Consider this...

Adding a dog to your family is a big commitment of time and money. The initial adoption fee is the smallest part of the financial package. Ongoing veterinary care, emergency expenses, food, heartworm and flea preventatives, grooming and/or grooming supplies, boarding fees, supplies such as bowls, bedding and collar and leash, toys and training fees add up to more than you might expect, and the emergency expenses usually occur when you can least afford them.

Dogs also require an expenditure of time. Good dogs don't get that way by accident! It takes time and training to teach your new dog the rules of the household. Socialization around other animals and other people is necessary in order for him to be a happy, healthy pooch, and every breed needs exercise and mental stimulation in varying degrees. Of course, your new dog also needs YOU, time spent petting, hugging, and throwing the slimy tennis ball. If most of your time is spent at work, school, or out and about, your buddy will never have the chance to be your best friend. Dogs who don't receive the time they need often behave very badly, and create angst in their homes for everyone.

Once you've decided that you're ready to add a dog to the family, the age of the dog is an important consideration. Before you bring home a baby, evaluate your patience and availability for housebreaking and teaching basic skills, and consider the members of your household. If you already have a senior dog, he might be impatient with a jumpy puppy that pesters him constantly; while young children may be overwhelmed or frightened by an overly exuberant pup's needle sharp teeth and toenails. An adolescent or adult dog may be a better choice to blend with your family.

A dog should be a lifetime commitment, so take your time in evaluating your circumstances before adding one to the family. When your new buddy does join you, remember Karlene's K-9 Academy is here to help your new relationship be a successful one.