Getting a family dog: The dos and don'ts
Getting a family dog is easy; just take note of these dog selection dos and don’ts.
Are you finally giving in to your children’s requests by getting a family dog? Bringing a new furry family member into the house might seem like a lot of fun but it is also a huge commitment. Make sure you consider these do’s and don’t’s to ensure your family’s safety and cooperation when your new dog arrives.
1. Do pick a dog that suits your family – Depending on your family’s lifestyle, stick to a dog that’ll keep up with you. Avoid high-maintenance lapdogs if your family doesn’t have time to take it to the groomers. Don’t pick out a large, active dog like a Labrador or retriever if you lead a sedentary lifestyle and prefer to stay indoors.
2. Do choose a right time to adopt – When getting a family dog, ensure the right timing. Remember that a dog requires a lot of attention, dedication and time from you. If you’ll be moving in a few months, currently working long hours, one of your family members is sick, or going to have a baby, you might want to hold off the adoption.
3. Do opt for an older dog – When getting a family dog, don’t discount older dogs. Adopting an older dog has its advantage because it is usually past the excitable and sometimes destructive stage and some may even already be toilet – trained. Older dogs are also less fragile and require less attention than a puppy. Unless you’re very experienced with dogs, be wary of abused dogs as they may have unstable temperaments and could pose a danger for young children.
4. Do practice patience – Getting a family dog can be quite trying for someone who has never owned a pet. A dog could destroy furniture, pee and poo anywhere, jump or nip at you. Just like a child, your canine friend needs love and understanding. Don’t give up on your errant dog too quickly; send him to training school and consult a veterinarian for advice.
5. Do check the rules – If you live in a HDB, do check if your dog is an acceptable breed. You can refer to the pictures below for acceptable breeds. Also remember to license your dog with AVA and do take note that only 1 dog is allowed per HDB apartment.
1. Don’t just get a dog – Whether you plan on getting a family dog from the rescue shelter or a dog breeder, it is important that you take your time to meet up with its current caregivers, ask questions and find out more about what you’re getting yourself into. The breeder can help you understand your dog’s personality, quirks (if any), food preferences, and any medical/health status. Importantly, visiting these previous owners or caretakers will allow you to see if the dog’s previous living quarters and situation were healthy and safe. Don’t support bad breeders, only get your dog from a trusted source.
2. Don’t skimp on training – Doggie training is a great investment that you will not regret. Dogs of all breeds, ages and sizes can benefit from training. A proper training program will help you to enjoy your dog without any worries on discipline and aggression issues. If possible, the whole family should be part of the training. It’s not just your pet that needs training. Everyone who handles your pet regularly should also be aware of these methods.
3. Don’t pick a hairy dog if you’re allergic – If anyone in your family is allergic to dog hair, take care to select a pet with short hair or a dog that doesn’t shed as often, like Poodles or Schnauzers. Arm yourself with an air purifier to immediately catch loose pet hair in the home.
4. Don’t be biased –When getting a family dog, some people can’t help but veer towards the saddest looking dog or the most beautiful one of the bunch. If you get carried away with your emotions, you might be picking a dog that’s not right for your family. A pet is not an impulse purchase. Give yourself a cooling off period and go back and see if the dog you picked first time is still the one you gravitate towards.
Remember that you are everything to your pet and its entire life is dependent on you. Be a responsible and loving pet owner and teach your children to do the same. The SPCA provides a great deal of information on their site about responsible pet ownership. You can also call them at 6287 5355 ext. 24 for pet adoptions.
Do you have a family dog? How did you choose your dog? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment. For more information about selecting dogs, watch this video: