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So, you're thinking of getting a dog...


Terrific!  But, please, do your homework first.


First, be honest with yourself about handling the commitment - being home, walking, training, expense, etc.


Second, be honest with yourself about your experience with dogs and your abilities with regard to training. Do you want a dog who will run with you? A couch potato? Loves other dogs? Loves people? Protective? Able to stay home alone?


Third, research different breeds which fit into your life the best, given what you figured out about yourself in the first two steps. This is more of an elimination step. If you want a dog to be able to be off leash, you wouldn't want a Beagle.  If you can only take him on short walks, you don't want a Border Collie, for example. 


Fourth, decide if you want to adopt a puppy or an adult dog. Rescuing is a wonderful thing, but it's not for everyone.  Please don't be bullied into rescuing a dog you may not be able to handle, that doesn't do you or the dog any favors. Especially if you end up returning the dog, then he/she goes back with one or more strikes against it. The way I look at it, whether you get a dog from a breeder or a rescue, if you raise it well and keep it from needing to be rescued, you've performed a great service either way. I always say that if you get a dog as a puppy, then all the mistakes have been your own. 


Fifth, plan ahead for your pet's arrival.  I've had way too many frantic weekend calls from people who got an animal on a whim and realize they can't leave their new pet home alone when they go to work on Monday. Educate yourself and be prepared. 


Sixth, train, train, train.  Walk, walk, walk. Dogs need to know what is expected of them.  Crate training is an extremely useful tool.  It's not cruel, it keeps your dog safe from injury until they can be alone.  Walking is a great way for them to explore while building a bond with you.


Last. Love, love, love. 




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