Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting a First Dog - Part II

This is the 2nd part of a list I made of things we did right and things we wish we had done right before we got our first dog, Badger. (Read part 1 here.) The target audience is people who don't currently have a dog, which probably doesn't include anyone reading this blog. But if any of my dog-less friends asks for advice, I can just give them this link instead of trying to come up with something off the top of my head.

DO - Make sure you budget for the dog. Dogs are expensive. Between food, treats, vet bills, apartment fees, and toys, our regular monthly cost for Badger was about $150. And this isn't counting "start-up" costs like a crate and adoption fees. It is also very easy to overspend on dog-related items. I have a problem with buying too many dog toys, and Llamaentity has a problem with buying too many dog treats.

The objects in this picture total about $400
DO - Find a vet. We looked on Yelp and found a nearby vet with good reviews. I'm sure there's a better way to do this, but our vet turned out to be pretty good. Badger had digestive problems from the moment we got him, so it was good that we already knew a place to take him.

DO - Find a dog trainer. We spent a good deal of time "patching up" Badger's behavior problems through internet research. I would not recommend doing this, because there is so much advice on the internet, some of it conflicting. We tried a lot of different methods that we found online. Some of it was helpful, and some of it was potentially harmful. If I could do it again, I would have established a relationship with a trainer before even bringing Badger home. Also, if you are getting a pitbull or pit mix, ask the trainer if he/she works with them. Some trainers do not; other trainers offer a discount! =)

Badger waits patiently for a hotdog slice

DO - Research quality dog foods. My family and Llamaentity's family always fed our dogs Science Diet, but it gave Badger terrible digestive problems. It wasn't until we did more research that we realized Science Diet wasn't as high-quality as it pretended to be. (Advertisers lying? Shocking!) We found out about California Natural during a local dog event, and Badger's digestive problems have since been fixed. (Yes, I know that California Natural was recently bought out by Proctor & Gamble, but it's the best food we've found so far for Badger's delicate digestive system.)

DO - Be willing to sacrifice your social life. Llamaentity and I don't have as active a social life as we once did because of budget issues and the fact that we have to accommodate the dogs' schedule. Also, wait a few months before scheduling a vacation. You want to give your new dog plenty of time to settle in.

"Why do you need a social life? Aren't I enough?"

DO - Read dog blogs! Okay, so if you're reading this, you're already reading at least one dog blog. But if you're looking for more dog blogs, click on the "Dog Blogs" link right under the website header. I've learned a lot by reading other people's blogs!

Do you have any additional pointers on what to do (or what not to do) when getting your first dog?


  1. What a well thought out post! All I can think of to add to it is training related. But people should remember that not all dogs are alike and we shouldn't compare dogs to each other, like I tend to do.
    The social aspect of owning a dog is the biggest for me. I am very lucky to have a great pet loving family & friends that we can take Trinity with us to there homes. But whenever we go out to eat I'm always wondering how she is and saying how much I miss her. I guess that's a DO expect to get attached, very, very attached ;)

  2. Great blog post.
    I would love to read more.
    Keep up the good work!

    Stop by for a visit

    Flynnah & Roxy xx