just come potty trained, house trained, MORE than ready to be loved, and desperately in need of a forever home!

Have you considered adopting?

While I have nothing against good, responsible breeders, Tyler and I chose to adopt from a rescue.  The number of dogs living in shelters is astounding.  The best part of adopting is that you get the chance to save two lives- the dog you adopt, and the one who gets to take his place.

I hope these tips have given you something to think about!  Now go out and find your pup!!

~Megan

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