Before you get a DOG - 6 tips to get it right!
Many of us must have pestered our parents for a pet – a pet dog or a pet cat. There were those lucky ones whose parents fell for the act and got them a pet. I am from the other unfortunate group who couldn’t get her parents to get me a dog.
“Dog? I already have you two!” my mother had screeched when I had asked her for one in my third grade. In her defence, she did have her plate full with my extremely naughty elder brother and me, the younger sister who wanted to ape her brother!
And that gave me my childhood goals – grow up, earn lotsa money, become independent, get a dog!
I have grown up – enough to not want to grow up anymore, I am earning – enough to know that it won’t ever be enough, I have become independent – am at least taking care of my shit, and I finally have gotten a dog. As cool as it sounds, let me tell you from my experience of the past eleven days, it isn’t just cool!
So, in hope that you learn from my experience, here is a list of 6 tips before you get the dog-of-your-dreams home:
If you live in a house full of people, you can’t take such a huge decision by yourself – unless you are the Hitler of the house. So, consider this – are your family members alright with having a dog in the house? Will they all chip in, when required? Because whether you foresee it or not, there will come a time when you need to be out of the house and the dog still needs to be fed, bathed and walked.
If they are not okay, can you butter them up?
2. Money Matters
Today, you can find breeders online. One search on Google will leave you with a horde of contact numbers. Additionally, most of vets will also be able to point you to a good breeder. And when you finally start talking to a breeder, you might negotiate.
Yes, a dog costs. And now-a-days, they cost a lot. However, that’s not the only cost that you need to factor.
Like every other member of your family, the dog will see young life where he needs to be vaccinated and will fall ill and days when he becomes a little too old to be able to fight the illnesses by himself… he will see days of sickness and ill health.
Can you, at this point, afford his visits to the vet? Are you certain that it will not be a burden to you? Don’t make him suffer for your financial instabilities.
3. Time, Patience, Effort
Money is the smallest of the efforts. A dog doesn’t just require financial efforts. It requires time. Your dog will need to be trained. He will need to be played with. He will need to be groomed. And it all needs your time and your patience – a lot of it!
There are many dog owners who feel burdened or regret their decision after the initial excitement of getting a dog has passed. Yes, your dog will require that you give him your time and put in a hell lot of effort. But the love that he will give you in return, it will make everything worth it.
In your free time, do check out Cesar Millan, the world-renowned dog behaviorist. His website and his videos will help you in a big way on training your pup!
4. Mentally ready
Most of us pick a pup and not a fully grown dog. It is obviously the right choice – considering that you are there with him since his childhood, you are his first love, you get to train him from scratch, and he becomes pally with your family members before he starts looking scary and forbidding.
But, are you mentally prepared to father or mother him? He is a pup – equivalent of a new-born. He will pee and poop across your home, he might want nothing more than eating and sleeping, he will want to chew your house down while he’s teething, he will wake you up in the middle of the night either because he is hungry or just because, he will demand care and you will have to bow down to him.
Can you handle a few months of hardships for him?
And if after reading it all you are still ready to get your pup home, have yourself and your house readied for him.
Ensure that the house has been cleant, since as a pup he is bound to lick the floor and anything that’s within his reach. And if he hasn’t been vaccinated yet, he can easily get infected because of your negligence. Ensure you have dog food (and Cerelac, in case if he is really young) ready at home. And don’t forget bowls for him. It would be really great if you have gotten him toys to chew on and have even decided where he’s going to sleep.
Others in the list of his necessary supplies would be a collar, an identification tag, his bed, etc. but these things can come in a little later.
6. Find your Vet
Your pup will have to be taken to a vet right away. He has recently been separated from his mother and is no more going to be feeding on her milk. This can affect his sleep patterns, lower his resistance power and affect his health.
A good practice is to visit the vet and take his advice on everything from his sleep habits to his food and hygiene.
And finally, what are you waiting for? Go! Get him home! And don’t worry too much if you make mistakes and falter. You will learn. I still am.
PS: It took me unusually long to write this article, not because I didn’t know what to write but because Baloo (he is as chubby as a ‘bhaalu’!) has been chewing my hands, toes, clothes or demanding my attention after every few minutes! But, trust me, it’s all worth it when I get to cuddle him and he licks me back!