Being a dog owner is fun! You always have someone to cuddle with, you have a walk buddy, and your four-legged friend is always there when you need him. However, being a dog owner is also a lot of responsibility, you have to be serious about the commitment that it entails.
So, what do you need to do to be a responsible dog owner?
Evaluate your lifestyle
Think about the type of dog that will best suit your lifestyle. Evaluate all aspects of your family’s life — hobbies, activities, personalities — before choosing a breed.
Buy the necessities…and toys.
Purchase food, treats, a collar and leash, toys, grooming tools, and other things you’ll need in advance so that your dog or puppy’s transition into your home will be a smooth one.
Dog-proof your house
Prepare your home before your new dog arrives. Move breakables or “chewables” to higher ground. Make electrical cords inaccessible to curious paws and noses. Block off any area of the house that’s off-limits. Block access to any house or garden plants that are toxic to dogs.
Select a veterinarian
Choose a veterinarian ahead of time, so you’ll be ready for a visit soon after your dog comes home. Give your vet copies of the dog’s health records, and set up a vaccination and check-up schedule.
Set house rules
Teach your dog from the beginning what is and is not appropriate behavior. If something is “OK” today, your puppy will think it’s OK forever. Make sure every member of the family is aware of the rules you’ve set. Consistency is key to being a responsible dog owner.