When we talk about a big dog, we are thinking of the following – GSD, Rotties, Doberman, Great Dane, Wolfhound, Mastiff types, Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers- English and Staffie, Labradors and a few others.
The first consideration when getting any dog is whether you have really thought the decision through carefully.
Dogs undoubtedly make wonderful companions but can you genuinely answer YES to all the following questions:
- Do you have time for a dog? Dogs (and particularly puppies) require an enormous amount of time and patience from their new owners. House-training, grooming, socialising, training, feeding, exercising etc take a long time to achieve. These are most successfully achieved if someone is with the dog most of the day at home. If you want a puppy and it is going to be on its own 8 hours a day while everybody is at work, then think again.
- Does everyone in the home want a dog?
- Can you afford a big dog? After the cost of buying the dog, there are feeding costs, veterinary costs, vaccinations, flea and worm control, bedding, toys, boarding kennels, collars and leads, training classes etc. Getting a big dog will be more costly than getting a smaller one in almost every way, are you prepared for this?
- Can you provide a safe and secure home for, possibly, 15 years plus? Remember, circumstances can easily change so think long and hard about this one.
- Have you fully researched what owning a large dog entails by speaking to other owners, visiting shows, talking to breeders/vets/dog trainers.
- Have you considered what breed to get? Some are better with children than others, some do not like being left alone & can suffer separation anxiety, some are more prone to certain medical conditions while others require more exercise or grooming.
A big dog comes with a big responsibility, but thankfully as with children, the enjoyment you get from a dog can make it all worthwhile. Owning a dog can be very rewarding, help to keep you healthier and add another aspect to your social life. Training classes and walks are a great way to meet like-minded people, swap stories, tips and ideas.