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MJ's Animal Blog

Saturday, September 1, 2018

7 things to consider about YOURSELF before you adopt

You’re looking for a perfect canine companion, but have you spent time thinking about you? Are you ready to lead by example? Can you afford a dog? Before you choose a dog, you need to look at your lifestyle and resources. 

Dogs will become a reflection of you. According to a study published in the journal of PLOS, authors found owners were more likely to pass on their traits to dogs. 

Dogs will pick up on your stress levels and demeanor so it’s important to ask yourself these seven questions BEFORE you go shopping for your lovable pet. 

1. Are you the leader of the pack?

Dogs are pack animals. Every pack needs an alpha dog. When you decide to adopt a dog, you need to establish yourself as the pack leader. 

Watch those around you who own dogs. The pack leader – the dog owner – should walk through a door before the dog. A dog should not start eating his or her food until the owner tells him its ok. If the dog is a barker, he or she should stop when commanded to do so. 

You must establish yourself as the leader if you want the dog to have a healthy relationship with you and your family members and other dogs or pets.

2. What dog breed is for me?
All too often, dogs end up in shelters because the personality and breeding purpose of the dog does not match up with its owner. Owners see pictures on breeder’s sites or they visit a pet store – or even a shelter – and fall in love with those irresistible puppy eyes. The puppy matures and is ready to do the work it was bred to do. 

Can you imagine an Australian Shepherd who always has to be an inside when it was designed to herd, anything: birds, sheep, and kids? The last thing you want is your Aussie to be trapping your kids in the corner. Maybe you have a prestine garden, and you decide to adopt a Rat Terrier because in the store he had such cute ears and overall, they are known as happy go lucky and playful companions. Little did you consider the dog would dig and dig and dig through your carrots and tomatoes when he smelled a ground squirrel. Find a personality that would be perfect for you. 

The American Kennel Club at has a dog breed match to help find that perfect personality. If you love binge watching on NetFlix, a lap dog like a Bischon might be the perfect fit for you!

3. How much exercise can I give the dog daily?
One of the first things an instructor of a dog obedience class will tell you to do is exercise your dog before you try to train them. Exercise is crucial to the overall well-being of the dog. Larger dog breeds and working dog breeds will need more exercise than your toy dogs. Think of Marley from the movie Marley in Me– why did Marley tear up the house? He had a ton of energy! High energy, working dogs will need at least two 20-minute walks (or runs) a day. Make sure you can incorporate this amount of exercise into your daily routine.

4. Can I afford a dog?
Picking out a dog at the shelter for $50-$250 (maybe even free on special days) seems like such a bargain compared to purebred prices. But the adoption fee is such a small portion of the overall lifetime cost of a dog. Your dog may be spayed or neutered at the shelter so that will save a couple hundred dollars. 

Americans spend an average of $139.80 a month on their dogs, according to 2018 May survey by Opp Loans. You’ll be buying dog food, treats, a brush, a collar, and a leash. Man’s best friend may need a crate or a fenced in back yard. If you get a puppy, you might want to pick up some training pads and while you take him on a walk, you’ll want to bring along waste disposal bags. (Oh, and you may have to clean your carpets in case of accidents.) You’ll have veterinarian bills for vaccines, flea and tick medicine, and recommended heart medicine. 

In a Kiplinger article, published in 2011, the authors even suggested setting money aside in an emergency fund for the hidden and unexpected costs of owning a pet. “Owners will likely incur at least one $2,000 – $4,000 bill for emergency care at some point during their pet’s lifetime”, says Dr. Louise Murray, vice-president of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, in New York City. And your furry friend may need to go to a groomer too – and some people even bring them to puppy spas!

5. Do I want a puppy?
There is nothing more irresistible than a sweet, cuddly puppy. All your nurturing instincts surface, and you can’t wait to raise him into a trained adult. Until he chews on your leather shoes. Or digs a hole in the middle of your yard. Or jumps on your neighbor. Thinking about the specific training and care of the age of your dog will help you decide whether to get a puppy, an adolescent, or an adult dog. 

Puppies take hours and hours of training. A puppy will need to be taught basic commands and normally a dog obedience training course is appropriate for you and your dog. You could also hire someone to come to your house with training. 

An adolescent dog can still require lot of attention as he or she goes through teething and changing hormones. 

By adopting an adult dog, you may forgo the chewing, “curious” stage, but he or she may have developed habits of poor behavior requiring extra attention too.

6. Am I ready to spend extra time bonding with my shelter dog?

Depending on the life your dog had prior to coming to the shelter, a commitment to spending quality time with your dog will help you build a trust relationship. 

You’ll want interactive toys to play with whether it’s frisbee in the backyard or a squeaky toy in the living room. Your dog will bond quickest with the person it spends the most time with. 

Be careful about adopting more than one dog at a dog. Sometimes when you adopt two dogs at the same time, the dogs will bond to each other rather than you. This makes it more difficult for you to establish the alpha dog role.

7. What are my living and health conditions for my family?

A hypoallergic dog like a poodle might be the perfect fit for your family if you have someone who is allergic to dogs. If you don’t want a large dog but have allergies you may try to find a mixed breed dog such as a mini-golden doodle. Also consider the size of your apartment or house. A small dog like a mini Schnauzer may fit in more easily in a high-rise apartment than an Alaskan Malamute.

Adopting a dog can be such a great blessing for you and your new canine friend. 

Before you start shopping, make sure you do a full assessment of your needs and lifestyle.

Michael John Kulick
My goal with this venture is to give these pets a fighting chance in finding a good home for them and to let people know about the health benefits that come with owning a pet. I believe that every is unique and that each dog can cater to different people.

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