You decided to get a dog, what a wonderful idea. The dog is one of the most beloved pets, but the dog is no pet you simply can put into a crate or leave alone in the backyard. You have to assure that the adult dog won’t be left alone for more than four hours a day, hence, a puppy must not be left alone that long.
A dog is for always and forever. The dog depends on a social life, and because of that he is willing to oblige, to integrate, and to respect rules.
The secret to a long, happy relationship starts with your devotion. Are you in love with this dog? Can you live with its quirks? It is easy for emotions to take over as soon as you see these cute, little fur balls, but one of the saddest outcomes is returning a dog, because you were not the right fit for each other. Before you bring home a dog it is important to ask yourself: “Can I offer the dog what it needs?” Are you willing?
- To take responsibility for more than 10 years? You don’t have to care only for the dog, but you have to respect that there are known and unknown people that don’t like or are afraid of dogs. Outside your home you have to put him on-leash whenever such people ask you to do so.
- To spend most of your time with the dog? It is not always summer. You have to walk your pooch even if the weather conditions are not pleasant. No matter if rain, wind, snow or cold, you must be willing to spend outdoor time with your pooch in all types of weather, each and every day. You need to be aware that a pup is another family member and his training requires a great deal of time, persistence, patience, consistency, but most important, love! You have to raise and train the dog so it can lead an appropriate life, and a harmonic cohabitation with you.
- To spend a lot of money? If you don’t adopt, but buy a dog from a breeder the prices range between CHF 1000 and CHF 3000. The first time equipment (collar, leash, bed, bowls, brushes, toys, pet passport, mandatory dog training) will add up to CHF 1000 and the yearly costs (food, taxes, insurance) will make CHF 2500. Additionally you have to keep yearly veterinary costs in mind (flea & tick prevention, deworming, shots), around CHF 300, and if your dog needs surgery you might end up with CHF 4000. Unless you are not a pro you need to calculate extra costs for dog training.
- To spend your vacation with the dog? If you want to travel by plane you most likely won’t be able to take the dog with you. You would need someone experienced to take care of Fido or bring it to a boarding kennel. If you want to take the dog with you, you have to search for pet friendly accommodation and to pay between CHF 10 and CHF 35 per day.
- To say good-bye to a clean home and proper clothes? No matter how often you vacuum; there will always be dog hair or dirt somewhere, when dogs change their hair it will stick to your clothes, furniture, car seats and carpets. While training your pooch it might jump up and leave its paw prints on your clothes; you have to tolerate this.
Also important: If you are a tenant you need written permission from your landlord to keep a dog in your home.
If you don’t have a lift in your house you want to keep in mind the dog’s breed and sex (size and weight). The permanent walking of stairs is harmful to young dogs’ (< 15 months) bones and joints, sick adult dogs (if there are skeleton diseases) and old dogs. Males are heavier than females, and large breed dogs are heavier than small breed dogs. This is important, because you need to be able to carry it.
If you are not living near an off leash area you need to drive there every day, because the dog needs to discover the environment off leash, and a variety of areas. There should be some grassy area nearby your home, so Fido can be trained to not relief itself on concrete. Although you are obliged to always pick-up after your dog, if there is the exceptional case that you forgot your poop bag, it is better, it poops onto grass than onto the sidewalk. You can – and should – even train your intact male dog not to mark every house on his way.
Kids have to be dog-friendly. Growing up with a dog is a wonderful thing for children. The child does not only learn the correct handling of a dog and to take responsibility, but has a forever buddy. The dog needs to be robust and tolerant, thus having been properly socialized by the breeder. Nevertheless Fido still needs the chance to develop appropriately. Some females also watch the children. But a dog is no nanny! Your child should be older than four years before getting a pup, because a dog is no toy. You as a parent have to realize that your pooch is an additional family member who needs care and education and you are responsible for him. You always have to supervise them. After a while you may stay in the background, but be observant and ready to step in. Prepare for the extra step it takes to teach them to train the dog.
Last but not least. If you are still confident that you will be a good dog parent, all family members have to agree. Never get a dog as a gift, and double check if anyone in the family is allergic to dogs or afraid of them, before getting Fido!