Who are you and what kind of lifestyle do you lead?

 

Don’t go to the shelter and choose a pet with the most doleful eyes. Pets, especially dogs, will integrate themselves into your life and a good match is critical to long term happiness all the way around. Ask yourself, will I be able to give this dog the exercise that it requires? The playtime? The attention? The training? Do I live in a home big enough to accommodate this dog? How will this dog behave around the other members of my household. (children, cats, hamsters, birds, lifestock, etc.)

 

It is very likely that the shelter from which you adopt your dog will have councelors on hand to help you answer these questions, but doing some thinking ahead of time will be very valuable. Use the quiz on Dogtime to stimulate thought on what kind of dogs might be a match for you.

 

Should I Adopt a Puppy, an Adult, or a Senior Dog?

 

Adopt a Puppy

Puppies are cute, but they’re also energenic and require a good deal of time and attention in the first few months/years of their lives.

Adopt an Adult Dog

The majority of shelter dogs tend to be between the ages of 6 and 22 months. This group of dogs requires less attention than puppies, but will still need steady training and supervision as they adapt to their new home.

Adopt a Senior Dog

Senior pets are likely to require the least amount of supervision and training.  A senior pet will make a wonderful addition to your home, are less active than younger dogs, and are trainable. They will adapt and fall in love with you and the other members of your family just as quickly and as completely as any other age class; however certain behaviors like dog or cat aggression and phobias may be challenging to break.

 

At the Shelter

 

When visiting with dogs at the shelter, remember that you are likely seeing them in a less-than-ideal setting. Shelters are distracting and noisy. Dogs may be anxious and if they are new to the shelter, fearful and confused. Ask for some alone time with the dog in a quiet setting where the dog will be less stressed and where you can observe how he or she behaves.

 

What to look for

 

While visiting with the dog, keep him or her on a long leash. Observe how he or she behaves. Does the dog investigate his or her surroundings comfortably? Does the dog use the full length of the leash to keep its distance from you? At some point, drop your keys on the ground. Does the dog overreact to the noise? If the dog has a familiar toy, show it to the dog and see how he or she reacts. Interested? Frightened? Unreactive? Lastly, get down on the ground and invite the pet to come closer. Does the dog obey? Will the dog allow you to pet him or her? Try a cuddle. Does the dog seem tense? Perhaps the dog growls in which case, stop.

 

There is no pass or fail with respect to the above, only clues as to how much training and interaction that the dog will require to adjust to you and his or her new home. You may even require some outside help with training.

 

Adopting a dog with behavior issues is a kind thing to do. Many dogs can be trained to be more social, more confident, and happier in their surroundings, but it takes an investment of time and sometimes money. If you are not willing to invest either, best choose a dog that is already socially confident and psychologically healthy.

 

Anticipate the Cost of Pet Healthcare

 

Veterinary Visits

 

Healthcare is essential for all pets. Consider pet insurance or a savings account ear marked for your dog to cover the cost of annual preventative care or an illness. Annual preventative veterinary care and parasite control typically costs $400-$500 dollars per year. Additionally small breed dogs usually require annual professional teeth cleanings in their lifetime, while larger dogs usually require at least 2 in their lifetime, however every pet is different and the vets ad Brookfield will be able to guide you in this area.  Professional cleanings keep your dog’s mouth healthy and his or her breath smelling good. Professional preventative teeth cleaning costs 400-600 dollars, while cleaning mouths with advanced dental disease can cost 800 dollars or more.

 

Boarding and Pet Sitting

 

A well trained, adult dog can go without a walk for as long as 10 hours, but this kind of schedule would be very difficulty for an active breed, young adult, or juvenile dog to tolerate.  Pet sitting or boarding typically costs 20-70 dollars per day depending on the services that your pet requires and the size of the dog.  Here’s what to look for when selecting a boarding facility.

 

Grooming

 

Grooming services for dogs typically cost $60-$120 dollars per cut.  in our area, lots of people report that they like Magic Touch Cat and Dog Grooming.  Check them out using the link provided!