Thinking about getting a dog?  Or perhaps you already own one.  At About.com they’ve published a great set of guidelines for pet owners to consider…IMG_8174by JENNA STREGOWSKI, RVT

Picking the Wrong Dog (or Getting a Dog Before You’re Ready)

Getting a dog on impulse is pretty easy to do. It can be so hard to resist those puppy-dog eyes, especially when it’s is a dog in need of a home. However, there are many practical decisions to make before you decide that dog is the one for you. To name just a few,

Can and will you take the necessary time for dog training, exercise, other activities, bonding, etc.

Are you willing to put up with shedding, messes, illnesses, behavior problems and more?

Can you afford the dog?

Is the dog’s size appropriate for your living space?

Are you even ready to own a dog? Or, to own another dog (if you already have a dog)?

Will your current pets tolerate the addition?

Ask yourself these questions and more before you risk getting a dog that will be unhappy (or that will make you unhappy).

Dismissing Training and Socialization

Every dog needs basic training and socialization. Some need more than others, but they all need some. If you decide not to train your dog, you are putting her at a disadvantage. How will she know the rules? What kind of structure and guidance are you providing? Don’t think of training as a chore. When done positively, training is actually fun and enriching for dogs.

Socialization allows a dog to get used to things in the environment, like children, other adults, other animals, objects, environments, and various situations.

Without proper socialization, dogs can develop fears and phobias. Even worse, lack of socialization can lead to an array of behavior problems. Socialization is not just for puppies. You can socialize your adult dog too!

Want to bring your dog out on the town? A well-trained, well-socialized dog will be more welcome in public places that allow pets, such as parks, restaurant patios and even some businesses. Also, your friends and family are more likely to invite you to bring your dog to events if he is behaved and well-adjusted.

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other topics discussed in detail include: Not Offering Enough Exercise, Avoiding the Veterinarian, Skipping Heartworm PreventionNeglecting Dental Health, Improper Feeding, Letting Behavior Get Out of Control and more…

(ASK.COM)