I have always liked dogs and wanted one but I knew I wasn’t ready for all the commitment: monetary, time and mentally when I was younger.
- Commitment: Monetary and Time
I’d say what most, obviously myself do not expect is the amount of time and effort needed to put into having a dog.
What I thought was simple:
Money for food, necessities, treats of course, grooming and vet.
Time to feed, to walk, to bathe and to train.
Be mentally prepared for all these to be a norm once you have a dog.
But what I didn’t think enough was how exactly and how much time and how much you need to compromise with your own time/schedule (depending on what age/temperament of your dog).
- I had to, as much as possible settle Dusty’s needs before my own if it could be put on hold as I do not want to bother my family even if had to travel more and rush, I would do it myself.
- Training wasn’t something that I thought was needed or necessary other than Project Adore Obedience Training. What I had in mind was providing the dog a comfortable life, under a roof with fresh food and walks >= x2 daily.
But training is also important in my opinion, to improve both our lives as we coexist under one roof and to set boundaries. Not only that but also be a responsible dog owner and not cause unnecessary problems to people living around us.
- Vet visits are definitely a need for annual vaccination and check ups but other than that it depends on your dog’s health. Money has to be set aside for emergency and I’d say always prepare for the worst (a bit kiasi).
You could also look up into buying pet insurance for your pet as it will help ease the vet bills if anything were to happen.
At the end of 2018(when I was 20), I knew I was ready for the commitments and started looking up on all the shelters I could find through web and social medias. It took much consideration and courage to finally take the first step in filling up an adoption application.
- Picking the RIGHT dog, not what you want but what you can handle with you and your family’s lifestyle.
Of course including us, we wanted the nicest, cutest, and a fun dog.
But I knew that wasn’t the right way to look for one.
- Are you active or more laid-back and chill?
I know my family and I wasn’t that active, so I decided that a lower energy dog will fit perfectly into my family. DON’T pick a dog that fits a lifestyle that you aspire to have. But pick one that fits your current lifestyle and work towards it.
- Who will be living together with the dog?
Make sure everyone in the family as well as the dog is okay with one another, especially if you have kids and the elderly in the house.
- Is the dog skittish/shy or aggressive/fearful?
If the dog that you pick has any of these behaviours, just get ready to have to spend more time and (maybe) money to help your dog gain the confidence and to improve.
Slightly more than a year of having Dusty with us, I wish I did know more (experience wise) about dog handling.
- Get experience on how to handle a dog.
Before adopting, what goes through my mind was what’s so difficult about having a dog? It just has to eat, sleep, bathe, walk, shit and pee. Thinking of it is so easy than having to experience it not for one or two days but till the end of their lives it’s a different aspect.
- Get a first hand experience as a volunteer or fosterer on how and what is it like to handle not just good and easy dogs but also skittish, shy, fearful and aggressive dogs. And from there you know what kind of dogs you can handle and live with for the next 10-15 years.
- Reach out to dog owners and get to know more about their experiences with their dog.
So this sums up my thoughts on what I wish I had known.
Hope it was insightful for those who are planning on getting your first dog but is still unsure on what to expect!
Do share with us your concerns or any experiences that you didn’t see coming with your first dog in the comments below! So that we can learn or at least have an idea on what to do if something similar happens to any of us! 🙂