Do You Have Time for a

If you have never owned a dog, at least as an adult, you may not understand how much time a dog requires. Dogs are companion animals; that means they are happiest while spending time with their

Adding a dog to your family is a big commitment. Make sure you think through your decision and have agreement from everyone in the family. Bella, a Labrador Retriever, pictured with owners Kyle and Amy Gallagher.

people. When isolated for hours at a time, day after day, many dogs develop bad behaviors (barking, digging, destructive chewing) out of loneliness and boredom. If you live alone and work long hours every day, don't get a dog, unless you have a neighbor who will help you. If he or she will take your dog out a couple of times each day for a potty break, a walk, and a play session, then dog ownership might work. If a neighbor is not available, you might want to check into hiring a professional dog walker or taking the dog to doggy daycare. But look into these services before you get a dog, as they can be expensive. Otherwise, you might be better off with a pet who doesn't require your companionship.

Puppies and newly adopted adult dogs need time to bond with their new owners. Bonding is the deep commitment felt between a dog and her owner. It's a sense of responsibility toward each other, and it doesn't happen automatically; a bond takes time to form. During the first few weeks and even months that your dog lives with you, it's important to spend several hours each day with her so that this bond can develop.

Your new dog also will need some training, and that, too, takes time. Your new dog will need to learn all about housetraining and household rules, as well as proper social behavior. You also will need to schedule time to exercise and play with your dog and to groom her. As your dog grows up, you may want to participate in dog activities and sports. Those, too, take time.

How To Housetrain Any Dog

How To Housetrain Any Dog

Fundamentals of Dog and Puppy Training. Although dogs shouldn't be attributed with having human characteristics, they are intelligent enough to be able to understand the concept of, and execute, certain actions that their owners require of them - if these actions are asked in a way that dogs find rewarding.

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