For many of us, a home just isn’t a home without a dog. Millions of people in the US alone are dog parents, and it’s easy to see why these loveable animals are so popular.
But, getting a dog is a big commitment, and there are things to consider before you make the decision to bring a pup into your life, along with the fun stuff like which of the best dog toys to buy.
Some of them might not even occur to you but are just as important to think about. And that’s why Ruben Montes, owner and trainer at Kindred Dog PDX in Portland, Oregon, has outlined five off-the-radar factors to consider in a new Instagram post.
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1. Grooming: “Grooming is more than a brushing,” explains Montes. You’ll need to consider the breed of dog you’re getting, and whether they have any specific needs. And then, there are things like ears, nails, and teeth to think about. You might not know how to groom a dog just yet, but there’s no time like the present to find out!
2. Training: Are you willing to put the work in when it comes to training, and will you have the time? As Montes says, training your dog will make your life easier, and it’ll make your dog better at the same time.
3. Nutrition: “Good food means your dog is feeling good,” says Montes. What will you be feeding your dog, and will you be able to cater to any potential dietary needs? These six dog nutrition myths busted by a vet should give you some food for thought – pardon the pun.
4. Fulfilling their instincts: Letting your dog fulfill their natural instincts will help them both physically and mentally. Engage in activities and play with your dog in ways that will help them do so, and learn about your dog – read up on dogs and their instincts.
5. Proper desensitization: It’s vital, but just what is desensitization for dogs? It’s a way of gradually exposing them to potential triggers. It’ll help build your dog’s confidence and will mean that they’re better suited to a range of environments and scenarios.
No dog parent is totally perfect, and we all wish that we could spend more time with our pups, or spend more money on them. But, considering the factors above before making the decision to bring a dog into your life will help you to see whether or not you’re in a position to do so.
Will you have the time to really train and desensitize your dog? Are you willing to put the work into grooming them, and making sure they have a healthy diet? If you do, that’s great! But not everyone is in the position to be a dog parent, and that’s okay.
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Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.