“So I heard you are in the market for a puppy?” my neighbor said to me as we were walking into our respective homes. Apparently, my fiancé had spoken to my neighbor a few hours ago and told her we are seriously considering adopting a dog.

Well, this was news to me.

I told Gazelle and Michael on the air this morning and Michael brought up a valid point. My fiancé, Ross, is very much ready for children. But since our wedding got pushed to 2021, that means waiting a little longer before we take that step.

“Maybe a dog is his little substitute?” Michael asked.

Listen to the full conversation here:

I am officially considering purchasing a four-legged friend, so I consulted my friend Kelsey Shank, Trainer at A Modern Dog Training and Training Coordinator at Rhode Home Rescue, to get some insight on things t consider.

Maddie Levine: I'm worried I can't afford a pup, any idea on how much a dog generally costs?

Kelsey Shank: Owning a dog in the U.S. today costs anywhere between $1,000-$4,000 annually. Things to consider when getting a dog are size, grooming needs, if you plan to get insurance for the dog or not, annual vet costs, food costs, medical conditions that might come up. I always suggest people have some sort of financial plan for an emergency situation of at least $1,000 just in case.

ML: I feel bad about leaving my dog in a crate all day. Is it bad for them or do they like it?

KS: When a dog is properly trained, they love their crates. It’s similar to a bedroom for us – it’s their safe space to get away for a nap, to chew a bone, etc. It can help prevent separation anxiety, hyperactivity, destructive behavior, helps with potty training. It promotes sleep and relaxation which is really important especially for puppies; it gives the dog something to “do” while we are away which is essentially nothing. Of course, it’s important to ensure your dog gets appropriate mental and physical exercise each day as well. Typically, I recommend every dog has a crate and, once properly conditioned, be used until the dog is at least two years old, which is when they usually reach “adulthood."

ML: My fiancé and I have never owned dogs before. For a first-time buyer, is there one breed better than the other?

KS: When considering a breed, you really have to consider your lifestyle and what that breed was meant for. For example, if I’m a couch potato and want a laid back dog I’m not going to get a working breed like a German shepherd or a herding breed like a border collie. Things to consider when looking at breeds are typical energy level/exercise needs, size, grooming needs, and then consider kids or other animals in your home, and if you plan on growing your family. Do your research on the breed you’re interested in BEFORE getting a dog. DO NOT get a dog just because you like their looks.

ML: What are your thoughts on adopting a dog versus “shopping” for one?

KS: There are pros and cons to both adopting and “shopping” I don’t believe personally that one is better than the other. I’m an adopter. Both of my dogs are rescues and I love them, they’re great dogs. With many rescues, you are paying less for the adoption fee than if you were to buy. Rescue dogs tend to come up to date on a lot of vetting such as spay/neuter, rabies, distemper/DHPP, Bordetella, microchipped, etc. The downfall is often times we have no background on the dog. Breeding is great IF you go through a reputable breeder who knows what they’re doing. Purchasing at a pet store is never a good idea as most of the puppies there come from commercial breeders which can come along with some medical and behavioral/training issues.

Stay tuned to see if the Levine family goes through with getting a fur baby.

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