So you've decided it's time your family had a dog.
Your kids have bugged you for months and after seeing how happy your neighbors seem with their wonderful pet you've given in and you're ready to go dog shopping.
Perhaps you had a dog as a child, so you know how much fun dogs can be - right? Well most likely what you've forgotten though is that your mom or dad were the ones actually caring for the dog.
You have lovely warm fuzzy memories of romps in the front yard on sunny afternoons with the Rover of your childhood.
Ask your parents to go down memory lane with you and what you may find out is how much trouble old Rover really was and that mom had to continually clean the dog doo off your feet during those afternoon romps in the yard.
As an adult with a family now, you should take a few minutes to learn some of the important aspects of real dog ownership before you commit to your first puppy.
#1 - Puppies are like human babies who poop on the floor.
A puppy is like a toddler and until you've properly trained them they require constant looking after and follow-up.
Even after you've housebroken your puppy he'll still need to be supervised unless you want everything in your home to have a nice 'chewed-upon' look to it.
#2 - Without Training a Puppy Goes Nuts.
I remember the dogs of my childhood.
My father would bring home a stray or a stray would sit on the front porch until my Mother gave in and started feeding it; enough said.
These dogs were never trained.
They barked at everything, dug up the yard and chewed up their own dog houses.
One dog would dig out of the fenced in yard and run in traffic like a wild dog.
So, in order to keep your dog safe from oncoming semi-trucks and your yard safe from doggie destruction, you'll need to find puppy classes or at least purchase a good self-help dog obedience training book.
Dogs need to be taught what's expected of them just like your kids do.
Oh, and while you're at it, teach your kids how to socialize correctly with your new pet.
#3 - Dogs Are Expensive.
And I'm not talking about how much the breeder charges for the sweet little bundle of slobber either.
You'll need to budget for puppy vaccinations, licensing, food, toys, bedding, kennels, flea and tick meds, heartworm meds and then if you have to leave for vacation and haven't a pet sitter, then kennel boarding fees.
The list goes on of course because there's always something.
Long story short, you'll need to add the cost of caring for your new dog into your family budget for at least 10-15 years if not longer, depending on the breed you choose.
#4 - Your Little Puppy Could Grow into a Huge DOG.
Well, duh, but you'd be surprised at how many eager puppy owners fall madly in love with their new adorable little chubby cherub and then 6 months later wonder what in the world is this 100 lb.
monster tracking mud into their kitchen and eating them out of house and home.
Where'd the cherub go? He grew into a DOG that's where, and with a little planning ahead, you'll know pretty much exactly what to expect when your dog is grown up.
#5 - Dogs Love to Run and Play - A lot.
This could be a bonus or a big pain in the hiney depending on your lifestyle.
If you're into walking for exercise, then you'll have a ready-made walking companion in your new dog.
If you have kids, then they too will have built-in romping partners.
One of the health benefits of dog ownership is the increased cardiovascular exercise they can bring to a family.
Keep in mind however, that you can always choose a dog breed that doesn't require quite as much extra activity if you're not in the position to get out of the house daily.
Select a dog breed to fit your activity level and you'll be pleasantly rewarded.
Now that you've made the decision to bring a dog into your family, you'll find that with the proper training and planning your new companion will bring much joy and happiness to your family and create lasting memories for all.