Is quarantine a great time to get a dog? Maybe, maybe not. I have noticed a lot of people thinking now is a good time because they are home and have time for training, and I love the impulse to bring a new friend into your home, to have a buddy to take on all the walks everyone is roaming around on these days, to share love with a pup who surely needs love, and to help the shelters and rescues clear out their dogs. However, not everyone is putting enough thought into what happens when life returns to a new normal. Some people thought about it and wondered if getting two dogs who can keep each other company once we all go back to work and school is a good solution, but two dogs are not necessarily easier than one dog unless they are already bonded adults who get along well. Two littermate puppies are often quite a bit of trouble (Google “littermate syndrome” for some caveats on this concern. Reputable breeders will never, never allow you to adopt two puppies at once.) Read through this list and see if you agree with these statements or if you might want to think through the idea a little bit more:
We’ve wanted a dog for a while and we've thought about the supplies we need and how our routine might have to change and who is going to be responsible for things like feeding, watering, and cleaning up after the dog, nail trims, brushing, and so on.
We have a schedule that lends itself to having a dog when things go back to normal, meaning either someone is home most of the day to provide exercise, companionship, and potty breaks, or someone leaves later and someone gets home earlier, or we can either hire a dog walker or have a friend/ family member/ neighbor help out.
We can play with and exercise our dog in the afternoons and evenings since a dog can’t be alone all day and alone again all night while we’re asleep.
If we attend evening activities like sports practice and plan to bring our dog, we know we need to select a dog who is comfortable around busy environments, loud noises, and lots of people, dogs, and traffic, and if we have a puppy, we need to plan a careful socialization schedule with a trainer to make sure the puppy is confident about those things since it’s not easy to prep for that during quarantine.
We know that if we adopt a young puppy, socialization requires daily effort, and doesn’t just mean hanging out with other dogs. (Did you just think, “Huh?” More info here.)
We know that housetraining takes weeks or sometimes months for puppies and may include middle of the night trips outside.
We know that rescue dogs likely need some remedial training, puppies definitely need training, and that dog trainers mostly train the humans. We are prepared to invest time and money in reputable group or private training, read books, watch videos, or whatever works best for our family, but we know that the dog won’t instantly be perfect and might even cause some damage to our floors and belongings.
We know that there will be fur in the corners and in the upholstery no matter how much we vacuum unless we get a Poodle or a Xolo.
We know that Poodles (and many other breeds) have regular dates with a professional groomer.
We know that the dog will need veterinary care including exams, lab work, dental care, immunizations, and monthly worm/flea/tick preventatives. We have looked into reputable providers in our area and the cost of these expenses and/ or the cost of insurance. We know that if dogs get sick at night, on the weekend, or on a holiday they go to a Pet ER and the cost of emergency care can be thousands of dollars and we're prepared for that, too.
We know that our dog will need care when we travel at a cost upwards of $40 per night if we don’t have a friend to watch him/her and we are prepared for that.
We know that the current environment is not typical and that we will need to find creative ways to teach our new dog to be comfortable alone, and possibly confined. We need to teach the dog to entertain himself instead of expecting constant companionship. Hints: take walks alone. Take showers without your dog in the bathroom. Maintain a daily routine of some kind.
If you are re-thinking a dog now, consider whether your family might be a better fit for a cat or a small animal that can be alone for a longer stretch since they can use litter indoors, for instance. You might also be a great temporary foster family for a rescue in need of help. Consider your options carefully, and if you do decide to adopt, be sure to select a pet whose needs match your family’s lifestyle carefully, not just a pet that looks adorable in a photo. If you need help with that, schedule a phone consult with one of our trainers and we'll be happy to advise you