1: What do you hope to get out of the relationship?
Looking for a four-legged couch potato to cuddle is a lot different than seeking a high-energy dog to run marathons with! Zeroing in on why you really want a dog will help you determine which breeds will best fit best your lifestyle.
2: What’s your stance on exercise?
Dogs come in many shapes, sizes, and energy levels, so we recommend doing your research on breeds and breed mixes. Some need a few hours of hardcore exercise daily while others are content with a walk or two around the block. How much time you plan to devote to exercising your pup will be a huge factor when it comes to settling on a breed or mix. You want a pooch that can keep up with you—and vice versa!
3: Are you ready for the long-term commitment?
Owning a dog can mean missing out on after-work activities, having to leave evening outings early, and taking fewer spontaneous trips. While most pet parents adapt quickly to this, a shift in one’s social and work life is an important aspect to consider.
4: Do you have time to devote to proper training?
Whether you’ve adopted a 8-week-old puppy or a senior dog, setting aside time to train your pup is key in strengthening your overall relationship and ensuring you have a well-mannered, trustworthy pup. Adult and senior pups tend to need less training; puppies might require up to a few hours a day of diligent coaching for the first few months (but we promise it’s worth it)!
5: Are you ready for the financial responsibility?
Keep in mind that the average American household spends around $636 a year on their dog**. This doesn’t include unexpected expenses like vet bills, pet sitters, and springing for that really cute doghouse that looks just like your dream house. Also, certain breeds require more grooming than others which can set you back a few hundred dollars a year.
6: Do you have time to spend time with your dog every day?
Owning a dog can be a big time commitment and, while it varies from breed to breed, most pups need at least a few hours of daily exercise and/or companionship. If your current schedule doesn’t allow for this, make sure you can make adjustments to fit in quality time before bringing home a four-legged friend.
7: How much destruction will you put up with at home?
Puppies are notorious for the damage they can wreak while they’re teething, and highly intelligent dogs like Border Collies and German Shorthaired Pointers can get very destructive when they’re bored. If your tolerance for potential damage is low, think about adopting a more mellow breed like a Havanese or Great Dane, or an adult or senior pup.
8: Is your family, partner, or roommate also ready for a dog?
Getting a pet directly affects everyone in the house. Make sure to have frank conversations with them about what their expectations are.
9: Do you have support from your community?
It takes a village to raise a pup and you’ll want to make sure to have the support you need. From finding the perfect pet sitter when you’re out of town to seeking out a trustworthy neighbors to pitch in when you’re getting home late, having a supportive community makes dog ownership a much more enjoyable experience.
10: What will your life be like in 5 years? 10 years?
Currently, you may have plenty of time to devote to a pup. But what does your next decade have in store? Though we can’t perfectly predict what life will bring, if you’re planning on moving internationally, having children, or considering other big life changes, it’s important to think about what kind of dog would fit into your current and future plans.
11: If you already have a pet, will they be able to accept the new pup?
Does your current dog have have a history of loving one another, even cats and dogs are able to coexist nicely.
Written by Priscilla Liang