Owning a dog is one of the most amazing experiences one can have. They can bring so much joy and happiness to our life. If you had one, life will never be the same ever again.
While fun, dog ownership should not be taken lightly. It is a huge commitment for a long time, physically, emotionally and financially as well. You have to be a 100% sure that you are in it for the long haul. There is nothing more sad, than dogs returned to the shelters after they were saved.
If you decide to go ahead and get an amazing four-legged companion, you are not only responsible for the health and happiness of your dog, you also have to make sure that your pup is a great representative of it's breed. People tend to judge, and even one misbehaved dog is enough to start spreading rumors or feed misconceptions. Many breeds already have a bad reputation (whether it's based on facts or not), so we as dog owners have to make sure that we don't become part of the problem.
Buy the neccessities
Dogs need a lot of "stuff". Before you get one, make a checklist of what your puppy needs. Items to consider are: food, leash, collar, bed, crate, toys, poop bags, ID tag, food and water bowls. This not only helps smooth transition but will save you from a few emergency runs to the pet store.
Go See The VetCheck in regularly with the vet so you have a good understanding of your dog's general health at all times. Your vet will schedule regular visits and make sure your dog stays up to date on all shots.
Ask your vet about what kind of diet your dog should be on. Make sure he/she gets all the nutrients necessary for a healthy life while switching up foods on a regular basis so the diet doesn't get boring.
ExerciseDogs just like people need regular exercise. This means multiple walks on a daily basis and a healthy amount of playtime. If you live around nature, taking your dog on a hike can be a regular activity. It keeps both of you fit while enjoying the outdoors.
VaccinationsKeep your dog current on all vaccinations at all times. Talk to the vet so you are up to date which shot your puppy needs and when. For a basic idea, click here, but always consult your vet.
I.D. tagIf your dog gets lost, an I.D. tag with your address and phone number will help you get your pooch back.
Choose the right breedBefore you get a dog, learn about the different breeds and choose one that fits your lifestyle, activity level and living situation. Finding a good fit is essential.
MicrochipsAnother trick to make sure your dog gets to come home even when he gets lost. ID tags can get lost, a microchip will always stay with your dog. Talk to your vet about microchipping your dog.
Pick up after your dogNobody likes stepping in poop. Don't be disrespectful to others, it's general courtesy to try to keep your neighborhood/city clean. Poop bags are cheap and can be easily attached to the leash so you won't forget them while going for a walk.
Train your dogTeaching basic commands not only helps in every day obedience, it also stimulates the brain of your dog and builds a bond between the two of you.
SocializeLet your dog get to know different people, surroundings and other dogs. The more he is exposed, the easier it will be for him to adjust to any situation. Socializing from early age decreases the possibility of future altercations with other dogs.
Spay or NeuterOverpopulation is already a huge problem in the United States. Don't be part of it. Accidental breeding will only result in unwanted puppies further crowding the shelters.