So, you want to get a dog, do you? That’s fantastic news, and we’re over the moon for you. However, if you’ve not yet decided you’re 100% ready to make the move, there are plenty of things that still need some mulling over. For instance, have you considered whether you’ll need to alter your work schedule? Or how much you’ll need to budget for pet supplies? These are just a couple of the important questions you need to ask yourself.
Whether you’re absolutely certain you’re ready, or there’s still more research to be done, every potential pet owner could use a little refresher course in the matter. Here’s what you need to have before bringing home a pup of your own.
1. You have enough time to devote to a dog
Having enough time to train a dog is probably the single most important requirement of a new dog owner. Even if you adopt an adult dog, you and your home are brand new for him, which means he still needs lots of your time and attention. Whether he’s already an impeccably trained canine or he’s entering your life in need of some TLC, any new pet will have a bit of an adjustment period in his new digs — and with his new owner.
Next: As an alternative, you have a flexible job.
2. You work from home
Let’s say you do work long hours, and scheduling time for yourself — or mental breaks at the very least — isn’t exactly your strong suit. However, if you work remotely or can convince your boss to let you work from home a few days a week, you may be in the clear. Just be sure you and whoever else lives at your house have come up with a clear schedule of doggy-duty days. If your in-office days overlap with your partner’s, make sure you do some research on dog walking services in your area.
Next: This is a must.
3. You’re financially stable
Caring for a dog is no cheap task. You need to budget before taking the leap, and if your current bank account isn’t able to support another member of the family, it’s a clear sign you’re not ready to take on the responsibility.
When considering your pet expenses, you should be thinking about supplies, standard procedures such as getting him or her neutered or spayed, and out-of-the-blue emergencies. Rather than budgeting Sparky down to the cent, make sure you have enough emergency funds, just in case the unexpected pops up.
Next: Is your environment right for a dog?
4. You live in a dog-friendly community
Not all areas are dog-friendly, so it’s imperative you know how your current community compares. Are there other friendly dogs in the neighborhood? Does your town have ample dog parks or outdoor space? And what about any breed restrictions your city may have? These are all important questions you need to ask.
Next: This point applies to those who rent rather than own.
5. Your city has plenty of pet-friendly housing options
Not only does your community need to be dog-friendly, but it needs to have enough housing options that allow pets. You could be living in the most dog-friendly city in the world — a place where pooches are welcomed with open arms on every trail and at every sidewalk cafe. But until you know for sure what the housing options look like, there’s still some digging to be done.
Next: Addicted to travel? It might not be the right time to get a dog.
6. You have no plans to relocate or take a big trip
Once you’ve determined your town, city, and housing location are ideal, it’s important you take into consideration any pending plans you have on your calendar. As long as you’re not planning on quitting your job and traveling the world for the next two years, you should be able to pick an appropriate time to get a dog. Just as a new pup needs to be a match for you, he needs to be a match for your lifestyle, too.
Next: How much do you really know about the breed you want?
7. You’ve done your research on different kinds of breeds
There are tons of breeds out there. From those that are great with kids to those that don’t require much physical activity, there’s a dog breed for just about every kind of dog lover that exists. Some are smart, while others need to hang on to every command you give them. There are dogs that are independent, and those that prefer to cuddle every time you’re on the couch. You just need to figure out which breed best suits your personality.
Next: Puppy sighting? Move over, folks.
8. You abandon whatever you’re doing the moment you see a puppy
PUPPY! If you’re one to shriek at the sight of an adorable pooch, we’re right there with you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re dining al fresco with a hot date or you’re in the middle of a load of laundry and you happen to peek out the window at the right moment. If you spot a pup, you’re there.
Before you can even talk to the owner — which you really should to ask for permission before going in for the puppy kisses — you’ve already managed to get the pup on its back for a belly rub. Yes, this is the life of a dog-lover, and it only gets better once you’ve gotten your own.
Next: You never consider this task a waste of time.
9. You spend (any amount of) time searching dog websites and blogs
Anyone who’d rather spend their time scouring dog gear sites and reading articles about how you know when your dog is sick — when they don’t actually have a dog of their own — clearly has a case of serious puppy fever. Perhaps you’ve already picked out a dog bowl set that matches your kitchen perfectly. Or maybe you start dropping doggy fun facts around your friends. Rest assured, these are signs you’re eager to get a dog, and it’s only a matter of time before you do.
Next: Fancy yourself a neat freak? Think hard before bringing home a pup.
10. You’re not worried about fancy furniture
Some people keep their home so perfect that it seems as though no one actually lives there. The decor is impeccable, and the sofas aren’t made for sitting. And don’t even think about stepping foot in the living room — the furniture is far too fancy. You, however, are not one of these people, which is great.
Bringing any type of animal into your home comes with an adjustment period. Even dogs who eventually learn to stay out of certain rooms and keep off the couch didn’t always know those rules. Lucky for you and your future pup, you don’t really care. (Or at least you’re more than happy to throw a blanket over the furniture in the meantime, just in case.)
Next: If your friend’s going out of town, you’re the dog-sitter to call.
11. You’re the go-to dog sitter for everyone you know
Do you fancy yourself a surrogate pet parent to dogs who belong to your loved ones? Yeah, we thought so. Your world revolves around knowing the next time your friend will be going out of town. When the time comes, you’re right there, ready and waiting to swoop in as dog-sitter extraordinaire. You become overjoyed at the mere thought of having your beloved fur-niece or nephew all to yourself for an extended amount of time. So much, in fact, that your friends sometimes find it irritating that you ask when they’re leaving again.
Next: The bar is no match for a dog waiting at home for you.
12. You’d rather go home early to snuggle with a dog than stay out
Do you dream of slipping out of your social event early just to snuggle with Sparky? Oh yeah, this is a definitely a good sign. There’s pretty much nothing better than walking in the door to a wagging tail, and leaving the bar early is certainly worth it. Folks who are ready for a dog know their social life will change, and that’s more than OK with them.
Next: All dogs need walks.
13. You love spending time outside
Do you drool at the thought of having a new hiking buddy? Us too. If this sounds like you, you definitely need a furry friend to take along with you on all your adventures — so long as everything else is a match, too. Even if you end up getting an apartment-dwelling dog, you’re going to have to be comfortable going outside for walks, at the very least. Lucky for you, a pup is the perfect excuse to get more time in the sun.
Next: You’re a cleaning pro, and you don’t mind doing it.
14. You’re not easily grossed out
You’re going to have to pick up dog poop; that’s just the way it is. And that’s not all you’re likely to encounter. There are lots of less-than-desirable substances dogs leave behind, including puppy puke, icky slobber, and furballs galore. So, if you have a weak stomach, the daily duties of owning a dog may not be up your alley, after all.
Next: A dog really is man’s best friend.
15. You want a best friend who will always be by your side
Simply put, you want a dog, and deep down, you know you’re ready. You’re nothing short of overjoyed at the very thought of finding your perfect match. You dream of the day you find the right breeder or shelter, and you just know it’s only a matter of time before your newest best friend chooses you as his lifelong companion. Ah, dogs, they’re just the greatest.