How many times have you heard someone declare, “I really want to get a dog!” and thought to yourself, “Really? You’re never home.” Or you look around their home and see all of the dying plants and wonder if they could take care of a dog. Getting a dog is a responsibility that not everybody is ready to take on. In theory, it sounds great to add a furry family member but sometimes the reality of someone’s lifestyle can get in the way. Susan Marie, the host of the long-running syndicated radio show “The Doggy Diva Show,” offers tips for people who are considering adopting a dog. Once you get all of the logistics in order, then it might be time to start looking around for the perfect pup for you!
1. The first thing to think about is what is best for your family and your new "furever" friend. Do you have children? If so maybe an active dog who enjoys running, playing and swimming would be ideal. Are you a senior citizen? Maybe a smaller senior dog who would enjoy cuddling with you on the sofa would be best. It is important to keep in mind the pup’s size, breed, temperament and what your home and lifestyle can reasonably accommodate. Remember that you are looking to give your pup a furever home and that your shelter/rescue can help you choose which pup is best for your home/family. It is important to plan and prepare for your new pup because this is a lifetime commitment to unconditional love.
2. How much time will you be able to spend with the pup? Who will look after them during the day if you are working or the children are in school? If for any reason you or your children will be away from home, it is recommended that you hire a professional pet sitter to visit your home in the morning and afternoon for bathroom breaks and exercise. Recognizing that a pup is a family member that needs lots of love and attention will ensure that your pup will thrive in their new surroundings.
3. If you plan on getting a puppy, what do you know about training? Oftentimes, people become exasperated with their puppy's behavior and may give up on the new furry member of the family far too soon. Keep in mind a puppy relies on training from their pet parent to learn house rules and what they can or can't do. Prepare yourself by researching your puppy's breed and temperament - identifying potential behavioral issues and what should be done to teach the pup in the proper way to behave in their new furever home. Some pet parents feel that crating is not a good thing for their puppy, but canines feel secure having a den-like space of their own. Crate training takes time and effort for it to be a positive experience. Please remember, the pups are not meant to be left in their crate for long periods of time - the ASPCA advises puppies less than 8 weeks old should be crated no longer than an hour - increasing crate time gradually. As they grow older, pups should ultimately be given a bathroom and play break after 3 or 4 hours. If you have questions or concerns about training your puppy, please contact a professional dog trainer.
4. What if you have a cat or a dog and you’re looking to add to your family of four-legged friends? How much does the shelter/rescue know about the pup you want to adopt? Don’t be afraid to ask questions; they expect and encourage them from prospective pet parents. Do they know what the dog’s previous living situation was? Do they know if the dog gets along well with other dogs or if they are aggressive towards cats? Check ahead of time to see if they have a play/neutral area where you can introduce your current pup with the one you wish to adopt.
For over 15 years, Susan Marie has been spreading the word about puppy love through her nationally syndicated weekly radio show, “The Doggy Diva Show.” Susan is also the author of the award-winning children’s book, “Miss Olive Finds Her Furever Home.”