Wendy Wheaton Cusick
Is a Wheaten the right pet for you? Your dog will depend on you throughout his or her life. With proper care a Wheaten may live
14 years or more. Are you willing to care properly for it and provide a stable home for that long?
Don't get a dog without considering and planning for the costs of such a responsibility. Normal veterinary care includes spaying
or neutering (included in the adoption fee), shots and boosters, yearly veterinary check-ups, licenses, etc. Preventive and
consistent care is less expensive in the long run.
Here are some questions and points to consider to help you decide if a Wheaten is the right pet for you.
1) How much time can you spend with a dog? Wheatens are extremely social creatures, they will not be happy left out in the
yard or in a house or crate alone for long periods of time. You must be commited to spending several hours a day with the dog.
2) What kind of space can you provide for a dog? If you live in a small apartment, you must take this into consideration. Many
dogs will not do well in a small apartment unless you expend a great deal of effort to meet their needs. Dogs can be pretty
adaptable as long as you help them out. Wheatens do best when crate trained so you will need to have space for one or more
3) How much money can you set aside for the care and feeding of a dog? You will be responsible to buy food, pay for veterinary
check-ups, vaccinations and routine care. Then there are food bowls, toys (lots of toys!) collars, licenses, ID tags, leashes,
carriers, etc. etc. over the lifetime of the dog. It may also become necessary to replace items that the dog may damage or
destroy. One trip to the ER for your pet can easily set you back hundreds of dollars. Do you have the financial resources for
4) How much exercise can you give a dog? If you are very busy and your time is limited, a Wheaten is not for you. They are high
energy terriers and require consistant exercise and attention. If you do not have a fenced yard you will have to walk your pet 2
or more times every day on a leash. Wheatens can NEVER, NEVER, NEVER be trusted off leash in a unfenced area.
5) How much grooming are you prepared to do? Wheatens have EXTREMELY high maintenance coats. You must be prepared to
thoroughly comb out your dog at least every other day and make trips to the groomer every 4-6 weeks. Failure to comb your
dog out will result in mats that are nearly impossible to comb out and will ruin the dogs coat. Grooming is a part of good health.
Are you prepared to pay for grooming? You can expect to pay $65 - $150 per grooming session depending on the area you live
in and the expertise of the groomer.
6) How much training are you prepared to do and pay for? Wheatens are extremely intelligent dogs. If you don't train your
Wheaten you can be assured that your Wheaten will train you and you may not like the results. Taking your Wheaten through
obedience school is a condition of adoption. A trained dog can go more places with you without disruption and can more easily
be a part of your life. You are responsible for your dogs behavior, this means you must keep your dog under control. Do not let
your dog roam. Keep your dog on a leash when out of a fenced yard and always clean up after your dog when it eliminates.
7) What are you looking for in a dog? Do you want a dog that will jog with you? Go on long walks in the woods with you? Do you
want a bouncy dog who is ready to go or a more sedate, relaxed dog? Do you want a dog that gets along with other dogs? Have
you thoroughly researched the breed to see if it will fit in with you and your lifestyle?
8) You are making a long term commitment. Your dog will need attention, love and respect from you. Food and water are not
enough. Consider your dog to be part of your family, that is what your dog will think about you. You are its pack.
9) You are responsible for your dogs health. Choose a veterinarian before you even get your dog and take your dog there
immediately. Even if you are sure the dog is healthy, the veterinarian confirms that and makes sure you are aware of what
health checks are required next. Wheatens can be susceptible to some genetic conditions and will need to have their blood
tested on a yearly basis.
10) You are still responsible for the dog when you 'get one for your child'. Until your child reaches a certain age, he or she will
not have the maturity to take responsiblity for a dog. Dogs acquired for this reason often wind up in shelters when the parents
realize that they are the dogs primary caretaker. A dog can be a good way to teach your child responsibility, but the dog is still
your main responsibility.
11) You are responsible for becoming more knowledgeable about dogs. Don't let your dog end up back in rescue with excuses
like "couldn't be housebroken" or "couldn't be trained". These are cop-outs and excuses used by lazy owners who do not take
the time necessary to properly train their dog. Find some good books to read about dogs and dog behavior. Your local library
and bookstore will have many. Enroll in puppy or dog classes and learn from an instructor. These classes can be fun for you
and your dog!
12) Be prepared for a a new dog. Never give a dog as a "surprise gift". All family members must agree on having a dog.
|Is a Wheaten
the right pet