by Lauren Edwards
Adopting a dog to enhance your family unit is not a decision you should take lightly. You need to put as much careful planning into the adoption process as you would in buying a house, preparing for a baby or when organizing your wedding. Researching the right breed for your circumstances is of paramount importance, as unfortunately many prospective owners rush into the decision, often swayed by a new designer breed, without considering what the animal may be like.
It is a good idea before embarking on the dog adoption process that you evaluate how your life could fit around a dog and not how a dog could fit into your life. You need to calculate how long the dog may be left alone during the day if your family is at work or school, as more than four hours is not really acceptable. Furthermore, you need to decide if you can put aside time to exercise your new canine friend and whether you would be prepared to train it. Puppies will need training whether for toilet needs or for when you are walking them.
If you have young children it is worth investigating which breeds would suit a family situation, most breeds can lend well to a noisy household but not every dog appreciates its ears being pulled by a toddler. It is very common for young families to opt for a puppy as they will grow with the children; however, it is important to remember that puppies under 5 months have very sharp milk teeth that they will use to nip as part of a natural reaction.
Introducing a dog to a family should have all the family members backing, many children will earnestly promise to help walk the dog before it arrives only to lose interest very quickly once the dog is settled. It is a sad truth that many dogs adopted as cute puppies once thrust into a home situation where the owner has no prior experience or expectation can often find them back in a rescue center. The well-known Battersea Dogs home in London promises never to turn a dog away but with up to 9,000 dogs crossing their threshold each year with only 5,000 being rehomed, it means that sadly over 2,000 dogs will be put down.
The average dog lives between 10-15 years so it is a major commitment and should mean that the dog remains in the family through sickness and health, till death do us part. It is common for people to head to a pet shop or breeders to pick their future dog, however, with so many rescue centers crammed full of dogs needing homes it is well worth considering a rescue dog. Rescue centers are invested in finding a suitable home for their dogs and not just freeing up a kennel. They strive to not repeat the pattern of dogs being rehomed so there will always be plenty of advice and support on hand to help with this life-changing decision.
Lauren Edwards is a passionate pet owner.