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So you’re thinking about getting a dog? You’re not alone. According to the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) more than 62,000 Singaporeans own one or more dogs at home. But there are things to consider adopting a dog (adopt, don’t shop!), especially if you’ll be a first-time pet owner. From what breed’s best for you to adopting a shelter animal, this guide will answer all your questions so you can get past getting a dog and enjoy having a new, furry family member.

Find The Breed That’s Right For You

While many first-time dog owners spend hours researching the best breed for a hectic life, a chaotic house with small children, and binging Netflix, unless you’re buying from a breeder, chances are you won’t find the exact breed you’re looking for to adopt. Instead, create a list of desirable breeds to use as a general guideline in your search and rule out adoptable animals on a dog-by-dog basis.

For instance, looking for a low-energy dog that won’t run you ragged? Ask those who regularly interact with the animal about activity levels. Chances are that even the most active dog will appear timid and lethargic when meeting you for the first time, especially in a shelter environment where the animal is stressed and frightened. That same dog, after he’s gotten comfortable at home with you, could turn out to be a tornado of energy so it’s always best to ask.

Your Lifestyle

Are you looking for a running partner, a couch companion, or a watchdog? To answer these questions, take a look at how you spend your time and your expectations of the animal. Work long hours? No problem. Some breeds (particularly low-energy ones) take no offence at holding down the fort while you’re away for the day. Others are rated as destructive by major insurance companies and will probably take being left home alone out on your furniture, shoes, and garbage cans. If you’re concerned about your new pet getting a potty break during the day, you can easily and inexpensively hire a dog walker to break up any long stretches of time. Allergies? While you may have a harder time finding them in shelters, there are allergy-friendly breeds out there.

Your Home

Before bringing home a large animal, consider whether you have the space for him, not only indoors but outside as well. Active dogs also require extra room to run and while you might be thinking, “That’s fine, we’ll just visit our local dog park,” you should honestly consider whether you’ll make this a daily occurrence, despite inclement weather. Also take into account whether you will have to walk your dog on a leash or can open the back door and let the dog play in a fenced yard. Highly active breeds require daily exercise and walking on a leash with you is hardly the level of intensity they’re hoping for.

Preparing To Bring Your New Pet Home

Purchase all the needed equipment like leashes, a collar, food and water dishes, toys, treats, and food before you bring your new dog home. Ask the person you’ll be getting your animal from the brand of food your dog has been eating. Buy at least one bag of this brand to wean your dog off of it and onto another brand to avoid digestive problems.

To dog-proof your home, secure or tape any loose wires he might chew on, put houseplants out of reach, buy lidded garbage cans or secure the ones you have in a nearby cabinet, move your shoes and laundry out of reach, and set up an area or corner for your dog to call his own.

Helping Your New Pet Feel At Home

Newly adopted dogs, especially those who have been adopted from a shelter, may be timid for the first few days or sleep for what seems like forever. It’s perfectly normal. After the stress and noise of a shelter, your new dog is just grateful for the peace and quiet of your home. Don’t overwhelm him. It won’t be long before your animal begins to feel comfortable and his personality will begin to emerge.

Bonding With Your New Dog

The best way to bond with your new pet is to do things together. This can be a walk, a trip to a dog park or animal-friendly lakeshore, an outing to your local pet store, or snuggling on the couch. The important thing is that you spend time with your animal and he’ll quickly become your best friend for life.

Adopting your first dog is exciting. You’re picking out a new member of the family who will love you unconditionally. Setting this relationship up for long-term success isn’t difficult when you choose a breed that suits you, your family, and your life.

Contribution by OurBestFriends