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Responsible Pet Ownership

Welcoming a pet into your home is a wonderful experience and has many benefits but it is also a huge commitment for the rest of the animal’s life. Before you adopt, you need to consider some of these important questions and understand what being a responsible pet owner is. Always remember that most pets are surrendered to animal shelters due to lack of training and socialisation. You must be prepared to invest in training and socialising your dog to ensure they lead a happy and healthy life. Be prepared to set aside at least 1-2 hours per day to excersize them and provide the correct stimulation so they do not become bored and anxious.

Why do I want a dog/cat? Many people like the idea of a dog/cat or can’t resist a cute puppy but don’t think about the changes it will make in their life. Pets are companions. They live with us and depend on us for all of their needs physically and mentally. Having a pet is like having another family member in the home and they should be treated as such.

This is a great responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. Are my children ready for a pet? Never bring a dog/cat into the home on the assumption that he/she is for the kids only and because they have asked for one. Older children can share the responsibility of daily tasks such as feeding, poop scooping etc., but adopting any pet must be a family decision and a family responsibility. Remember, ultimately the parent is responsible for the pet as children can loose interest. Consider the life span of the dog you choose aswell. Are you willing to be responsible for the dog once your children leave home? Is there a baby on the way?

Responsible Pet ownership

Is it the right time to adopt a dog? If you are planning to move, change jobs or are not home frequently, this may not be a good time to adopt a dog or cat. Dogs need stability and routine to feel secure and to be happy. Consider your future plans and evaluate if a dog will fit in with those plans. Do I have the time for a dog? The amount of activity you do, the amount of time you are at home, what to do when you go away are all factors to consider when choosing a dog or puppy to adopt. You need to provide a minimum of an hour a day of active play and walks for your dog or puppy.

Are my living arrangements suitable for a dog? All members of the household should be in agreement of the dog you choose. If you are renting you will need permission in writing from your landlord. Do you have enough space for the dog you are considering? Most dogs don’t need a lot of room but some will require more than others. Some large breed dogs don’t need as much space as people think while many medium breeds need lots of space. It is the outdoor exercise outside the family home that is the most important. Is your back garden securely enclosed?

The importance of Dog Training and Socialising

Dog training is a fantastic way for you to bond with your new dog and it should always be fun for both of you. We recommend that everyone should attend a dog training course whether you adopt a puppy or an adult dog. Training classes are to help you, the owner, so that you can help and train your dog. Positive reinforcement training is the kindest training method and it is scientifically proven to achieve the best results. If a dog has any issues, a responsible owner needs to be prepared to work with their dog and not give up on them; they rely on you and are doing their best to fit in with your routine.

Are you prepared for potential issues your dog may have? Remember, adopted dogs may need additional bonding and reassurance time in the early weeks and in general we estimate that it takes at least 6-8 weeks for a new dog to fully settle into their new home, some may take longer. The DSPCA Dog Training Academy has a range of courses and workshops to help you and your dog. Training classes are not just for a new puppy, you may find your dog is difficutl to walk or lead or is reactive when out walking in public. To find out more on our classes(add link here to dog training) (pictures to be provided for this section)