The ASPCA recently debunked the myth that giving an animal as a gift is a bad idea. So if you’re looking to start off 2014 by adding a canine to your household, here’s some tips for potential dog owners.
Review your lease terms.
Before getting all mushy looking at photos of potential pets, make sure your lease allows you to have what you’re looking for. Many landlords have breed restrictions, so even though your residence may be pet-friendly, there could also be exceptions. However, according to Irene Borngraeber, Executive Director at Liberty Humane Society, physical appearance should not automatically be associated with the breed of a dog. She says that a pup could look like the epitome of a Pit Bull, for example, but there’s actually no such thing. Pit Bulls are a mix of numerous other breeds, so one way to clear up any future trouble from a landlord is to get a $35 DNA test of the dog for proof.
Don’t stereotype breed personalities.
It is common to stereotype the personality of a dog based on their breed type. Despite terriers having the reputation of chasing rats and herding sheep while huskies are known to be working dogs, you cannot assume these generalizations to always be true. It is vital to interact with your potential pup for more than just a few moments to ensure that you’re getting the type of dog you’re expecting, especially when adopting because the dog’s prior environment will have an effect on how it behaves now.
Analyze your lifestyle and needs.
Asking yourself these few questions will make you much more prepared while searching for a pet:
How many hours a day are you home to care for the dog?
If you work the majority of the day, is there someone who could check in on him/her?
Do you travel for multiple days at a time often?
Are you dedicated to teaching him/her basic commands?
How large of a space to you have to accommodate your pet?
Once you’ve honestly answered these questions, you’ll be able to have a more refined idea of what type of dog you can handle. For example, if you’re a busy person, a puppy or high energy dog is not for you. An older, more laid back dog would be your better choice.
Meet and greet.
“Dogs are like people, we can’t expect them to like every other dog they meet,” says Borngraeber.
Knowing how your dog will react to humans and fellow dogs is especially crucial when living in an urban area. If you reside in a small apartment building, the chances of running into another canine in close quarters could be high. Before bringing your furry friend home, let them meet everyone who will be at your residence on a regular basis. Liberty Humane Society conducts behavioral tests, including one specifically for how a dog will act around children, so they can offer you dogs that gel with your lifestyle.
Research reputable sources.
If a breeder, animal shelter employee, or whoever you plan on getting your dog from is not inquiring about your lifestyle and how you will take care of the dog, then you may want to turn around and leave. They should want to ensure the dog is going somewhere safe and will be taken care of. They should also not seem bothered or overwhelmed by any questions you have, because they should be just as concerned for the dog’s well being as you are.
For more information regarding adoptable dogs, visit libertyhumane.org.