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Should I get a dog? How ready are you to be a Shih Tzu parent?

Shih Tzu Care Guide

Should I get a dog? Your decision to get a dog is heavily influenced by your lifestyle, energy, and time to take care of another breathing and living creature at home. Moreover, becoming a fur parent means being responsible for the health and welfare of domestic pets. 

Before you get too excited, let’s take a look at a few things to help you decide whether you’re ready to become a fur parent or not, especially for a Shih Tzu breed.

Should I get a dog?

As a fur parent to two very lovable and energetic dogs (one is a mixed breed, the other a Shih Tzu), my answer is always a yes. But I can’t say this to all aspiring fur parents. Therefore, getting a dog will depend on the lifestyle you have. 

  1. Your residence – Do you have space for your dog to run around and play?
  2. Your physical health – Are you allergic to dogs?
  3. Your mental health – Do you want to get a dog because you need companionship, your maternal instinct kicking in, or to live a purposeful life helping dogs in need? 
  4. Your financial status – How much money can you spend per month on your dog’s needs ie. Shih Tzu hair cut and grooming, vaccinations, food, toys, vitamins, etc. 
  5. Your time – How many hours do you have to train your dog to be well-behaved? Can you find the balance between work and as a fur parent despite your busy schedule? 

Can I get a dog if I work full time? 

Yes, as long as you take full responsibility for their needs. In fact, you don’t have to do everything on your own. You can take advantage of services like hiring a dog walker, or a dog trainer as needed. Your dog may find it comfortable to have a family member take care of him/her while you’re away. 

Surprisingly, there are studies that show dogs offer stress relief at work. In fact, I found one interesting study from the Harvard Medical School. For students, here’s a study that proves 10 minutes of interacting with cats and dogs resulted in a significant reduction of cortisol, a major stress hormone. 

How do I pick the right dog?

Here are some of the common factors you need to consider in choosing the right dog for you.

  1. Size –  Big or small? That is the question. A small dog like a Shih Tzu breed is cute and cuddly. But a big dog like Golden Retrievers is family-friendly. The only downside is they’re prone to multiple health problems.  
  2. Breed – According to the American Kennel Club, there are large dogs who would be happy to sleep all day as long as you give daily exercises to work off their energy. Some of the most common large dog breeds are Alaskan MalamuteBelgian Malinois, Caucasian Shepherd Dog, and Great Dane among others.  Meanwhile, those who prefer small dog breeds choose Beagle, Bichon Frise, Chihuahua, Lhasa Apso, Pomeranian, Poodle, Pug, and Shih Tzu.  
  3. Energy level – Dogs that have a high energy level tend to misbehave if their need for affection and exercise is not met. Therefore, you need to find a dog that has the same energy as yours to make it easy for you to reinforce good behavior. 
  4. Behavior – One of my dogs is a Shih Tzu breed, and my common issue with him is separation anxiety. This makes it really hard for me to leave the house, even for a few minutes to get groceries. Sometimes, I even think that as soon as I get home and he starts barking, it’s like him asking, “Where you’ve been?” or “What took you so long?”
  5. Intelligence – Did you know that an average dog can learn 165 words, while those in the top 20% can learn up to 250 words plus signals? If you’re interested in teaching your dogs a few tricks here and there, breeds like Border Collie, Poodle, and Golden Retriever are excellent options. 
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Conclusion

Should I get a dog? As a fur parent myself, my answer is always a yes. But then again, I can’t speak to everyone. I’m grateful that I get to work from home and spend more time with my dogs. But there are some of us who are constantly away for work or travel.

At the end of the day, it all goes down to how committed you are to getting a dog. And as soon as you say yes, then you have to take full responsibility for your action. We don’t want our furry friends to feel neglected or unloved.

So, are you ready to be a fur parent? 

What breed would you get?

Let us know in the comments. 

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