Are You Dog Ready? So you’re probably thinking ‘well duh yes I am ready’. There is way more to becoming a dog parent then offering your undying love and providing a loving home. Lets prove you’re ready and see if you can answer Yes to ALL these questions.
Do you know the cost of having a dog?
After your initial adoption fee and initial shopping spree, have you planned out for the other costs? There is a monthly food bill, depending on the dog and what you plan to feed them from raw to kibble.
Then there is the insurance costs paid for monthly or all at once, cost again depending on your dog and the level of cover you want. The bigger the dog the bigger the price usually. If you don’t have insurance be prepared to pay a lot if your dog gets ill or ends up needing surgery. Then there are general monthly and annual costs of flea and worming medication, booster injections.
Also I should mention that the size of your dog affects the cost too. A basic consultation at the vets is cheaper for smaller dogs compared to big dogs, health cover from Vets usually is based on the weight of the dog. Same goes for flea and wormer too the smaller the dog the smaller the price.
How about the cost of a dog walker? Dogs shouldn’t be left for more than 6 hours and in the beginning you don’t want to start your new dog off with a 6 hour stint alone in your home. What are you planning when you go on your holiday, if your dog doesn’t go with you then there are kennels or home boarder costs too.
Have you got the time?
Initially when you first bring your new rescue dog home you’ll probably need at least 2 weeks to help him settle in. Doesn’t matter if you’ve adopted a young dog or a senior dog, every dog needs support and help getting them used to your routine.
After that your dog will need to be walked, if you live in a flat like I do then you’re looking at taking him out several times a day for bathroom breaks. Then he will need his walks for exercise. I take out my two dogs for about an hours walk a day, but depending on the dog you get you’re looking at between 10 mins to hours per day for suitable physical exercise.
There is every chance the dog you adopt doesn’t know how to live in your situation which could be a family home, or in a flat. Does he know how to live with Children? does he understand traffic noise? You have to teach your dog the necessary skills to live in your home successfully. You will be responsible for helping your dog navigate these new situations.
What about the other people in your life? Are they ready for a dog? You need to take a good long look at the people around you, will they be a part of your dog’s life too. Maybe you have flat mates, will they be happy with a dog coming into the home, have they had a dog before or lived with a dog? Double check that no one has allergies relating to dogs.
Maybe you live on your own, but if you frequently have visitors stopping by, can they cope sharing your space with a dog? What about if you already have a dog, are you prepared to make sure the dogs meet before you finally bring your new dog home? Make sure you go through the people who are closely involved with your life with a fine tooth comb, so you avoid any potential problems before they happen.
Lastly are you ready to be selfless?
Owning a dog is great, there are lovely sunday strolls, cafe lunches and trips together. What about when it’s pouring with rain and your dog still needs to walk? Or how about being woken up at 2am because your dog desperately needs to go out? This has happened to me a few times when Flash was ill and needed the bathroom ASAP. So I had to get up, take him out in my PJs in the cold dead of night!
Dogs are a full time responsibility who may cause you to miss out on a party, meeting with friends, may cause you to make a last minute dash to the vets. So really consider if you can pass on some of your current lifestyle choices.
Well if you’ve said Yes to all the questions then I’d say you’re ready to adopt. If you find yourself on the fence with a question or two then why not consider fostering a dog to test out life with a dog.
There are things to consider when you are choosing a dog, questions you need to ask yourself and either the current owner, rescue centre or foster carer. These are especially important if you haven’t already experienced life with a dog or with a particular breed. When it came to getting Mabel I already knew what life was like with OES, I was prepared for my clean flat to become dusty quickly (OES don’t shed they just spread dust!). I already knew being with a dog meant that I had to have ‘house clothes’, clothes that didn’t matter if they were covered in dog.
Have You Considered the Following ?
Are you looking for a dog to run with you every weekend or a sofa buddy? It is really important you consider what kind of energy the dog has; there is no point adopting one who isn’t compatible with your lifestyle just because he looks and sounds great.
Also remember if you get a high energy dog and can’t meet their physical needs to help them burn some of the energy, then chances are they’ll release the built-up energy in your home and destroy it. That being said you can give a dog plenty of mental stimulation to tire them out instead of physical exercise (I am a big fan of giving your dog mental exercise as you’ll soon find out). But you shouldn’t completely rely on this option. Always aim to find a dog who is close to your own energy level.
Are you a big dog person or a handbag dog person? I love a big dog, the bigger and hairier the better in my book… Hence my Old English Sheep-dogs! The size of your dog will also affect costs too, my two dogs go through 18kg of food a month between them, yet a small dog will go through far less. Financially that is also a big difference over the course of your dog’s life span. You’ll need to make sure you have enough space for him too.
This is a big thing to consider; If you’re someone who doesn’t like cleaning up dog hair or having to pay for regular dog grooming services, then a hairy dog is out of the question as well as some short-haired types. If you don’t mind a little extra fluff hanging around, can afford regular grooming, or are willing to learn to groom yourself, then there are more options for you. Regardless of your chosen dog, he will be likely to need a bath at some point along with a brush, especially with typical changeable British weather.
Looking for the One
When it comes to looking for a dog to adopt, start your search close to home with your local rescue centres, ask for recommendations for good rehoming centres from friends and even Facebook. There are also a number of rescues who bring foreign dogs over to the UK. If you’re after a particu-lar breed, you find information usually from The Kennel Club regarding rescue breed groups or search Google.
Do your research about your ‘chosen’ rescue centre, get familiar with how they work and what they do. Where possible, find and speak to other adopters who have used the service before.
The best thing about going down the route of using a rescue centre and rehoming services is generally all the dogs have been assessed to check their behaviour, health, fitness and general well being. Assessors will have also been able to see the personality of the dog, which helps when finding them a suitable home.
Additionally, most rescue centres will perform a home check to ensure you’re offering a safe environment and one that is suitable for the dog you wish to adopt. A good rescue centre will also be able to offer you guidance on what to expect in general when adopting.
Once you’ve found a centre you like, get in touch and tell them about what you’re looking for—starting their adoption process, so that you can get all the paperwork done and home checks complete. Then once your ideal dog pops up, you don’t have to waste time putting things in place.
Remember just as buying a puppy is taking on a life long role of responsible owner the same is said for those of us who adopt and in some ways we have it harder as dogs can be more challenging when they have an unknown past. Make sure you don’t fall for the first cute face you see and prepare yourself for your life to change.
My book The Rescue Dog Rangers Road Map – How to transform your rescue dog into a calm confident canine, is a value tool that will set you for success with your new dog!
Suzanne aka The Rescue Dog Ranger®.