Are You Ready for A Dog?

A pet will become your daily responsibility for the rest of its life … 12 to 20 years … so make an informed selection.  You’ve read about the millions of unwanted pets that have to be put to death each year. Pets selected on impulse, “for the children,” or as a gift during the holidays sometimes end up this way. These pets once belonged to people who fell in love–and then changed their minds. A pet relinquished to a shelter may find a new home, but many pets turned in to shelters are killed.  Most people looking for dogs at shelters want young, small, cuddly animals. If a dog is older than three, is large, is shy or skittish around humans or other dogs, or growls at other dogs when it is eating, chances are that it will not find a new home, but will be killed to make room for more adoptable animals. Reasons people give for turning their pets over to a shelter include moving, landlord won’t allow pet, too many animals, cost of pet maintenance, owner’s personal problems,  inadequate facilities, no time for pet, pet illness, allergies, house soiling, incompatible with other pets, biting. Think ahead … most of these situations can be avoided.  Owner ignorance populates shelters with abandoned dogs and cats.

Now, more than ever, people must recognize that having a dog in their lives is both a privilege and a responsibility. You must schedule the time to take your puppy to puppy classes. As a dog grows and ages, physical and mental stimulation must be provided to ensure a well-adjusted and well-behaved dog. These efforts can include obedience training classes, off-leash recreation and agility and fly-ball training.  Selecting a pet should be a family project with everyone’s needs, concerns, fears, and medical history (including allergies) considered. Family members should decide together what kind of animal they want, the amount of time they anticipate spending with it, and the amount of responsibility each person is willing to assume. Be realistic. Promises from some family  members, particularly children, may not be fulfilled. If you ignore resistance by one family member, it is quite likely that the pet will suffer and eventually be thrown out of the family.

On the subject of allergies, while it is true that many people who are allergic to other breeds have fewer problems living with Airedales, it is not always the case. You should not consider an Airedale without personally handling one to see how you react. Also, the fact that you have allergies is not a sufficient reason to get an Airedale. There are other breeds (for example, Poodles) which are also “less allergic”, which may suit you and your family better.

Think before you adopt. Sharing your life with a pet can bring incredible rewards, but only if you are willing to make the necessary commitment of time, money, responsibility and love for the life of the pet.

Your goal is to identify the best animal(s) for your living space, lifestyle, and budget. But before making that final decision to bring a pet into your life, take time, involve the family, and think about these questions:

Why do you want a dog?

It’s amazing how many people fail to ask themselves this simple question before they adopt a pet. Adopting a dog just because “everyone should have one” or the kids have been begging for a puppy since watching “101 Dalmatians” usually ends up being a big mistake. Don’t forget that dogs may be with you 10, 15 or even 20 years.

Have you owned an Airedale previously?

Airedales are not for everyone. A properly socialized Airedale truly is the “king of terriers.” Airedales are incredibly smart, but not always all that eager to please. They were bred to hunt independently and think on their own, so they don’t automatically agree that their upright companion knows best. Terriers are hardwired to dig and hunt. People who can accommodate and enjoy a terrier’s natural instincts will be happier than those who have to take measures on a daily basis to prevent their terrier from doing what it was bred to do. Before considering adopting or purchasing an Airedale, you should read everything you can find about the breed. Start with Is an Airedale the Right Breed for Your Family?

Do you have time for a dog?

Dogs cannot be ignored just because you’re tired or busy. They require food, water, exercise, care and companionship every day of every year. Many animals in shelters are there because their owners didn’t realize how much time it took to properly care for them. Do you have the time and commitment to take your Airedale to socialization/training classes? Do you want your pet to be a member of the family? Airedales must be socialized and need careful, gentle training. An Airedale not properly socialized and treated as a member of the family can become neurotic, destructive, dog aggressive or even people aggressive.

Can you afford a dog?

How Much Does It Really Cost To Own and Care For A Dog?

The costs of dog ownership can be quite high. Veterinary care, licenses, training classes, grooming, food, toys, and other expenses add up quickly.

Are you prepared to deal with special problems that only a dog can cause?

Flea infestations, scratched furniture, accidents from dogs that are not yet housebroken or have house training regression due to stress and unexpected medical emergencies are unfortunate but common aspects of dog ownership.

Can you have a large dog where you live?

Many rental communities do not allow pets and most of the rest  have restrictions on large dogs. Make sure you know what they are before you bring a companion animal home.

Is it a good time for you to adopt a dog?

If, for instance, you work full time and have children younger than six years old, you might consider waiting a few years before you adopt an Airedale. Dog ownership requires children who are mature enough to be responsible. If you are a student, in the military, travel frequently, or if your employment is uncertain, waiting until your life has stabilized is a wise decision.

Are your living arrangements suitable for an Airedale?

Adopting a large and energetic dog to share your small apartment, for example, will require a huge commitment on your part to get him enough exercise. A bored and under exercised Airedale can cause a lot of destruction. You should seriously consider adopting an older Airedale in this circumstance. Many healthy Airedales live active and vigorous lives well into their ‘teens, but are content with twice daily walks rather than the vigorous exercise an adolescent Airedale requires.

Are you looking for an Outside Dog?

Airedales do best when they are part of the family. Behavior  problems will only get worse if your solution is to keep the dog outside.

Before you get your new puppy or dog, investigate  socialization/training classes, visit as many as you can and find one that uses positive training methods.

Before you get your new puppy or dog, go to your library or book store and read books on raising puppies, buy one you like and consult it often. Even if your new dog will be an adult, you should treat it just like a puppy until it has learned the ways of your household. Spending the time to prepare for and prevent problems will pay immense dividends for the rest of your dog’s life.

Read this article about the problems caused by Outside Dogs

Do you know who will care for your dog while you are on vacation?

You’ll need either reliable friends or neighbors or money to pay for a boarding kennel or pet-sitting service.

Will you be a responsible dog owner?

Why did Spot cross the road? He loved the ladies. Unfortunately, his latest girlfriend lived on the far side of the highway. Spot never made it to the other side. About 80% of dogs hit by vehicles each year are un-neutered males. Fixing your pet decreases the urge to wander and increases his chances of living a longer, healthier life. Get your pet fixed.

Don’t use your dogs to teach your children about the birds and the bees.

Between 8-12 million companion animals are killed each year in America due to lack of homes. Don’t let your pet have even one litter.

For every person that is born, 15 dogs are also born. You do the numbers …

There aren’t enough homes for them all. You can solve the problem. Spay or neuter today.

Having your pet spayed or neutered, obeying leash and licensing laws and keeping identification tags on your dogs are all part of being a responsible dog owner. Of course, giving your dog love, companionship, exercise, a healthy diet and regular veterinary care are essential.

Finally, are you prepared to keep and care for the dog for his or her entire lifetime?

When you adopt a dog, you are making a commitment to care for the dog for his or her lifetime, even if your circumstances change. If you have doubts about any of the issues raised above, please wait and give this important decision more thought. Postponing your decision is far more preferable than jumping into pet ownership before you are really ready. It is your dog who will pay the price for the wrong decision.