The decision to buy or adopt a dog should not be taken lightly. It is a serious commitment and there are several factors to consider. Are you really ready to get a dog? As fun as a dog can be, it’s a serious decision. You plan to take responsibility for a living creature that is completely dependent on you. Dogs require food, shelter, health care, exercise, attention, love, time, and money. If you are not fully prepared to provide all of these things, you are not ready for a dog yet.

Your lifestyle should probably be one of the most important factors to consider when planning to get a dog. All dogs require attention, but some need much more than others. If left alone, these dogs will not do as well and are more likely to destroy your household items. The same can be said for exercise. Some dogs take much longer to run, while others can get by with less physical activity. If you are the type of person who is away from home most of the time, you should choose a dog that handles well in your absence: independent breeds such as Dachshunds, Mastiffs or Yorkshire Terriers.

Everybody loves puppies. They’re adorable. But how adorable you will think your pup is when you find him in the middle of a mess that used to be your favorite pair of shoes. Puppies, like babies, require an enormous amount of attention and effort, from housebreaking and socialization to teaching acceptable manners. If you don’t have time to maintain a consistent training schedule, perhaps you should find an adult dog. However, adult dogs come with their own “luggage”. Some adult dogs have been abused or neglected. As a result, these dogs have acquired some less-than-ideal behaviors of their own.

Once you have an idea of ​​what you want, there are generally two options you can take to get your new puppy or adult dog. You can buy a dog from a reputable breeder, or you can adopt or rescue a dog from an animal shelter. Unless you are looking for a purebred dog that you possibly plan to breed in the future, adopting from a shelter is one of the best ways to go. Adopting a pet from a shelter is not as expensive as buying a pet from a breeder.

Shelter animals are generally screened for health and temperament, so you can be sure that while you provide a home for an animal in need, it is the right animal for your home. However, if you are looking for a specific breed, a breeder (or breed specific rescue) is the way to go. Ask your breeder for references and ask how many times a year they breed. A good breeder generally only produces one to three litters a year and will guarantee their dogs against most major health defects.

Pet stores that offer puppies are not good options, as they tend to buy their puppies from “puppy mills,” breeders that produce many litters a year with no apparent concern for the health and well-being of their dogs. These puppies tend to be more prone to severe health problems due to neglect. When chosen for all the right reasons, owning a dog can be a totally rewarding and highly satisfying experience.

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