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This page last updated: 12/24/2011


Sari B. Tietjen

Before you get a dog, there are several questions that MUST first be asked.  This is because all dogs have certain needs and requirements that will last for a lifetime.  A dog depends on its human owners for care, conditioning and love.  This dependency is rewarded many times over with the dog’s unquestioned devotion and heartfelt affection.

A dog quickly becomes a family member and, as such, it must be able to fit in with the family’s lifestyle.  If it is the wrong breed of dog, brought home for the wrong reason, and/or one that fails to meet your expectations, then instead of the animal becoming a beloved member of the family, it could become a burden and an outcast.  With careful consideration about the needs and requirements of different breeds and thought as to how this pertains to your own lifestyle, the end result will be four-legged loving companion that will bring you much joy and happiness for years to come.

There are almost 150 different AKC recognized breeds of dogs.  They come in many shapes and sizes. Some breeds have long hair, others are short-haired; some need lots of room to run, others just a small yard; some require laps to sit in, others are more independent.  Before bringing a dog home  to become a part of your family, you should ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers. Then seek a dog that best meets your responses to those questions:

When considering a dog . . .

If a puppy. . . .

do you know how big it will grow?

do you have enough room, both inside and outside, to meet its exercise needs?

do you know how active it will be?

will its temperament and personality fit your own?

will it constantly need attention?

do you have the time to train the puppy?

is it easy to housebreak?

are you prepared to forego other activities in order to tend to the pup’s needs?

can you afford the necessary vaccinations and visits to the veterinarian?

If an adult. . . the above, plus. . .

can you provide sufficient daily exercise routines for the dog?

do you have time to spend taking care of the dog’s emotional needs?

are there special dietary needs?

are there any health problems that you should consider and be aware of?

do you have a safe place to keep the dog when you are not at home?

will its coat require special care and professional grooming?

Other thoughts that should be considered are . . .

Do not bring a dog into your life if you are not prepared to. . .

spend quality time with the dog

make personal sacrifices in order to see to the dog’s needs

feed, groom and house it properly

be forgiving if it goes to the bathroom where it should not

“deal with dog hair”

take it to training classes, if necessary

treat the dog as a four-legged member of your family

accept the responsibilities of dog ownership

Do bring a dog into your life, if you want . . .

a companion who asks no questions, makes no judgments

someone who loves you regardless of who you are, what you do or how much money you have in the bank

to come home to a presence that immediately fills the room with love and devotion when you walk through the door

to live a life that is mindful while being minded, loving while being loved, and caring while being cared for

In short, dogs are man’s best friends and most faithful companions, but they do bring with them responsibilities and obligations that must be considered by anyone thinking about getting a dog.