Chapter 1
How To Know If A Dog Is The Right Pet For You

Time Needed

Many new dog owners do not understand the time a dog requires. Dogs need bathroom breaks, training, exercise, and time for expressing love and affection. And each of these will take some of your time.

Bathroom Breaks

Every dog needs bathroom breaks several times per day unless you train your dog to use pads designed for indoor use as a substitute for using the ground outside for elimination. You can combine exercise breaks with bathroom breaks to save time. But, no matter how busy you are, your dog still needs a designated place to go to the bathroom.

A fully-grown adult dog usually needs three bathroom breaks per day- one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one before bed. These are the fewest number of bathroom breaks needed to keep your dog happy and your house accident free. More bathroom breaks are better and may be required especially if you have a toy breed

But, a puppy will need at least one bathroom break every hour or even more often depending on its age and breed. If your puppy is older or is sleeping, you might be able to wait two to three hours between potty breaks. But this still involves up to 8 or more trips outside every day, rain or shine.

If you live in an urban area or don’t have a fenced yard, you’ll need to take your dog for a walk on a leash for each bathroom and exercise break. A quick, walk takes 5 to 10 minutes, so you face a minimum of 15 minutes for an adult dog. A puppy needs at least 80 minutes for bathroom breaks and walks spread throughout the day every day.

If your dog is already housetrained and you have a fenced yard, using a dog door decreases the amount of time you have to spend taking your dog outside is housetrained he can let himself in and out of the dog door when he needs to go to the bathroom. This cuts down on the time you will need to spend on this task.



Dogs must have exercise. If a dog doesn’t get enough exercise it can lead to several possible behavioral problems. These problems include destructive chewing, excessive barking, or soiling the inside of your home.

Exercise needs vary from breed to breed. Most toy dogs don’t need a long walk every day. A vigorous play session or a couple of short walks usually provides a Toy breed with enough exercise. But a Border Collie, bred to herd sheep all day, needs several hours of vigorous exercise each and every day.

It is critically important that you compare the activity level you can give to the activity level required by each dog you consider. The breed descriptions contained in the Breed Selector Software available with this eBook discusses the amount of exercise needed by each breed together with many other important details to consider. The Breed Selector Software lets you specify the amount of exercise you can give a dog as part of your selection criteria.



The Myth of the Perfect Puppy Becoming The Perfect Dog. Some people believe if they get the perfect puppy, it will automatically grow into the perfect dog. But your efforts aren’t complete once you find the perfect puppy- they’re only beginning. You must teach your puppy how to behave beginning the day you bring him home. The bottom line is dogs need training. They don't know the rules of living in your home. You, as the owner, must teach them. Some dog owners view training as a chore. However, a smart dog owner recognizes training is an opportunity to have fun with their dog and strengthen the bond between them.

The first month or two your puppy spends in your home is a critical period. This is the time you must establish the ground rules and begin training. This is the only way your dog will become a well-behaved companion with whom you will spend 10-15 years. Otherwise, you can end up with a dog who barks excessively, chews everything and destroys your home.

As a dog owner, it’s your job to teach your puppy what you expect of him. You can’t expect to bring a baby dog (which is what a puppy is) into your home and assume he’ll know he should potty outside, eat only the food you put in his bowl, stay off the couch, and calmly sit so visitors can greet him any more than you could expect these things from a new-born infant. Anything you want your dog to learn, you must teach him. Training is a continuous process that is never finished. Failing or improperly training your dog can result in bad habits that can take months or even the help of a professional trainer to correct.

Perfect puppies only grow into great dogs under their owner’s guidance and leadership. Without that guidance, even a perfect puppy can become a nuisance to everyone in only a few short months.

Socialization. Beginning on day one you need to start socializing a new puppy. Socialization is the process of teaching your puppy about the world around him so he grows into a confident well-adjusted adult. If you do not do a good job socialization a puppy, it could grow into a fearful adult who bites. Because it is so important to begin socializing your puppy immediately, a guide to socializing a puppy is included as a free bonus with this eBook at no cost.

Obedience Training. Enroll in a beginning training classes that teach basic commands like come, sit, and stay. They meet for about an hour each week for about six weeks. You’ll be expected to continue the training process you learned in class at home between classes so add an extra 10 to 30 minutes per day for training.

In-home training should be divided into short, happy sessions so neither you nor your dog gets bored. Several short sessions throughout the day are better than one long training session.

After successfully completing your first training class, you should continue your dog’s training on an ongoing basis. A reasonable plan is to rotate through at least one thing you have previously taught your dog every day. This will keep your dog from forgetting what he has learned. In addition, plan on teaching something new about once every week indefinitely. You can work this into your daily routine by training during television commercials, bathroom breaks, or walks. If you are a novice dog owner, you may prefer one of the many easy to train breeds that are available. If this is the case, you can select this as one of your criteria in the Breed Selector Software.


Love and Attention

Finally, dogs are pack animals. As a result, they are very social creatures. They don’t respond well to being frequently left alone for long periods of time. Even if you give a dog the time it needs for bathroom breaks and exercise, your dog still needs love and attention.

Plan to spend quality time with your dog every day. This could be petting him while you are watching television, or it could be playing Frisbee or going for a hike. You must budget this time into your schedule if you’re thinking of adopting a dog.


Summary: Time Needed

The least amount of time you need to spend with an adult dog is 30 to 60 minutes every day. If you don’t have a fenced yard, the time you need to spend goes up to 45 to 75 minutes per day. Puppies need at least 80-90 minutes. Finally, if you have a high-energy dog, you can expect to spend two or three hours together every day. Provided you have at least 30 minutes a day, the Breed Selector Software can help you match dogs with the amount of time you have available.