Adopting an animal should never be done on a whim. It is very important to consider that a dog forms an attachment with its humans, it is not “chattel”. There are also different breeds of dogs with different temperaments. So not only should we not adopt a dog on a whim, but we must also make sure to choose a breed that suits our family and our lifestyle. There are many elements to consider and by asking the right questions we will possibly avoid populating shelters which are already far too full.
1. Do I have time to devote to it?
THE most important question to ask yourself. Do you have time ? No domestic animal in this world does not require time and care. Whether you have a cat, a goldfish or a dog, your pet will need you to take care of him. It is clear that there are some species that need more time than others. The dog is one of the domestic animals that requires a lot of time. You have to take him out several times a day for his needs, he has to do physical activity, he has to play, he has to eat, he has to be trained, he also needs to mental stimulation activity. Dogs whose needs are not met can develop behavioral problems and therefore their company will be much less pleasant. You must be ready to dedicate time to him for both his physical well-being and his psychological well-being. Dogs are basically predators, and a predator needs to develop hunting strategies to get food. The commands we give him force him to think. Interactive toys like a treat-dispensing ball, interactive puzzle toys or a licking mat are also very interesting for making him work mentally.
2. Do I have a schedule that allows me to have a dog?
If you are a workaholic who works all the time then adopting a dog is probably not a good idea. Your dog will clearly be unhappy. Get a cat instead. The dog is a sociable animal and he needs to spend time with his human (or his family). Not only will he struggle with loneliness, but he will also have difficulty holding back for hours. Already for a dog to hold back 8 hours in a row is enormous, imagine if you leave for longer. Additionally, the younger the dog, the less time it will be able to hold itself back, as its body is still developing. A puppy is able to remember its age +1. Which means that if your puppy is 3 months old he is able to hold himself for +/- 4 hours (except at night if he is sleeping). The dog needs a routine to be well. If your schedule is too variable, it's not necessarily ideal for him. Why adopt an animal if you want to leave it alone at home? In exceptional situations or if you have a variable schedule, but you want to have a dog then consider the option of having a dog walker who will come and take care of it for you. There is also the option of day care so that he can play and there will be someone on site to take care of him.
3. Do I have the budget to have a dog?
Having an animal is very expensive. Depending on the breed and size there will be veterinary costs (vaccinations, annual examination, emergency), you will have to feed him (the bigger they are the more they eat), then you will have to pay his registrations (SPCA), there is also has the cost of grooming (if you don't do it yourself) then you will need to take classes to train him in the presence of other dogs, he will also need toys and chewing activities. If you are going on vacation, you will need to budget for daycare. Your dog may get sick and need care that was not necessarily planned. On the website of the Association of Veterinary Doctors of Quebec (amvq.quebec) you can find the approximate costs for each animal so you know what you are getting into. Take the time to take a quick look.
4. Do I have enough room to accommodate it?
You don't necessarily need to have a house to have a dog, but if you live in an apartment you need to check with your landlord that they accept you having a dog. You should also consider the breed of your dog based on the space you have. A Great Dane in a 3 ½ may not be ideal. Remember that for some breeds there is a very big difference between puppy size and adult size. It is also important to know that some dog breeds need more physical activity than others. If you decide to adopt a Border Collie and you are a rather sedentary person, this is clearly not the right breed of dog for you. Your dog will also need a space to do its business.
5. Do my life plans harmonize with the presence of an animal?
We all have short, medium and long term life plans. Adopting an animal must also consider these different projects, because it all depends on the animal, but it will live for several years. If you dream of traveling the world and leaving for several weeks a year then is it really a good idea for you to adopt an animal? Wanting a child, traveling, moving, changing jobs are projects that can become very complicated when you have a pet. Also for some animals the changes can disrupt their routine and their behavior. Sometimes it is better to delay an adoption than to give up.
6. Are we ready?
Any animal will dirty our home, period. If you are unable to live with this reality, you should not adopt. Furthermore, a puppy is a baby who has everything to learn. It will be necessary to educate and socialize it. This will require a lot of time, energy and patience. An animal will make mistakes and that's normal. Whether it's your cat or your dog, it may drop your coffee cup on your beautiful couch. Accidents happen! You will have to be tolerant. These stupid things are not bad behavior on the part of your animal, they are part of learning. We must welcome them in a positive way and above all not fall into negativity or intimidation. Just because a dog bites once does not mean it is aggressive. He is also not a “destroyer” if he chews a pair of shoes. A puppy is a baby, but a baby DOG. From 8 weeks to 2 years, he is completely immature and is learning. He will be more energetic and will do mischief. It will be your responsibility to train him, to teach him what is acceptable and what is not. He doesn't know it, it's your job. After two years he will calm down. Error is not just human, it is animal too. Moreover, to start the relationship on the right foot with our dog, an obedience course is necessary or, at the very least, kindergarten. You shouldn't be afraid to seek help even if you have experience. Each dog has its own temperament and personality. There will be dogs that are more difficult than others, that's part of life. If you decide to adopt a dog, you agree to take on all the responsibilities that come with it.
#7. Find out about the characteristics of the breed that interests you?
Adopting a dog on a whim is probably one of the worst things you can do, but adopting a dog because you think it's beautiful without finding out about the breed must be just as bad. Find out about the different breeds that exist in order to find “the perfect match” for you. Each breed has its needs and instincts. A Malinois for example has important needs, but also a very good temperament. You must not only make him work physically, but also mentally every day otherwise he will have behavioral problems. Unlike the French bulldog which is the perfect Netflix partner after a short walk. The hunting dog, for its part, is made to work far from humans and to follow a trail. In the woods he will need to feel and he will need his freedom. The husky is the number one runaway because it has an incredible sense of exploration. It was designed for running long distances. He can escape from a yard even if it is fenced. These are examples, because obviously not all huskies run away and there are French bulldogs who have a lot of energy. The important point to understand is that you do not choose a breed based on its beauty, but based on your lifestyle. You have to find the breed that suits you. It is essential to understand the needs and instincts of the breed you want to have before getting it. We must also find out about the care that the dog will need. If you are not someone who enjoys brushing a dog then the Poodle would not be ideal for you. In this case, take a short-haired dog. If there are incompatibilities between the choice of your race and your lifestyle, you will have many difficulties. A dog that has unmet physical needs will have a huge chance of developing behavioral problems.