Before you consider getting a dog, you need to seriously think about whether you will have enough time and energy to care for them properly. Dogs need daily walks, lots of love and attention, human companionship, and loads of your time. If you are studying a course that takes up most of your time and you won’t be home too often, it’s probably best to get a dog when you’re more settled and to volunteer at your local animal shelter if you need some doggy-dates in your life. However, if you are studying part-time, or have lots of time on your hands, and have a dog friendly home, then there are a number of breeds that can be a perfect companion through your college years and beyond.
You want to opt for a breed that is compatible with your lifestyle. When choosing a pup, you will need to consider a number of things. The size of your home and whether your dog will have access to a garden, and whether there will be people at home to care for them during the day. You also need to think about whether you will have enough time on your hands to walk super energetic breeds and if you have the funds to ensure you can get them adequate vet care when needed. If you are interested in rescuing a pup, but want a specific breed, opt for breed specific rescue centers in your area.
Pugs are known by many to be completely and utterly adorable. I mean, who can resist those gorgeous little faces? They are super friendly dogs and are brilliant if you are a first time dog owner who needs to learn the ropes. They are usually easy to train and socialize well with other pooches and people. While it might take some time to house train them, they are a great size for those living in smaller homes or apartments, and crate training might help to toilet train them.
However, like all purebred dogs, pugs are also susceptible to certain medical conditions. While pugs and their iconic pushed in faces are seen as super cute, they also carry with them a number of potential health risks and they can be susceptible to breathing problems. Breeds with shortened faces are known as brachycephalic breeds and might also have difficulty with swimming or flying on certain airlines who highlight potential risk factors of flying. Thus, while pugs are sociable, friendly, and perfectly suited to smaller dwelling spaces, you need to ensure that you have adequate means to care for their health.
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Next up is another adorable dog breed. The Boston terrier is a small pup who is known for being super friendly. They are usually confident and won’t be too sad if they are left at home alone for a while, which makes going to class and leaving them alone less anxiety inducing. However, don’t let their size fool you into thinking they don’t need a lot of energy. Boston terriers, while smallish dogs, have very high energy levels and thus need an owner who will walk them frequently and play with them often. If you decide to get a Boston you’ll need to walk them before class, or opt for a dog walker who can walk them during a day. A Boston Terrier would also thrive well at a doggy day-care on days when you’re at class for a long time as this would enable them to socialize with other dogs and release some of that pent up energy. However, they make wonderful pets and once they get that energy out they will love nothing more than to cuddle up with you on the couch.
Papillon means butterfly in French and these toy-spaniels are a gorgeous breed for any dog-lover. Their beautiful ears resemble butterfly wings and they truly are a stunning breed that is bound to offer you lots of love. This breed is known for being super intelligent and they absolutely adore any form of mental stimulation. They will thus be easy to house train and will be a brilliant student for any dog trainer, or owner who is passionate about teaching their dogs tricks and skills. They also do super well when it comes to agility training and will thus thrive on exercise and mental stimulation. They are known for being wonderful companions and will certainly be your best friend. However, papillons are not big fans of being alone, so only opt for this breed if you have time on your hands or people who can watch your pup. Nonetheless, since they are small (and only about 8-11 inches in height) they can also join you on many adventures. These beautiful dogs are loving and loyal and will bring lots of love and joy to your life.
King Charles Cavalier Spaniels
Spaniels are companion dogs and absolutely love snuggling their owners and spending time with their humans. They are high-energy pups, but since they are so small, they will tire out easily. Thus a walk a day will keep them happy and content and they will gladly spend the rest of their time snuggling next to you and keeping you warm. Like all spaniels, you will need to groom them properly and invest in taking them to a dog groomer every now and then to ensure that their coats don’t get tangled and look unkept. Since they are small, you can also keep them in smaller houses and apartments, just be sure to walk them daily as a daily walk is super good for their physical and mental health. In fact, they say that when a dog smells new smells, it’s like them reading the newspaper. A daily walk is great for dogs and owners alike.
