Dogs are awesome.
If you’ve stumbled upon this guide, it’s probably because you have just realized, or are starting to realize, that the above statement is true. And, if you are still unsure, here’s an indisputable list to support that fact:
Seven reasons why dogs are awesome:
- “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings
- How many other pets (or people) jump for joy every time you walk in the door?
- They ALWAYS want to hang out with you.
- They will alert you of any possible danger, including burglars, neighbors, and doorbells.
- They give you an automatic excuse to leave any situation early: “Gotta let the dog out!”
- Dogs never hold a grudge.
- Dogs love unconditionally, and for life.
Point proven; accept it as gospel.
But dogs are also a lot of work. Along with that never-ending joy and happiness comes a boatload of responsibility.
- Dogs need exercise… every… single… day.
- Dogs take a long time to house train (typically 4 months MINIMUM).
- A dog’s gotta eat – and dog food isn’t cheap!
- Dogs always believe that you will be just as excited to play fetch, chase, or tug-of-war as they are.
- So much joy always eventually leads to a broken heart (warning: only watch if you want to cry).
Still, in spite of the responsibilities, commitment, and eventual heartache, I firmly believe that everyone should own a dog at some point in their life. I believe Roger Crass said it best:
This guide’s purpose is to help you figure out if now is the right time in your life to jump “paws first” into one of the most rewarding, loving friendships you will ever experience in your life.
Why Did I Write This Guide?
I wanted to give you the most comprehensive and detailed guide to answering the question “Am I ready for a dog?” and the additional information you will need in selecting the right dog. This resource combines all the great information that you could find from talking to experts, reading books, and searching the web, all in one place.
Before writing this guide, I realized that there was no one GREAT online resource to help a first-time dog owner address all the questions and concerns that you are faced when trying to find the perfect puppy. I wanted to offer that resource to EVERYONE who needs it, and I think this is it.
Who Is This Guide For?
If you are thinking about buying a dog for this first time, this guide is definitely for you. It will answer almost every question that you have about:
– How to choose the right type of dog
– Where you can find your dog (shelters, rescues, and breeders)
– What questions to ask when looking
It will also help you honestly evaluate if you are ready for dog ownership and what to do to prepare yourself for the first few weeks with your puppy. However, this guide isn’t just for first time owners. Anyone who has owned a dog, past or present, will find useful information within this guide. This guide provides you with dozens of things that you can use right now or in the future to find the perfect puppy.
How Much of This Guide Should I Read?
We recommend reading the whole thing! You should read it especially if you are thinking about buying your first dog. However, if you are an experienced dog owner you can also skip from chapter to chapter, picking and choosing topics that you are interested in or want to learn more about.
The process of choosing a dog can be broken down into smaller pieces, and each section will help you gain a better understanding of each part. Once you combine them all together, they interlock to show you the whole picture, so even if you aren’t a first time owner, you’ll want to read it all.
You might want a dog more than anything in the world, but if you aren’t prepared, then you should wait to become a dog owner. In this chapter, you are going to learn exactly what it takes to be a good puppy parent and determine whether or not you are really ready. We will walk you through exactly what you need to consider before you make the leap into dog ownership. Everyone wants to find the perfect dog, but it’s just as important that every dog finds a great owner.
Choosing the right kind of dog is another vital step in the process of getting a dog. Certain breeds work better with certain lifestyles. An active breed needs an active owner, dedicated to providing it with plenty of exercise. On the other hand, some breeds are content lounging around most of the day and could be a better fit for someone with a busy schedule. Do you live in an apartment? Or out in the country with a large yard? These factors will come into play when choosing the right breed.
Additionally, you will need to consider if you want a puppy or if you would be happy with an older dog. Both will have their benefits and drawbacks. Puppies are cute and fun, but lots of work to train and care for. Older dogs are often already trained and will have their personalities fully formed before you adopt them.
What type of breed and what age of dog you are looking for will help you determine where to look for your puppy. This section will provide you with a comprehensive resource for exactly where and how to look for the perfect puppy. Don’t make the mistake of a spontaneous purchase! There are thousands of places to find your new puppy, and we list many of them here.
Adopting from a rescue or a shelter can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. However, you need to have a game plan before you visit. Oftentimes a visit to a shelter can be an extremely emotional experience, which can cause some to make a spontaneous decision without enough forethought. In this section, we give you the tips and tools to enable you to make the best decision possible for you and your future puppy.
Good dog breeders come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, so do bad breeders. Determining whether a breeder is good or bad is difficult for a new puppy owner, but the process starts even before you visit their home. Phone calls, online research, and talking with past buyers are a few ways to help you decide if a breeder is worth visiting. Read this chapter for detailed information about the questions to ask, places to look, and people to talk to in order to help you make the right choice.
Do you know what to look for on your visit to a breeder? A visual inspection of a breeder’s facility will give you a lot of insight into the health and happiness of their dogs. We provide you with a detailed checklist to use when visiting a breeder so you can decipher any red flags that may have been hidden before.
Once you have chosen the right shelter, rescue, or breeder, choosing the exact puppy that will be your newest family member is the final step. Typically you will have multiple adorable dogs or puppies to choose from, all of whom you will want to take home with you. This final section will teach you to quickly assess their personalities and physical signs, helping you pick the best dog for your family.