Checklist Before Getting A Dog

If you’re reading this, you may be considering bringing home a new furbaby and as exciting as that may be, let’s not overlook the fact that owning a dog comes with huge commitments and responsibilities. It’s crucial to do your research thoroughly before adding a new addition to the family. Since going through this transition may be overwhelming to many, here’s a checklist and some questions that you can ask yourself before getting your dog.

Review your reason

  1. Consider the reason you want a dog. Why must you have a dog at this moment? 
    • Guard dog” – It’s compulsory to have years of experience having a dog as a companion first and perhaps several years of experience with advanced obedience training before you get a guard dog. A proper guard  dog must be selected by a seasoned and knowledgeable breeder (MKA cert) and go through intensive training throughout your lives together as guard dog training requires nothing short of perfection.
    • Companionship” – You’re ready to share your life with a four legged furry angel? Just remember that it’s at least a 12-15 years commitment (longer for small dogs and shorter for big breeds). Being a dog owner can bring out the best versions of ourselves when we are disciplined and committed to give our dogs the best life. Choosing a dog for companionship takes away the pressure of having to decide on a breed for training, with discipline and consistency, you can train any breed and even some dogs that are older. Most of the time, you just need a routine that is consistent and works well for you and your dog. It must include a walk, feeding, and just 5 minutes of training a day. 

Factors to consider

  1. How do the people you live with feel about having an additional member in the household?
    • If you are living with other people such as family or roommates, it’s important to discuss with them prior to owning a dog to ensure that everyone is on board. Have a discussion with members of your household on the responsibilities that will be present with getting a dog and reflect on your readiness for a new family member.
    • Make sure to take into consideration the health condition of you and your household members beforehand to avoid the possibilities of having to remove the dog from your household. For family planning, it’s important to consider if you intend to have a baby in the house. 
    • Most dog rehoming cases occur due to the baby’s allergies to the dog. If you are unsure about you or your family members having allergies, spend some time at a relative’s or friends house with pets or pay a visit to pet shops or shelters to make sure that your personal health and the health of members of your household allows you to bring home a new paw pal.

Source: All image rights to Barkedclub.com (No reuse allowed at all) 


It is all about the money

  1. Do you have a stable income to be able to keep a dog? Do you have savings in case your income may be compromised?
    • Before getting a dog, it’s important to remember that having a dog can be costly. Just like us, dogs too have proper needs and care that has to be taken into consideration. Dogs require food, beds, toys, training, veterinary care, grooming equipment and supplies. It’s also important to factor in unexpected costs for emergency veterinary care in case of emergencies. 
    • For the wanderlust pet owner, have you considered the boarding costs (typically based on your dog size), which ranges from RM 50-100 per night, hiring a pet taxi if you don’t have a car or a private pet sitter?(you can check out our fees here
    • Also keep in mind that you have to consider the fact that your dog may damage your property or someone else’s, ensuring that you are ready to bear those unexpected costs is crucial. Make sure you are able to afford your new fur baby’s needs before bringing one home. Check out this list we’ve prepared and think about the expenses that will be present if you have a new fur baby because owning a dog is in fact, a privilege not a right. 
    • Speaking of which, dogs do shed, if you prefer to have minimal fur on your furniture, car and clothes, you can opt for breeds that have shorter fur. Crossing some breeds with Basenjis or poodles can create lovely low-shedding mixed breeds. 

Source: www.barkedclub.com

  1. Will your lifestyle be suitable for you to get a dog?
    • Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment so make sure you’ve given a thought about your lifestyle. Dogs require a lot of time, attention and commitment so it’s important for you to evaluate your daily routine, schedules and commitments to ensure that you have enough time to devote to your new pal. 
    • Are you looking to spend active time with your dog? Or are you looking for a calm dog? How do you imagine a day in your life with your dog? Based on this, you can do your research on suitable breeds and make a plan on managing their grooming, training and exercise. 
    • You will also need to consider that if you want a dog for companionship, any age will do and they can be trained as long as you commit. Every stage of a dogs life presents an opportunity to train or even have behaviour issues. So it’s a complete myth that puppies are the best options. 
    • If you’re thinking of getting a puppy, you will most likely have to endure the sound of it crying until you work it through with proper training. Have a listen to this audio, if you can’t stand it for 5 minutes, getting an older dog is probably a more suitable option for you.

What’s the situation at home?

  1. Is your current living arrangement and home environment suited to your potential new canine?
    • It’s important to consider your living arrangement and home environment before getting a dog. If you are living in a rental, make sure you speak to your landlord about having a dog. 
    • If you happen to live in a condominium or apartment, make sure it’s pet-friendly as it is common for high-rise buildings in Malaysia to have a ‘no pet policy’. But here is a list of pet-friendly apartments for your research. 
    • Speak to your local council and management to determine if there are any breed restrictions as well. It’s important to sort out these questions beforehand in order to avoid any unnecessary issues after getting your dog. Did you know the local council reserves the right to enter your home to confiscate your dog if they are unlicensed and they receive a complaint from your neighbour?
    • Do your research on necessary requirements for dog licenses to avoid issues that may arise in the future. To check out the ultimate guide to obtaining your dog’s license, click here
    • It’s also important to consider your home environment before bringing a dog home to ensure its safety. Before bringing a dog home for the first time, make sure that your home has been dog-proofed by keeping away hazards such as electrical cords, sharp objects and poisonous chemicals such as cleaning products or medications that could potentially harm your dog. Additionally, if you have indoor plants, make sure they are pet-friendly and not harmful to your dog.

