A family pet is a great way to bring the family together. Dogs, in particular, are very emotionally intelligent and can help kids in so many ways. Not only are dogs a great way to teach kids about responsibility, they are also loving, accepting animals that are always there to make you feel better. The bond between a child and their dog is hard to beat, but before you go and get the first cute puppy you see, read this guide:
1. Understand Your Family’s Needs
You need to choose a breed that matches your family’s lifestyle and activity level. Where you live and the type of accommodation you have will also determine what breed types you should consider. Those living in an apartment can absolutely get a dog, but unless you have the time and a large park nearby to commit to several long (an hour or more) walks per day, you’ll want a smaller dog.
2. Understand the Difference Between Show, Pet, and Working Breeds
Most breeds will have variations. Poodles, for example, are considered working dogs. Poodle mixes, however, are typically bred with family pets and are, therefore, less hard-working. This doesn’t mean that poodle mixes don’t have energy, but they don’t require a lot of exercises, specifically in their “job”. This makes poodle mixes better for families, particularly for first-time dog owners.
All types of dogs can be a good fit for your family, but working and large breeds are a better fit for those with larger properties, constant access to large outdoor areas, and only for those prepared to take them out for plenty of exercise for physical and mental stimulation.
3. Research the Breed(s) Extensively
Even if the temperament and exercise requirements match your family, you still need to be aware of the breed’s temperament, history and what to be aware of. Staffordshire terriers, for example, are usually great with children and their owners, but they can have a high prey drive and be reactive around other dogs. None of these needs to be dealbreakers, but they are areas to be aware of when training and socializing your dog.
4. Dogsit Before You Commit
Wanting a dog and being ready for a dog are two different things. If you want to see if you and your family are ready for the commitment that’s taking on a dog, try to dogsit. This is a great way to see just what it takes to live and care for an animal around your other responsibilities.
5. Preparing Your Finances
While owning and caring for a dog isn’t nearly as expensive as raising a child, there are still some significant costs to keep in mind. One of the largest is any vet costs. While there is insurance, if you have the savings to cover vet bills, you’ll end up saving. Another way to reduce the cost of vet bills is to find charity-run institutions that offer vet care services for less.
If you don’t have these savings, then research insurance policies and make sure you can fit the cost into your budget. The same applies to dog food, the cost of any dog sitting or walking, and so on.