How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner

Anyone can own a dog, but it takes a responsible owner to ensure the dog lives a happy life.

When you adopt (or buy) a dog, you are signing up for a decade's worth of commitment to care. Most likely more! Here are a few initial steps to ensure you make the right decision.

First, keep in mind your living situation, lifestyle, and personality. If you are out of the house a lot, are you willing to spend money on doggy daycare or proper house training? Or train them to behave well while they accompany you?

If you work from home, will it be better to adopt an older dog over a puppy? Yes, you have the time at home with them. However, this doesn't mean a puppy's energy will fit your life.

Most importantly, you will need to research the breed. Mut or not, it's good to understand what sort of habits and demeanor they will have. Their breed will also determine whether or not it will match you and your family. Sure, huskies are adorable, but they're (usually) loyal to only one or two people. So they may not fit into a family with small children. 

Also, take into account size. A Belgian Sheepdog wouldn't fit into apartment living, and a small dog, like a chihuahua, may be best staying indoors instead of out on a farm.

Next, you need to keep into consideration others around you. If you get a dog that likes to bark while living in a tiny apartment with paper-thin walls, it's best to take the extra time to train them not to bark at inappropriate times or at everyone they see. Or to not whine when you leave.


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You also need to leash train them for walks or teach them to follow your commands when they can be off-leash. Be sure to pick up their "presents" when they're out and socialize them appropriately.

Health is also important. Dogs need regular vet visits. So consider the cost (usually $600-$900 per year, without emergencies) before adopting. Do you have the funds necessary to care for this new addition to the family?

Don't forget to spay or neuter accordingly. Unless, of course, you're breeding dogs. And microchip them, no matter how much or little they spend outdoors. 

Finally, remember how much you can take on. It's incredibly tempting to rescue each dog that needs help or adopt every cute puppy you come across. But, in reality, that won't help, not when you reach your limitations for care (and cost)!

Only adopt those you can give your care, money, and attention. Then you know that your dog will have the best life possible!