Are your kids pestering you mercilessly to get them a dog, and you've finally given in? Before you head out to the pet store, here are a few things you need to know.
Will they really clean up after the dog?
Your kids have no doubt used the classic "We'll take care of it" ploy to convince you that they can handle the responsibility of a dog, but the truth is that you're going to be the one that's going to have to take the dog for a walk, buy the dog food (grain-free, like Wholehearted dog food, is best!), feed the dog, clean up the poop, and make sure the dog gets shots. If you aren't willing to handle the responsibility of caring for a dog yourself, you may have to make a schedule for the kids to care for the pet. It's going to be a lot of work, so prepare your kids for many afternoons spent with the puppy instead of in front of the TV.
Outdoor or indoor dog?
Consider where you want the dog to stay. If you have a large property, a dog that stays outdoors can actually be a good investment. You can get yourself a guard dog, and the pet can grow large without destroying your home. However, if you live in an apartment or a home without much outdoor space, you may want to consider a smaller dog that can live indoors. You need to carefully consider where the dog will stay, as that will determine what breed of dog you'll purchase.
Get the right dog bedding
You need to make sure that you have the right sleeping stuff for the dog. If the dog is sleeping outdoors, a dog house or kennel will be needed. You'll need a dog basket and plenty of blankets and cushions for the dogs, as sleeping on the hard floor can give your dog problems with their joints. Make sure that you have enough bedding to keep them warm on the cold days.
Don't forget the puppy chew toys
If you don't buy chew toys for your dogs, you'll find that your furniture, shoes, and trees will be the victims of their need to sharpen and strengthen their teeth. There are many great chew toys that you can get, such as natural antler chews made from solid deer antler. You can get plastic chew toys, dog bones, or any number of toys, but make sure to have enough that your dog won't start chewing on your personal possessions.
Dogs are hard and messy work
Caring for a dog is a lot of work, and you're going to have to train your dog to understand simple commands. The dog will have to learn to sit, heel, and lie down, and you'll need to be able to command them. It takes a lot of work to train the dog, so be prepared to invest many hours in teaching the dog the simple commands. Also, dogs love to poop everywhere, and large dogs mean large poops. If you get a dog with a lot of fur, expect to find them shedding a few months out of the year. It's a lot of work to care for a dog, and it's definitely a messy task...but the payoff of constant love and companionship is totally worth it!