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Who I amReside in St. Louis Missouri currently, Lived in California & Colorado.Husband.Father.Pastor.Football Enthusiast.Teacher.Learner.Dreamer.Reader.Friend. [thoughts & comments blogged here are my reflections living life trusting Jesus as God]

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thoughts on Getting a Dog

August 2013 we bought a dog.  It has been 5 years since we had a dog in the home and our whole family has been anxious to get another one.  I'm not a dog whisperer but owning, raising & training dogs has always been something I've been good at. It helped growing up we never had less than 4 dogs around a house at one point in time.  Over my lifetime I've raised Beagles, Keeshond's, Dachshunds, Labs, Brittany Spaniels & several pound mutts.  

So here are the steps we went through & are going through in our decision:

Do NOT choose a dog just on how it looks.  
Spend time researching the type of breed it is & the generalized personality traits.  If you think boxers look awesome that's great but if you don't have the time to spend with a breed that is very active and needs a lot of mental training stimulation you'll regret the decision.  

Know your limits.  
I honestly believe this is one of the biggest deciding factors people really miss because they don't think in enough detail.  Most people i know look right at "how much will this cost" and that is a solid initial question, but the cost factor isn't' just dollar signs.  It's also cost in time, food, training, medical needs & at least 2 pairs of shoes.  If you are a very busy & active family you'll need to rearrange life to spend time with the dog.  If you hate dog hair on furniture or clothes don't get a dog that'll shed daily.

Set a budget.  
Set a budget on what you can spend or save monthly for the regular expenses of food, dog toys & any grooming needs before you even think about buying one.  The first 2 years of a dogs life are normally the most expensive barring any major medical needs.  For the initial purchase, puppy wellness visits with the vet, kennels, food, toys, water bowls, leashes, harnesses and the list can go on.  Call a couple local vets and get pricing on shots, neuter/spay costs as well as pet insurance (yes they have such a thing and yes it can be worth it).  If you've never owned a dog before ask those that do have dogs what they spend per month on their pet(s).  We rent our home so we had to account for a pet deposit our landlords required.

Start training day 1.  
Dogs need training and so will you.  If you don't know where to start when it comes to training take em to a training/obedience class.  But also realize dogs are like people, they have growth phases and will NOT learning everything you want them to on your time line.  Be ready to be patient & be ready to invest daily time with the dog.

Family Time.
Yes I am the guy who believes the dog becomes part of the family.  But that means you include the dog into who you are as a family already.  Whenever you can travel with the dog, play at the park with the dog and even road trip with the dog.


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