Source: www.barkedclub.com

  1. What do you have in mind for your personal future plans?
    • If you have plans on moving abroad or to a new state, take this into consideration before getting a dog. Dogs form a highly emotional attachment to their owners so if you have any plans on relocating, thoroughly research the requirements of the country or state that you will be relocating to in order to avoid having to separate from your dog.
    • To be able to take your dog abroad with you, it’s important that you thoroughly research the dog import laws to the place that you will be moving to. 
    • Pet relocation will be a costly endeavour ranging from RM 10,000 and above based on the country you’re migrating to, the cost of the special airline crate, agent fee and size of your dog. 
    • Make sure you have all the necessary documents such as health certificates, vaccinations and paperworks. 
    • Most of the time, you must use the services of a pet relocation agent such as RF Pet relocation services. You can enquire with expat groups on Facebook to find the best pet relocation services for you. 

Source: All image rights belong to Barkedclub (No reuse allowed) 

Here is a list of things you must consider if you do decide on getting a dog. 

  • If you must buy a dog, ensure you are able to meet the dogs parents. Otherwise you might be supporting puppy mills. Never support pet shops as they breed pets with a multitude of health and behavioural problems. Puppy mills are the cruelest form of torture for dogs that are used for breeding, they are kept in unlivable conditions to sit and sleep in their feces and starved from any real connection. There are breeders that even debark (a horrific surgery to mute their dogs). 
  • Dog adoptions are a sure way to be a hero! If you are a new dog owner, it’s best to inform the rescuer of the exact temperament you are looking for. Adoption fees are minimal between RM 100-200 to cover neutering costs and vaccinations. Ensure to collect the vaccination card upon adoption. For your peace of mind, ask for a dog that has exposure and practice in a home environment, a walk routine and note of any behaviour issues such as fear of thunder, fireworks or reactivity. For puppy adoption, ensure you can dedicate around 1-2 weeks to acclimate your puppy to your home. It’s better suited if there is someone at home to watch your puppy as potty training requires you to take your puppy out after waking up, after feeding and after play or training. In comparison to breeders, ngos will guide you to proper pet care without the agenda of upselling. 

Before getting a dog, really think about your lifestyle, finances, the breed and age of the dog which will suit your lifestyle the best. If you are a new dog owner, start with one dog at a time and gain some experience before moving on to getting a second dog, you will be the entire world to your new canine friend so keep in mind that they are a lifetime commitment and it is important that you do your research properly and take everything into consideration. 

Have you outlined a schedule for the following? 

  • Feeding plan – who is in charge? Are you feeding balanced and complete meals? What is the schedule like? Can you be consistent? . You must feed either two hours before “walking” or 45 mins after a walk. 
  • Grooming plan – Especially if you pick a high maintenance grooming breed, you must schedule when to brush them to avoid matting and skin issues. 
  • Training plan – For the first 2-3 weeks of bringing a new dog home, it’s important to focus on bonding and sticking to your daily routine rather than trying to get your dog to listen to commands. Once your bonding is solid, you can start training at home without distractions and slowly reinforce the basic commands such as “Sit” “Stay” “Down” “Your dogs name”. If you need some help, contact us.
  • Health plan – All dogs need heartworm and tick prevention. Consult your vet to determine the best one to prescribe your dog. 

Will you in sickness, in health, for better or for worse and for rich n for poor, choose to keep your dog till death do you part? In barking, biting and difficult behavior issues such as fear of thunder, separation anxiety etc will you love your dog unconditionally?

If you’re still not sure if you have the answers to these questions, consider Fostering! 

Being a foster pawrent is a fulfilling experience where a dog is entrusted to your care by a registered NGO for a designated period of time. You can foster puppies, adult and senior dogs. By being a foster, you are helping to acclimate your foster dog to home life and thus helping their chances of getting adopted. You are welcomed to be a “foster fail” whereby you decide to adopt your foster dog (ideally after a month). Remember, dogs have a decompression period that can last up to 2-weeks. Decompression periods mean dogs have soft stool, restlessness, feel the need to escape and experience hyperactiveness. You can reach out to Ruff Love Malaysia and My Pets Haven to start your foster journey today! 

Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions and decide that you are ready for a dog in your life, we want to be part of your journey. By resharing this blogpost, you are eligible to redeem 10% off your pet sitting or pet taxi booking (terms and conditions apply). Contact 0124887293 (Jacqueline) if you would like to know more about our pet sitting or pet taxi services. For dog training, you can contact 014-3161642 (Patty). 


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