Getting a dog is something you have to decide for yourself. They are so cute, great for kids, and great companions. They are also a big commitment and responsibility. We recently got a puppy, Nala, (10 months) because we were heartbroken over the loss of our previous dog, Molly girl. She was the greatest thing to our kids, and every time I look back at photos of her with the kids, tears still come to my eyes.
She was also the first dog for Matt and me—she was with us from our first house to our first kid, and everything in between. We got Nala three weeks after Molly passed, and she was the best emotional impulse decision we made. If you are considering getting a dog, there are three things to keep in mind:
There is never a good time to do anything big in life like switch jobs, get married, buy a house, or have a baby. I would say the same is for getting a dog, you do it or don’t. For us, early fall was a good time because we were home from our busy weekends at the lake, so we could focus on training Nala. We knew she would be potty trained before it got really cold out. If you want to get a dog for Christmas because you think it’ll be cute and fun—DON’T. If you live in Minnesota, you will be stuck letting that dog out in negative weather all day and hours of the night. I can’t think of anything worse.
This is the hardest part. Training takes time and commitment; they say a dog’s behavior is the reflection of the owner—whatever. Really, all your dog needs to know are the basics: sit, stay, come, leave it. Our dog is not world-class trained by any means—and never will be. She listens pretty well except when we tell her to “come”—she looks at us like we are stupid people. She is getting used to greeting people politely, loves her kennel, and is learning that she should not eat the kids’ toys—which she will do in a minute if no one is around.
One thing that is a must is the invisible fence; this has been life changing for us. We did not do this with our first dog and regretted it. It is worth the money, you can DIY or go with a local company—I would skip the big name brands because they are double the cost. Crate train your dog, especially if you get a puppy. It will eventually become a spot they love and are comfortable with. We put Nala in a crate as a puppy with a noise maker and a blanket over it, and she slept all night since day one—the jury is out of if it was a good idea or pure luck.
Find the one
Research the right dog for you. There are so many dog breeds out there: big, small, hypoallergenic, calm, and energetic. If you are not up for the puppy route, there are plenty of adult dogs that need homes. Rescuing is a great option; I know people who will only rescue and adopt. For us and where we at in our lives, we wanted to stay with what we know and get a golden retriever puppy. I am bias and will hands down recommend this breed to anyone with kids. One day, I would love to foster a dog.
In memory of our Molly Girl.