There is no argument that dogs are man’s best friend. They provide companionship, protection, support and unwavering love. It is no surprise that dogs are present in most homes across America. However the harsh reality is most people are unprepared or lack the understanding of what caring for our four legged friends entails. This has led to over three million dogs in shelters across American and over a thousands dogs euthanized a day. This article is an insight into our “Is a Dog Life for Me Class” to help people navigate the dog world and make the right decision for themselves and their future furry companion. 

The first thing you need to consider is your life-style. Do you work long hours? Do you live in an apartment or do you have a house with a nice sized yard? Do you have children or other pets? All of these are important questions when moving forward with the purchase of a dog. If you are gone for most of the day, a high energy dog will not fit your lifestyle. You might want to consider an older dog instead of a puppy who is content with some alone and down time. If you are in an apartment a smaller breed might be better. Or you have to consider if long walks and time at the dog park will fit into your lifestyle so your dog can get the appropriate bathroom breaks and exercise. It's important to be honest about your limitations and to consider what an average day will look like from your dog's point of view. A bored dog is prone to chewing, destruction, barking and urinating in the home.

Much like children, pets are an investment for the remainder of their lives. The initial invest can vary depending on if you purchase your dog from a breeder, shelter or from a free ad on Facebook. We recommend finding a local vet in your area and discussing what the average cost is for yearly checkups and vaccinations before purchasing your dog. Insurance or pre-paid care plans is also something to consider, as accidents and life happens which can result in extremely high vet bills. You also need to consider food, treats, toys, leashes and crates. If you plan to travel with your pet it's important to remember most hotels and rentals require a pet fee. It is estimated that the average monthly cost for a dog is $150 a month. 

As mentioned the initial cost or purchase of a dog can vary depending on how you obtain your dog. If you are looking for a specific breed that you believe will fit your lifestyle or needs a breeder would be the best route for you. It is important when looking for a breeder to find one that is reputable, with good standing and that does not release their puppies before twelve weeks. Dogs produced from irresponsible breeders can face health and behavioral issues. Shelters are another great resource and with over a million dogs in shelters across America you would be making a difference in their life. We recommend visiting the shelter several times. Take the time to bond with the dog and learn what you can about its history. Most shelters are open to allowing several visits prior to adoption. Your third option is a free dog from friends, or social media. This is a gamble as most people are rehoming their pet for behavioral issues. It's important to understand that you are taking a risk and the previous owner might not be honest about the dogs mental and physical health. That does not mean these issues cannot be overcome but it could mean more work, money and time on your end.

The AKC recognizes 195 dog breeds, and each breed provides its own unique challenges and benefits. Dog sizes range from small Chihuahua that fits in a purse to Great Danes that can stand taller than their owner. We highly recommend speaking with a dog trainer about what you are looking for in a dog with an honest assessment of your lifestyle. They will be able to point you in the direction of the right breed for you. Our class “Is a Dogs life for me” gives an overview of the different dog breeds and we offer individual guidance at the end of that section. Its also important to do your own research to make sure you are making the right choice for yourself.

We may only be blessed to have dogs in our life for a short time but for them their lives are centered around the people who care for them. For ourselves and also for them its important we make the right decision when picking a dog to be our companion. They will walk the rest of their lives with us. Its important to be honest about how a dog fits into your lifestyle, the care you are able to provide and what you can afford. While that adorable puppy is hard to resist, that puppy will grow into a dog looking to you for guidance and life long care. We hope this article provided you with some guidance and if you think “A dogs life” might be right for your, sign up for our class we can help guide you to finding the right furry friend for you.