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What to Consider before You Adopt a Dog

You have to factor in a whole range of issues when you start thinking about adopting a dog. Merely realizing that you’re a dog person isn’t enough to justify adopting a pup. You need to consider whether you’re at a point in your life when canine companionship is practical.

More households have dogs than any other pet in America, but dogs also are the pets that take the most work, time, care, and expense. Dogs need plenty of attention, regular vet care, good food, chew toys, consistent training and socialization, and a daily exercise regimen.

Being pack animals, dogs must feel like they’re a part of the family, or they won’t thrive. Even if they know they’re the lowest family member on the totem pole, dogs want to know their place so they can feel secure.

Many dogs, especially as puppies, can’t be left alone for more than a few hours without needing a bathroom, and they should never be left alone outside. They can chew up your house, bark and howl, figure out how to open cabinets, jump over baby gates, and generally cause a ruckus. Dogs need exercise in the form of walks and/or active games every day, at least twice a day.

But dogs also are incredibly rewarding companions, and a well-trained, well-socialized, and well-behaved dog is one of life’s great joys. Getting your dog to that place isn’t always easy, however. It takes work and a lot of attention!

Adopted dogs in particular can be needy and require extra work, patience, and a big effort to train and socialize in the beginning. Some fear being abandoned again, some may have health problems, and some may be distrustful of people. On the other hand, your adopted dog may be the picture of good manners, having already enjoyed good training and socialization by previous owners.

All dogs want to be with people. They are social animals and don’t enjoy being left alone in the backyard. Getting a dog means deciding that you want to hang out with a dog. It may sound obvious, but many people overlook this basic fact. If you want to hang out with a dog, great. If you think that may get tiresome, choose a different type of pet — you can choose from a variety of electronic ones!

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