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These dogs are well suited for college students as they don’t have super active energy levels and will usually be perfectly content with a daily walk and some playtime. These pups are small, which is great for college students who might not have all that much space in their house-share, or apartment. However, like other small breeds, they can be prone to weight gain if they are given too many treats and not walked enough, so ensure they get their daily exercise. These pups are loving and friendly and are able to handle some alone time. This is great if you have to pop out for an afternoon or morning to attend class and means that they won’t be to distressed if you are gone for a while. However, they of course need daily love and attention and all breeds need human companionship often. These darling pups will also need to be groomed regularly, so you will need to ensure that you have the funds and time to keep their coats in good nick.
Clumber spaniels are a super easy-going breed and their relaxed nature if perfect for your college years. They don’t need too much exercise so a simple walk a day is bound to keep them happy and content. While they do not warm to strangers as quickly as some dogs, they are friendly and will be completely loyal and devoted to their owner. Since they have longer coats, they will need to be brushed a few times a week, however you can do this while you snuggle them on the couch, or watch your favorite series. Grooming regularly is also important to ensure that their coats don’t get tangled, or matted. Matted coats can be really painful for dogs and paws that get over-grown can hinder a dogs walk, since it can interfere with them gaining proper raction.
How to Keep Your Pup Happy When You’re at Class
If you spend a lot of time at class and there isn’t anyone to stay at home with your pup, you’ll need to get creative and have a few things in place to entertain them while you’re away. A few ideas include:
- Find a local dog walker
Finding a local dog walker is a great way to keep your pup entertained while you’re at class. Most dogs need at least a short walk a day and if you’re gone for hours at a time this will ensure that they are stimulated. This will prevent boredom and separation anxiety and tackle any pent up energy.
- Take your pup to doggy day care
Doggy day care is a fantastic way for your pup to get out and socialize. Just like humans love spending time with friends, dogs love to be surrounded by other pups. This will be great fun for them and will teach them super important social skills.
- Walk them before class
If you don’t want to pay for a dog walker and enjoy the special bonding time with your pup that a dog walk offers, then make a dog-walking schedule and walk your pup before class. If you’re able to get them exercised before class they will be less restless during the day and will be content while you’re home.
- Opt for a puppy camera
If you are worried about your pup being home alone while you’re at class, you can always opt for a puppy camera. These amazing devices connect via WI-FI to your phone and mean you can keep an eye on your pup all through the day. Some models are really fancy and even allow you to talk to your pet and dispense treats to them.
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Before Investing in a Pup During Your College Years, You Need to Be Sure That
- You have enough money to care for their medical needs and food needs. Dogs can be expensive, especially if an emergency medical situation arises. You could also look into a monthly medical insurance scheme to ensure that your pup’s medical needs can always be cared for.
- You have enough time on your hands so that they won’t be left alone for hours. While come breeds can manage a few hours on their own, no dog should be left alone for an entire day at a time. When they are alone and get bored the might engage in destructive behavior such as chewing your things, or they might bark and anger your neighbors.
- You have a dog-sitter or family-member available if you want to travel, or are okay with missing out on weekends and trips away if you cannot take your dog.
- You live in a dog friendly apartment or home and your roommates are happy to live with a dog.
- You are able to invest the time, energy, and money into training them properly. A well-trained dog is an absolute delight, but pups who miss out on the training basics can become destructive and cause you a lot of anxiety and stress. If you have housemates this might also become a big problem.
- You can commit for the next 10-15 years to being the best dog owner you can be. Dogs are not just for Christmas, or a summer holiday. They are for life and smaller breeds especially can live up to 15 years or older.
- You will also need to consider life after graduation. Having a dog, as wonderful as they are, will largely determine where you decide to work and live and what opportunities you can take.
Before deciding to get a pup you will need to think seriously about all of these points and decide whether a pup is the best fit for you at this point of your life.