Is This The Right Time For A New Dog? Seven Questions to Ask Yourself

By Karen A. Soukiasian

All too often we let our emotions get the best of us, when it comes to deciding on the when to get a new puppy or dog. There are right and wrong times. More often than not, impulsive decisions frequently lead to regretful and sometimes grave results.

Adding a puppy or dog to your household requires serious thought and candid thought to at least seven questions. Before making a decision that will affect not only your life, but also that of the animal, you must first ask yourself, and then discuss with other members of the family these questions.


Are we financially prepared to assume the responsibilities of adding a puppy or dog to our current budget? Costs definitely include food, supplies such as crate, collar, leash, toys, grooming equipment, and inoculations; which must be done regularly or replaced as needed. Then there is the obligatory spay or neuter expense every responsible dog owner willing faces. Also, equate into your financial responsibilities, the inevitable unforeseen medical expenses and perhaps replacing a few destroyed items here and there. Finally, depending on the breed, there may be professional grooming expenses.


What is our lifestyle? This question is vitally important when deciding on a breed. Just because the neighbors have a wonderful "whatever," you must take into account if that is the perfect breed for your family and lifestyle. Determine, are we an active family looking for an active dog? Do we plan to include our dog in our activities or will they be left at home? Or, are we a more laid back, not so active family, which would welcome a more laid back breed? Also, consider are there now or will there be a new infant, toddler, children under five years of age or elderly relative living in your home? If the answer any of those is yes, you have a lot to consider. Puppies, untrained, high-energy and larger breeds can be more difficult to handle. Puppies require a lot of attention and supervision. Without meaning to, any of the above may knock over and injure an infant, toddler, small child or elderly person. Perhaps an older or well-trained dog may be a wise choice.


Does anyone in our family have health issues? Allergies are one of the most common reasons why puppies and dogs are surrendered to rescues and shelters or abandoned. Before getting the pet, make sure there are no allergies!


Who will be the principal caregiver? Too often one person typically gets trapped in that thankless, unappreciated spot. They are the one that ends up making sure the animal is at least fed, watered, walked, cleaned up after, groomed, and exercised. Are YOU willing to assume that responsibility without resentment? If not, do not get a dog!


Do we have permission to have a dog? If you are a tenant, is your landlord willing to put into writing, they have given you permission to have a dog in THEIR house or apartment? Another of the uppermost reasons animals are surrendered or abandoned!


Do we have the time and are we committed to spend it with the new addition? At a minimum, they require 2 to 4 hours per day for socialization, walks, exercise, grooming, and training. Will they be kennel or crate for more than 6 hours a day? If the answer is yes, are you willing to make arrangements for a dog walker or doggie daycare? Remember, if no one is home all day, your dog's day starts the minute they hear the key in the lock. Will you be too tired to give it the attention it needs when you get home? Are you prepared to make the commitment of time, to appropriately train and exercise your pet, BEFORE they develop serious behavioral problems? If not, are you willing to seek professional assistance in adequately training your pet?


Do we have experience and the patience needed to live with a puppy? It is perfectly normal for a puppy to be high energy and possibly destructive. Are you willing to calmly deal with that stage of their development? Are you aware and prepared to assume the alpha role? The housetraining and chewing stage is not an easy time for many pets and owners. It is stressful for both! If you are unable to housetrain or deter your dog from chewing, are you willing to seek help from a professional trainer before giving up on your pet? The same holds true for adult dogs of particular high-energy breeds. If not properly trained and exercised, there will be serious behavioral issues! Are you prepared for them?

Bottom line: If you have truthfully answered yes to the seven questions, this could be the right time. You are now prepared to make an informed decision that will change your life and theirs in a committed happy, healthy, and forever loving way. Stay away from pet stores! Most likely those puppies are from dreadful puppy mills. Their breeding is uncertain. Generally, the health of their puppy is less than perfect. If you have a specific breed in mind, do your homework and find a reputable breeder. It makes an enormous difference. If your priority is to save a puppy or dog's life; your new best friend is waiting for you at a local rescue or shelter.

Karen A. Soukiasian
Article by Karen A. Soukiasian
Karen A. Soukiasian, GOOD DOG! - DOG TRAINING and BED-n-BISCUITS dog boarding and training - Owner/Trainer, St. Augustine, Florida - AKC CANINE GOOD CITIZEN and S.T.A.R. PUPPY Evaluator. Visit my website at: and my page at Facebook.