Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya

As dogs are considered family, people often forget that there are complex realities regarding dog parenting. How is it a privilege and responsibility when caring for dogs?

Dog parenting is a beautiful role, especially when you have a heart for nurturing these animals. However, getting a dog is not just a privilege. It’s a heavy responsibility that requires you to be financially, emotionally, and psychologically capable. Those three things are the same aspects a person should have if they want to have children.

That’s why for Rotha J. Dawkins, an author with multiple genres of books, what matters is touching the hearts of every fur parent. One of her books is called ‘Treats & Tales,’ about a dog named Lil Red who’s on the run. She’s a very friendly dachshund and is on a unique quest for survival. Dawkins aims to create a fun learning experience for people of all ages.

In today’s modern age, “owning” a dog can seem off-putting for people who passionately love these four-legged animals. Nowadays, we call it “fur parenting,” as pets have assimilated themselves as full-time family members. However, that’s still not the case for some who need to distinguish what responsible dog parenting means clearly.

Preparations for you to become a responsible dog parent

Despite the highs of wanting a dog in your home, you must brace yourself for some things. After all, dogs depend on us for food and shelter at best. But even with that, they deserve so much more. Allowing a dog into your life means completely understanding the commitment entailed with dog parenting.

As long as you’re in it for the long haul, below is a list of essential points to consider when getting a dog:

Awareness of the commitment

It may have been mentioned already, but you must be fully committed to caring for a dog. And fully committed means being its full-time provider for the rest of its life. Contrary to what others think, no one should get a dog out on impulse. The dog is the one who’s most affected by every decision we make for them.

You need to honestly assess yourself to see if you are ready for it. Do you have the financial, emotional, and time commitment that a dog needs? Regardless of how cute their faces are as they look at you, avoid getting swayed to the point of taking them home unprepared. You’ll only bring more harm than good.

Evaluate your lifestyle

Different dogs match households specific to their build and temperament. An equally active dog will be perfect for you if you have an active lifestyle. Dogs’ energy levels range from calm to hyperactive, and so is their need for attention.

This is also crucial if you’re not living alone or have a family with children. Evaluate each aspect of their lifestyles, from their hobbies to their personalities. It will heavily factor in on the perfect family dog, so you must choose a breed that suits everyone’s lifestyle. If you’re living alone, you only need to consider your living conditions and personal preferences. A calm, friendly, and moderately energetic dog is highly recommended for those with children.

Listing the ideal qualities of a dog you want

The qualities you want in a dog are very crucial. Remember to list all the characteristics you wish to have since they will affect how you’ll treat the dog once you get one. While you’re searching for the perfect breed, take note of the following traits:

  • Size
  • Energy levels
  • Temperament
  • Health and Grooming needs
  • Maintenance levels
  • Trainability

Another aspect you should heavily consider is your living space. Are you residing in an apartment or a suburban home? Observe the restrictions that would affect your dog’s breed. You will avoid regrets later by matching your ideal dog to your living space.

Talking to an experienced fur parent, rescuer, or breeder

Whether you adopt or purchase from a breeder, both options are correct. The end goal is to ensure that the dog’s cared for. You have a better chance if you get a dog from no-kill shelters and responsible breeders who prioritize the dog’s welfare.

For a guaranteed breeder referral, you may contact the AKC so they can connect you to a responsible and ethical breeder. The AKC can also help you look for the area’s best rescue organization or foster dog parent.

Once you find the one, don’t be afraid to ask the hard and uncomfortable questions about dog parenting. You must inquire if the dogs have been spayed or neutered and screened for health issues. In the same way, brace yourself for extensive questioning from shelters and breeders. They’re only concerned for the future of the dogs they’ll be rehoming.

Willingness to play the long waiting game

Availability for both shelters and breeders varies, especially for the latter. Responsible breeders don’t overbreed their dogs, as it’s a health risk for the mother dog. You also have to know the best time to take a dog home, especially when planning to give it to someone as a gift.

Breeders don’t recommend it since a new puppy requires a person’s undivided attention. It will also cause more trouble than it should, heavily affecting the dog. Dog parenting needs to be a personal decision that should be handled individually. If you gift a pet, chances are they’ll end up in a shelter, another home, or worse, abandoned. The problem is that the recipient wasn’t involved in the choosing process. Thus, they need more preparation for pet parenting.

Remember that a good dog is always worth the wait, so you must be willing to go through a tedious process, file some papers, and get them registered with the AKC. And lastly, never give up on your dog because they’ll be the most loving and selfless companions you can have for a lifetime.

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