Recently my older brother, Pat, told me that he is getting a new dog.  I am so excited for him!  I secretly pride myself in knowing many breeds of dogs, however, the kind he is getting is one I’ve never heard of!  He is getting a Dogo Argentino/ American Bulldog mix.  After thinking about Pat having to train and teach his first puppy, it made me think about my experience training Riley and taking him to class and all that I learned along the way.  I am no expert by any means, but I want to share some things that I think you should consider before getting a puppy.

We got Riley only after weeks of researching characteristics of so many different dogs and weighing which qualities were most important to us.  And of course only after hours of me slipping notes to my parents begging for a dog.  Every dog has their own personality, but most dogs are very true to their breed’s characteristics.  Make sure you know the tendencies of your dog’s breed so that you can look out for health issues or bad habits and fix them before it becomes a problem.  Also, the character traits of your dog will tell you how much maintenance and attention your dog needs.  Be sure to think about how often you are willing to brush their coat, take them on walks, and spend time with them.  If you get a dog that is full of energy and you don’t plan on taking them on walks every day, you can most likely expect your dog to take out their energy in a negative way.

Look at photos and watch videos of the breed of dog you are interested.  Also, make sure you like the way your dog looks when they are full grown and not just as a puppy!  Some dogs look quite different once they are adults.

Physically, there are not many things that you need to own in order to own a dog.  A crate, food and water dish, food, a collar, a leash, and dog poop bags or grocery bags are the essentials.  But if you want to buy your dog the good stuff, you’ll probably get them: a bed, maybe a blanket, treats, lots of toys, a dog food mat, a brush, dog poop bags, Business Bags, special cleaning supplies, a sturdy pet-friendly vacuum, and the list goes on.  The fun part about owning a dog, is that you can buy them an unimaginable amount of useful things!

Find a good veterinarian.  Take your new puppy to the vet.  Make sure they are all healthy and get their shots, flea and tick medication, spaying/neutering at the recommended age.  Riley is a very healthy dog, however, his vet bills know how to rack up.  Above all, you need to be able to afford to take care of your dog’s health.  

Before you get your puppy, make sure you study everything there is to know about owning a puppy.  If you can find specific information on the breed you want, even better.  Some dog breeds need extra training depending on how strong willed they are.  Along with researching about your dog breed, you will need to have a firm plan on potty training your puppy as well as what rules you want your doggy to follow.  For example, are you going to let your dog sit on the couch or sleep on your bed? How often will you take the puppy to go outside?  What are you going to do if they go potty in the house?  Who is going to take care of the puppy when you are at work or away for a few days?  Big tip: Make sure everyone who may have any kind of responsibility of the dog enforces these rules as well.  If you plan everything out ahead of time, you will have less stress and be able to enjoy your sweet baby fur ball.

My last bit of advice is to expose your dog to as many situations as possible so they learn to be comfortable no matter what.  Try to bring them around babies and toddlers, other animals like cats and dogs, men and women of all ages.  If you want to be able to take your dog on walks or hikes, make sure your dog is comfortable walking on trails and passing by strangers along the way. If you want to take your dog in the car, get them comfortable in the car.  In order to have a well-behaved dog, you need to put in the work to make sure they turn out that way. For example, if you don’t want your dog to bark when people come into your house, you need to train them not to. That is something I didn’t do a good job on with Riley.  My poor guests. Don’t be lazy about this or you may have a dog who you cannot control in certain settings and it can be stressful for everyone involved.  

Most of all, have fun with your dog!  Dog’s really are man’s best friend.  You will never regret loving a canine and they will always love you no matter what.  Overall, be mindful of the responsibilities of owning a dog and everything that you need to do in order to be good at it.  Anyone can buy a dog, but it is not right for everyone. There are so many resources out there for potty training, obedience training, and any other kind of training you may need along the way.  As long as you have the time, resources, determination, and dog-sized hole in your heart, owning a dog can be the best choice you ever made.

To get you started off I have a link to “The Complete Resource Guide for Dog Owners”.  Thoroughly Reviewed has collected a massive amount of information that will answer many of your questions about caring for a dog.  If you or someone you know is thinking about getting a puppy or adopting from a shelter, feel free to share our blog to give them a head start with their research.

Do you have any other tips or bits of wisdom that you would share for my brother or anyone else who is thinking about getting a dog?  Post it in the comments below.  No account is necessary in order to leave a comment.  We simply ask for your email if you would like to know if someone responds to your comment.  

As always, thank you for reading!