Some brand new dog owners head into the experience thinking that buying a pet is a lot like buying new technology. The need for more learning may be there, but many people feel that they can learn through trial and error as they go. Unfortunately, this type of attitude often leads to poor training, health issues and sometimes abuse. If you’re considering the addition of a four-legged family member, spend some time researching dog care information.

Research the Various Breeds

One of the first things you need to know is that breeds of dogs have different behaviors, traits and tendencies. For example, some dogs are friendly while others tend to be shy. Some breeds are naturally more aggressive while others are easily frightened. Good training can help dogs overcome unwanted tendencies, but if you are new to dog care, the more information about dogs and the various breeds, the better you’ll be prepared for this decision.

What Are Your Local Laws?

The next area to research has to do with the local licensing and ownership laws in your area. Some areas require you to have a license and some neighborhoods may limit the number of dogs you can purchase. You may also find that there are laws governing vaccinations and how to prepare tags. Some communities have these laws in place because of concerns for local risks (such as a recent parvo outbreak) while other communities have voted to ban certain breeds of dogs. You can avoid a lot of heartache by knowing the laws and regulations beforehand. A local veterinarian may be able to provide this and other dog care information.

Can You Care for the Dog?

Providing for the basic needs of your dog may seem to be a simple thing, but as you learn more, you may come to realize that adopting or purchasing a puppy can be nearly as overwhelming as adding a new person to your family. Plan to work closely with the vet when determining what to feed your dog as well as how much and how often to feed the animal. You may also have questions about how to care for the dog’s teeth, any houseplants or people food that may be toxic for dogs and how to care for the dog’s fur. How much sleep and exercise does your dog need? Vets are a great source of information about dogs, but you can also find articles online or check out some books from the library.

Are You Sure?

Finally, spend some quality time really evaluating your reason for wanting a dog. Sometimes people purchase puppies as gifts without gathering enough information about dogs. They may give in to an impulse and buy a dog without thinking about the chewed-up furniture, messes on the carpet or the amount of time walks will require. Are you really prepared to be patient and loving when you dog digs holes under the fence or in your lawn? If not, you may not be ready to introduce a dog into the family. As you review dog care information, take time to fully consider the changes that this will bring to you and your family.