Advice for Future Dog Owners: What We Wish We Knew
So you’ve done the research, you’ve saved the money, and you’re ready. Ready to take the plunge into the fun and furry world of dog ownership. You know everything there is to know about getting a dog.
Or do you?
No matter how prepared we think we are, dogs are living beings. Their personalities, their entire lives can be as unpredictable and nuanced as our own. As dog owners, we’re learning new things about our animals (and about dogs in general) even now, three years later. What about you?
We decided to put together some advice for future dog owners, from current dog owners. Here’s what we wish we knew before we got our dogs, and what some of our community members learned along the way!
Ivana & Archer
Matt and I both come from families that had dogs growing up. In saying that, neither of us could claim to have had well-trained dogs, which was sort of status quo twenty years ago. For us to have that ideal well-mannered, obedient dog took a lot of work, and I don’t think anyone could have adequately explained to us just how much work that actually was. It’s not just about basic commands, it’s about lifestyle. It’s about putting in the effort each and every day, and being consistent with everything you do. Your puppy is a sponge, and being firm one day and laid back the next with rules will be reflected in a dog who obeys commands one day and doesn’t the next.
Our start to training an obedient and well-mannered dog actually started with our research for the perfect breeder. As much as we’d like to take all the credit, we know the thoughtful, careful selection breeding pairs made a huge impact on the puppy we received. The rest was consistent, positively reinforced training. Beyond the dollars spent on her care, it was also a great deal of time and effort that I’m sure some people simply cannot devote to their dogs. We made it our priority, and we’re so pleased with the results.
Lucy & Topher
When it comes to Topher, I wish we’d been more cognizant of the way dogs in our neighborhood are treated. We live in an area where many people leave their dogs out in their yards, unsupervised. Some are let out to run around loose in front yards and up and down the streets. Had we understood this a little earlier, we might have been able to avoid the dog attack; but hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it?
I wish I’d known to start training early. We’ve gotten so much help and support from professionals—from trainers to veterinarians and more—and we’ll continue to do so. However, I wish we’d gotten started earlier, when we might have had better chances at catching certain behavior issues before they had a chance to increase in severity.
Answers From Our Community
“We just adopted this week and I’m not sure what information would have helped with the stress-bomb that is complete household reshuffling. Before adopting, I did search online and in person at Petco for pricing info for basic supplies to get a sense of how to adjust our budget for the dog. We were lucky to adopt a pretty well-behaved dog who just needs to settle in to a good bathroom routine.” — Sarah
“How expensive vet care can be when your dog is sick or injured, especially if you need to bring him/her to the emergency room. The bill can easily escalate into the thousands…” — @laptitejutras
“That they can cause such anguish from having serious behavior issues your life is completely turned upside down yet the thought of rehoming is heartbreaking.” — @cupcakeleeds
What do you wish you’d known before adopting a dog?